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Social Studies Model Answer Chapter 4 (Types of Diversity)

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

1. Ethnicity/Race

A society can be diverse because of ethnicity. Ethnicity refers to the classification of people into their race based on their physical characteristics, their language spoken, their cultural practices/traditionals, their food preferences and also the main area on earth that they are found in. For instance, the Han Chinese generally have dark hair, brown skin, and they are not so tall. They are usually found in East Asia regions. This race prefers to eat more rice and noodles, and they are generally very conservative in their values believing in reverence for their elders and ancestors. The languages their speak are Chinese, Korean and Japanese and their associated dialect. From their writing, we can see that the characters of their languages are fairly similarly. On the other hand, the Caucasians originated in Europe mainly and these people are taller, of larger bone stock, usually have fair skin, blue eyes and blond or brown hair. Their main food staple is wheat based like bread and pasta, and there is a high consumption of beef and lamb in their diet. Caucasians speak many different Europe languages like English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, etc. When we examine the writings of these languages we can see similarities in terms of the use of alphabets to form words and sentences. Hence, we can see that races can exhibit many contrasting features which explains how ethnicity can cause a diverse nation.

2. Nationality

A society can also be diverse because of the different nationalities of people present in the country. For example, in Singapore today, there are Singaporeans, Indians, Chinese, British, Australians, Filippinos, Vietnamese, Malaysians and many more people from different nations living here. Nationality refers to the country that people are officially citizens of. People of the same nationality often speak the same national language, have the same sense of identity, common national experiences and practices which cause them to have a sense of belonging. For example, the Thais speak Thai, they believe in their King, practices very polite gestures to strangers always by clasping their hand and bowing down. Many Thai males also become monks for a period of time that make them feel a greater sense of belonging to the country. Singaporean is another nationality. Singaporeans are often bilingual who speaks English as a first language and their respective mother tongue according to their races. For example, Chinese learn mandarin, Indians learn Tamil. Singaporeans also believe in meritocracy which values and reward hard work of anyone regardless of the race of the citizen. In addition, Singaporeans are often bonded together because of common experiences they go through, common practices they participate in and the common spaces they live in. One important common experience that Singaporeans go through is National Service. Every male Singaporeans have to attend 2 years of military service when they turn 18. This forces many young man of different races to live and work together to defend Singapore. As a result, many Singaporeans, regardless of race and religion feel patriotic in knowing that they can and are willing to defend Singapore. This shared mission binds people together. Thus, we can see that nationalities can produced very distinct and strong sense of belonging to their respective countries resulting in a diverse society.

3. Religion

A society can also be diverse because of the presence of people with numerous religions in a country. Religion refers to the classification of people according to the God(s) or Deities they believe in and also the religious practices they commonly engage in. A society with diversity in religion is important because people of different religions must learn to respect and accept each other for peace and harmony to be created in the country. One of the most important ways to develop better understanding of different religions is to know how the religious practices and the reasons that they are carried out within different religious groups. Muslim for example, believe in Allah and the Prophet Mohammad. Five times a day, they are required face in the direction of Mecca and pray to Allah. Muslim also refrain from taking pork in their diet, and in their lifetime, they are required to make a pilgrimage to their Holy City of Mecca if they are able to. Every year before their New Year, Hari Raya, they are also required to fast from dawn to dust as a way to seek forgiveness and purify their souls. Christians on the other hand, believe in God and Jesus Christ. They attend church every Sunday, and are encouraged to pray and forgive the sins of others. They also celebrate the Birth of Christ (Christmas) and the Death of Christ (Good Friday). Only by understanding the practices and faiths of different religions can a people of diverse country learn to tolerate, respect and live in harmony.

4. Social Economic Status (SES)

People in a country can also be diverse because of their social economic status (SES). This refers to the classification of people according to the level of wealth, income, and material possession they have. Increasingly in our world today, social economic fault lines are becoming more prominent as forces of globalization cause income divide to appear in many societies. Rich business people and highly trained professionals are earning more and more through their globalization connections, while lower income earners are beginning to face wage stagnation as they face competition for jobs from the free flow of foreign workers into their countries. These increasing stratification of society can cause social tensions and problems if not addressed. People from the high SES group are different because they earn large profits or salaries (such as business owners, high earning doctors, lawyers, etc), tend to stay in large private houses like bungalows, own multiple cars and have a lifestyle that includes frequent eating out and travel. They and their children also tend to attend private schools or elite schools in the country. Middle SES people tend to be people with high paying jobs in white collar sector such as engineers, civil servants, teachers, uniformed personnels, etc. They also tend to live in private apartments like condominium or larger HDB flats in our country. A large majority do own a car for transport although public transportation is also used by this group of people. Many in this group do eat out and travel occasionally. Many of them have at least tertiary education and they often aspire for their children to be in good schools. Low SES people on the other hand tend to have very low paying blue collar jobs like clerks, cleaners, odd job workers, drivers, delivery man, etc. Their housing tend to be small HDB flats or rental flats. These people seldom eat out or travel, and they often have lower than secondary school education. Their children, also tend to attend simple neighbourhood schools. Therefore, we can see how SES can divide people by space as well as by the lifestyle they engage in. If not addressed, these divisions could lead to serious implications for society.

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