Stories of Integration

The history of Singapore has been closely intertwined with immigration.

During colonial times, immigrants came in large numbers in search of economic opportunities and a better future. Many of them settled down here and made the island nation their home. There would hardly be any Singaporeans whose forefathers were not themselves immigrants.
This book endeavours to showcase the journey of 30 Naturalized Singaporeans, who come endowed with skills and talents that have benefitted Singapore in a variety of ways. They have adapted to the social and religious fabric of Singapore, nurtured respect for its culture and traditions and honoured its history while forging connections within the community. They have thus made their journey to becoming Singaporean a meaningful one.
Since it is impossible to cover every naturalized citizen who calls this country home, the featured candidates are representative of the silent majority. They come from diverse backgrounds and nationalities, across religious and community lines and have contributed their talents to various spheres like arts, sciences, education, sports, community service etc. Only people who took up citizenship after Singapore’s independence have been featured.
This book aims to be a medium of awareness and a tribute to these first-generation citizens. We hope that our effort will be a small step forward in bringing about further integration of hearts and more appreciation and respect for each other among all Singaporeans.

Book Launch

On October 17, 2021, special guests and many of those who were featured in Stories of Integration, gathered together to celebrate the official launch of the book. The group was honoured to have Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Mr Don Wee Boon Hong, Member of Parliament for Chua Chu Kang GRC, join them for the celebration. The book’s author, Mrs Vandana Aggarwal, and concept writer, Mr Prakash K Hetamsaria, shared about their own journeys in developing Stories of Integration. There was also a panel discussion amongst some of the book’s featured Singaporeans who shared their experiences of migrating to the island and contributing meaningfully to local society.
The book launch of Stories of Integration is supported by National Integration Council.

Media & Honours

Stories of Integration has been featured on Channel News Asia (CNA), Channel 5 News and Channel 8 News. 
The book has also been featured on Tabla! in an article titled Integration of Hearts. 


The project team had the honour of meeting with Mr Don Wee, Member of Parliament, Chua Chu Kang GRC (Brickland), and with H.E. Mr P. Kumaran, High Commissioner of India, Singapore, on another occasion. 

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30 Singaporeans Who Made an Impact

Associate Prof Zubair Amin

A Doctor for all Seasons "From my father, I learnt to live by the principle of leaving any place I visit, in a better condition than I found it. I live by that tenet in all aspects of my personal and professional life.”

Victor Mills
Betting Big on Singapore “The Covid-19 pandemic is a lesson that good times do not last forever. The carnival is over. Employers and employees will hopefully have a better sense of reality. There is nothing like a bit of hardship to make Singaporeans look again at what they have. This crisis will help to reinvent society and the economy.”
Sazzad Hossain
Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges “Volunteering gives people exposure to direct beneficiaries, helps them to see the situation on the ground, develop empathy and compassion, and helps society develop a soul.”
Dr Le Thi Nguyet Minh

The More you Dream, the Farther you get "I think I am different from many others. I live a full life, contribute to society and making others happy gives me happiness. I don't just chase dreams, I achieve them."

Subin Subaiah

We are Like This Only “Integration is like yoga - it does not take effect overnight. You have to build it up slowly so that the mind and body accept it and the heart, and the soul are touched.” Daisy Irani Subaiah “Humour, particularly satire, has proven to be the best way to reflect on the flaws and foibles of ourselves and the society we live in. By laughing at ourselves we see more easily the ridiculousness of our decisions.”

Pranoti Nagarkar

A Global Sensation, Made in Singapore “In most industries, people follow norms. You need a disruptor to come in and change things.”

Dr Sun Guang Wen

Integrating Through Community Bonding “Through my volunteering activities I not only help the community, but I also inculcate good values in my kids and set an example for them and my students.” 

Kamaladevi Aravindan

Mirroring Singapore’s Soul Through Stories “Imagination is only a small part of my skill as a writer, the rest is observation. My stories have themes that find resonance among readers because they are the stories of ordinary everyday Singaporeans.”

Larry Yeung

Creating a Nation by Design “A nation that does not think and question degrades over time. The youth must start questioning the status quo which is particularly important for Singapore to move forward. Community engagement can be a powerful platform to forge greater bonds across society. It’s a duty we all share.”

