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Race Issues

Though a sensitive subject, especially in Singapore, I believe it is important that we all acknowledge race issues openly rather than skirt them. That's what this space is for!
A note of caution though - because this is, after all, Singapore, do be sensitive to other people's feelings. Be open and critical, but not rude and bigoted. I would also advise all reading this space to take comments with a pinch of salt, given that these are only opinions of individual people, made in the light of advancing further critical discussion and encouraging a more open, intellectual mindset. :)  

Read the article below. Do you agree with the writer? Why?

Dec 7, 2007
Beware hazards of playing the race card
By Janadas Devan

IT WAS eye-catching: Hindraf, the Hindu Rights Action Committee in Malaysia, demanded last Sunday the appointment of a Chinese as the country's finance minister and a non-Malay as its second deputy prime minister. Too many top portfolios in the Cabinet were being held by Malays, Hindraf complained.

A few days earlier, it was announced that Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam was to be Singapore's Finance Minister. Not a single Singapore newspaper bothered to note that he was a non-Chinese. Many Chinese Singaporeans may have difficulty pronouncing his name - Mr Tah-mun, they call him - but the fact that he is of Jaffna Tamil origin is a matter of profound indifference to them. He is obviously well-qualified for the job; end of story.

And as for the deputy prime ministership, two non- Chinese have held that post in Singapore's history - the late Mr S Rajaratnam, and Professor S Jayakumar, who is one of the two incumbent DPMs. Nobody ever suspected either Mr Rajaratnam or Prof Jayakumar got there because he was a non-Chinese.

What were Singaporeans talking about last week? Among other things, they were wondering if a non-Chinese could be prime minister. A survey last month had indicated that as many as 94 per cent of Chinese Singaporeans said they would not mind a non-Chinese as prime minister. But former Cabinet minister S Dhanabalan doubted the finding. Singapore is not ready for a non-Chinese in the top job, he told this newspaper.

And who wrote to The Straits Times' Forum page disagreeing with him? Chinese Singaporeans! I think Mr Dhanabalan is correct, as does this newspaper's Political Editor Zuraidah Ibrahim - all non-Chinese, in case you have not noticed - but here were Chinese assuring us we were wrong.

So I'll make a modest prediction here: Fifteen to 20 years from now, a woman will be in the running for the top job. That glass ceiling will be smashed first. And 30 to 50 years from now, a non-Chinese will be in the running for the top job. For purely symbolic reasons, I hope he or she is a Machindian - a thoroughbred, kopi-susu Other.

Far from perfect

WHAT idle speculation! What luxury it is to talk in this fashion! Race relations in Singapore are by no means perfect - racism still exists - but things could be far, far worse. Take a look at Malaysia.

Why should there be a Hindu Rights Action Committee? It is unfortunate enough that Malaysian political groups should be organised along racial lines. But to find minorities dicing themselves into even smaller minorities - Hindu Indians, Muslim Indians, Tamil Indians, non-Tamil Indians, ad infinitum - reveals how extraordinarily divisive identity politics has become in the country.

Hindraf organised a march in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago, at which demonstrators carried portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and Queen Elizabeth II. Why did they not think of hoisting portraits of the Malaysian King or of 'Bapa Malaysia', Tunku Abdul Rahman?

Why did Hindraf make appeals to India for help? And why did the Indian Prime Minister himself, Dr Manmohan Singh, feel it was his place to intervene on behalf of Malaysia's Indians?

'Whenever Indian citizens abroad or people of Indian origin living abroad run into difficulties, that obviously is a source of concern to us,' he had said.

There are so many things wrong with this picture - so many things that should sound the alarm - one does not quite know where to start.

  • First, the Indian government's claim of a watching brief over Indian Malaysians was deeply troubling.

    For one thing, it implied Indian Malaysians did not belong where they were. 'People of Indian origin living abroad' clearly implied that India was the 'home' and Malaysia the 'abroad' for Indian Malaysians. How could Dr Singh have thought such an implication would benefit Indian Malaysians?

    For another, if New Delhi can claim a watching brief over overseas Indians, Beijing can claim the same over overseas Chinese too. It does not. But if Indian Malaysians can look to India for redress, why cannot Chinese minorities in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia look to China? How would such divvying-up of oversight responsibilities between Big Brother India and Big Brother China help multiracial South-east Asia?

    The Indian government did not realise the serious implications of what it was saying, and Malaysian officials were correct to tell it to 'lay off'. Any other Asean government would have done the same.

  • Second, Hindraf's behaviour points to a degree of alienation and disillusionment that should worry all Malaysian politicians - in the ruling as well as opposition parties.

    Malaysia's roughly 1.8 million Indians are not recent immigrants. The overwhelming majority are at least the grandchildren of immigrants. If after 50 years of Malaysian independence, a number of them are still automatically hoisting portraits of foreign totemic figures at demonstrations, there is something deeply wrong.

    It points to shortcomings in Malaysia's system of preferences for bumiputeras. Now almost 40 years old, that system has shifted from being a means of uplifting Malays economically to one that serves to entrench Malay dominance. Thus, what was once perceived as a necessary leg-up for Malays - affirmative action - is now perceived by the other races as discriminatory action against them.

    And because the system has lasted for so long, forward-looking Malaysian leaders are finding it difficult to reform it. The slightest indication of change - for example, in Kuala Lumpur waiving bumiputera set-asides for some businesses in Johor's Iskandar Development Region - is taken as an attack on settled policy by various Malay groups. Why is the understanding of 50 years being challenged, they demand? Why is Malay dominance being threatened?

    A Malaysia unable to break free from sterile identity politics will find it increasingly difficult to compete in a globalised world.

  • Third, Hindraf's actions - and the reactions to them - show the fissures in Malaysia are widening, not narrowing.

    'The Malays have never taken to the streets, so do not force us to do so as we will draw our parangs to defend our country's sovereignty,' a member of the ruling Umno's Supreme Council, Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Chik, was reported saying.

    Bumiputeras constitute 65 per cent of Malaysia's population. But that figure includes non-Malay bumiputeras, such as the Kadazans and Ibans of East Malaysia. Malay bumiputeras alone number about 13 million, less than 55 per cent of the country's total population, barely a plurality.

    An Umno-led ruling coalition that loses substantial support from Malaysia's minorities will find itself having to depend even more on Malays to preserve its two-thirds majority in Parliament. To ensure that - and with Parti Islam SeMalaysia snapping at its heels - its hot-heads may be tempted to ratchet up their 'parang' talk. That is a dangerous game.

    It is urgent that Malaysia's leaders speak to, of and for Malaysia. That is the only way to cool its red-hot identity politics. Speak to, of and for Malaysia, please - fast.


  • Comments

    ( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
    9th Dec, 2007 10:50 (UTC)
    Racism Still exist?
    Personally, I do agree that racism still exist. However the degree of it varies from country to country. In Singapore, we do not really see much of such discrimination especially in the politics. LIke what is said in the article, more than 94% of the chinese Singaporeans do not mind having a non-chinese taking the top job. I think that it does not really matter who take up the job, so long as the person has the capability to take up these responsibilities and lead the country to greater heights. I am sure most of us are familiar with the saying "don't judge a book by its cover". One's skin colour cannot determine how capabale one is. Instead it is the knowledge that determines it. Whether or not such racism can be eliminated, it depends very much on each individual.
    16th Dec, 2007 07:08 (UTC)
    Yeah..it is bad to discriminate other races just because of our colour and culture differences.However, there are some reasons which causes people to discriminate one another.Maybe due to personal reasons and such.To some extent,though i hate racism, i still acknowlegde the fact that it will exist for a very long time.
    18th Dec, 2007 14:15 (UTC)
    Are we being too paranoid abut racial issues
    As we all know 'too many chefs spoil the soup’, I personally feel that many people are stick their heads into the Malaysian issue and suddenly the topic becomes the talk of the town. This issue has spread to such an extent that we are digging up many historical events. We should never let things go out of hand or else who might know history might repeat itself. This is exactly what is causing the paranoia. To solve this problem we should not go around doing surveys instead we should find unity in diversity.
    18th Dec, 2007 14:42 (UTC)
    Re: Are we being too paranoid abut racial issues
    Your response sounds very..... glossed over. Honestly, is that what you really feel? Why do you think "many people stick their heads in"? What's wrong with "digging up historical events"? You're being really really vague and I'm just wondering where you're going with this.
    21st Dec, 2007 08:49 (UTC)
    Respect all races
    I believe there is still racism around in most or should i say all of the multi-racial countries. It can be very common or some may just keep it to the heart. In Singapore, some may say that racism is not common due to the law or maybe afraid of being condemned by the public. But i believe because we have the same goal of just improving the nation's economic and living better and better, allowing us to be apathetic about the racial differences and showing respect to their culture. Anyway, we are brought up having the mindset that racism is BAD. As for Malaysia, i do not know how did the Malays treat the Indians as i do not live there but read on the news that they show no respect for their race. From a Singaporean view, i will just say they should at least respect to their human rights and culture no matter what race they are. But i believe Singapore cannot intervene like the India do as we have different political mindset as Malaysia.
    25th Dec, 2007 09:24 (UTC)
    Why can't we be friends?
    I just finished reading the article and what first came to my mind was why can't we all just get along?
    It all comes down to have we've been brought up I guess.
    It DOES make a big difference if you've been brought up with an open mindset or if you've been brought up with your mother telling you "you can't play with this kid because he's not Chinese/Indian/Malay." and so on and so forth.