Dr Marcelo H Ang Jr

Robotics and the Smart Nation “Robotics can potentially play a more crucial role in improving the quality of our lives. My vision and dream are for the robot to be the ultimate companion and communication tool, especially as we grow older, and live in a utopic world where humans and robots work together to maximize efficiency and make life more meaningful for all of us.”

Dr Robert Casteels

Forging a Musical Pathway to Integration “When my former colleagues and friends in Europe hear a new music composition that I have written, they say they hear Asian influences. Strangely I do not hear them. My journey in Singapore has led me to a continuous flow of rich discoveries in which I have internalized Asian musical influences.”

Jaspreet Chhabra, PBM

A Heart and Soul that Beats for Singapore "Despite differences in ethnicity, religion and culture, we live together as one people, with a harmony that is remarkable – always looking to help one another and serve the country.”

Gan Cheong Weei

Creating Connections Between Singaporean and Nature “We all appreciate greenery, but we need to love the wildlife that comes with it as well. You can’t love a butterfly but hate the caterpillar.”

Dipa Swaminathan

It Started with Raincoats! “Any civilized society has to be empathetic. Migrant workers are an essential workforce. They benefit the country, and we must integrate them and create an inclusive society.”

Milenko Prvacki

Cross-cultural Interactions Through Art “Artists are like sponges; they soak up everything from all cultures. Art sticks to us, we can borrow and absorb. Differences are stimulating. They engage me more than things that I have experienced before.”

Amit Sinha

Shaping the Future of Banking “The wealthy have already made it and the poorest sections of society receive help from the government and other agencies. I worry about the lower middle class. They too need support, mentoring and a leg up to move up the curve."

Khoo Swee Chiow

Making the Impossible Possible “We should continue to have the spirit of adventure. There is no right or wrong, nor a perfect time. Just step out of your comfort zone and do it."

Dr Bhanu Ranjan

Contributing to the Singapore Story “I am not here to change the system but find the right tools to sustain myself in it and contribute positively.”

Chew Ai Mei

Service with a Smile “God opened doors for me, and I came to Singapore. Singapore received me with open arms and for that I am grateful.”

Rosihan Dahim

The Art, the Artist, and his Vision “I dream a lot. Dreams activate the mind. I don’t forget my dreams. I observe these influences that have been bestowed on me by nature. They keep my mind childlike and innocent.”

Aleksandar Duric

Nurturing our Youth Through Sports “Singapore is a land of opportunities. It spoils you. To make it your own you have to integrate, be a real person with real emotions. That’s the only way forward.”

Cornelio Gutierrez Padre

Learn, Adapt and Practice: The Mantra of Success “I have carried the flag of Singapore at several international radiology related events. It is an immense responsibility as well as an honour. The whole world looks upon Singapore’s representatives to be one of the best, so the pressure is immense.”

Vijayalakshmi Mohan

The Langoli Lao Shi “Through tradition, bonding and in promoting my own culture, I have connected with other races. It is particularly important to be aware of one’s tradition and culture and at the same time learn about and appreciate other cultures as well.”

Tony Du Zhiqiang

Embracing the Core Singapore Value of Cohesiveness “Because we like this place, because we felt deeply for Singapore, we chose to work, learn, reside, sink our roots and raise our family here. It was a difficult decision, but we made our choice—Singapore is our new home.”

Veena Prakash

A Family Rooted by a Sense of Belonging and Ownership “This is a country where regardless of your standing in life you get equal treatment.”

Aravinth Kumarasamy

Dancing in Step with Time “I did not want to limit Apsaras Arts to being just an Indian dance company. I had hoped it would be a Singaporean company. Today it has become much more. We are now Southeast Asian. We have taken Indian dance to another paradigm.”

Sameen Khan, PBM

Service, Leadership and Giving Back to the Community “Success doesn’t mean money. Little episodes of motivation, of giving back and making a difference in society make me feel I am doing something worthwhile and keep me going.”

Rajan Jain

Giving Till it Hurts "Seeing the plight of those who are suffering makes me grateful for what I have. Being able to help in my small way is what gives me a lot of pleasure."

Cesar Balota

Creating a Kinder Society “What brought Singapore here is its determination to be one nation and one people, but now there is a need to open our minds to new ideas in education, economics, politics and the social sphere. Thankfully, younger Singaporeans are moving in the right direction.”

Dr Rupesh Agrawal

Eyeing Better Medical Care for all "I think we are here in this world for a purpose. If we can't give back to the society, we have wasted this life.”

Project Team