    Comparing Malaysia and Singapore, there's a big difference. On one hand you have Singapore, the multi-religious, multi-racial society, where there's a conscious effort on racial harmony. Malaysia, on the other hand, seems to be (or as I see it) quite pro-Malay. The Malays have the say, they have the rights, and they are the majority of the population. This comes down to, again, the way these people in these different countries were taught and brought up. How did their government work to make sure that the generations would practice racial and religious harmony and be all at peace with each other?

    My personal view on race and race issues are as follows.
    Firstly, I feel that everyone is racist. Everyone. Even if you don't think you are, there's a tiny bit of you that will probably be.
    Secondly, to me, race doesn't really matter because we're all human, we're all different, so why can't we just accept each other as who we are? All the stereotypes (which I will not mention) that we think of when we see a particular "race" just obstruct us from having this open mindset of looking at a person as a person and not classify and judge him/her by his/her race.
    Thirdly, wouldn't the world be better if we weren't "racist"? I mean race is just a term that segregates us from being as a whole, as one human body. And back to my initial point, why can't we all just get along?

    I just want to share an encounter I had in the MRT one day.
    I was sitting in the train on the way to school in the morning. I was just sitting there minding my own business when suddenly I hear this man shouting at the top of his voice. I turned to my right and saw this Chinese man shouting at the top of his lungs right in front of this Caucasian man. The Caucasian man was all dressed for work and was just reading the newspaper when suddenly he gets a screaming Singaporean right in front of him.
    The Chinese man was shouting because the Caucasian glanced/looked at him when he looked up from his papers. (gosh... i know)
    I managed to catch a few things he said.
    "You think you are and ang moh you can just any how look at us..."
    "This is Singapore okay! You cannot anyhow look at people. Who do you think you are?! ... "
    "You think you ang moh so good is it..."
    So on and so forth. You can imagine how it went from there.
    He got off with me at Koven MRT. He was kind of stunned. He didn't really respond to the Chinese man, he just nodded.
    So much for racial harmony.

    Well this story might be irrelevant but how many times have you encountered people just being very racist and hating the other race for petty reasons or no apparent reason?
    Its just... so childish.
    Anyway, I just want to say that I support the open mindset of accepting people for who they are regardless of their differences. Who cares about race! The world would be a much better place. Which much better political systems (maybe because they wouldn't have to choose which race the prime minister should be!)and much easier to live with one another.

    If i could end this off with a song, it would be Why Can't We Be Friends by War. "why can't we be friends? why can't we be friends? ..."
    26th Dec, 2007 16:12 (UTC)
    I think that the situation in Malaysia is perhaps very much alike to Singapore. This is because, while Singapore is predominantly Chinese, Malaysia is predominantly Malay.
    Despite the similarity, it can be seen that the racial issue over at Malaysia is more serious.
    I am very much attracted by the last few sentences of the article where the writer states, “It is urgent that Malaysia's leaders speak to, of and for Malaysia.” I believe that this statement is true if Malaysia wants to prevent any possible racial riots from occurring.
    This is because the citizens will ultimately follow the footsteps of the leaders’ because they are expected to be good role models and provide the necessary guidance. In my opinion, I think a country cannot do without harmony or unity among citizens. Imagine if such values do not exist. The country would be in chaos. I think this is what the writer is trying to put across and I agree. Furthermore, it is highly difficult for the country to prosper just because they have to deal with identity politics. I do not think it is very wise of Hindraf to escalate and blow up matters. In the meantime, it is also very true that racism still exists in Singapore. I read several blogs whereby the issue of racism is being voiced out by Singaporeans themselves. I believe that racism exists mainly because there is a minority and majority problem in the country. The majority would somehow overpower the minority and thus such racial issues occur. Even when racism still exists in Singapore, I do not see it as a huge problem. People would rather tend to just shrug it off if they are actually provoked in any way. Anyway, I am of the opinion that life is never ever fair. Therefore, I think it is inevitable if discrimination that takes place in any country at all.
    26th Dec, 2007 16:16 (UTC)
    Indeed, it is a worrying cause for concern as to why the Indians are being treated differently.It boils down to the culture of Malaysia as Malaysia since a hundred decades ago has always been Malay dominace of sort that’s why its called Malaysia and for Malaysia it has already been like that where we have UMNO etc where the different political parties represent each different race so can be seen there is already division in the poltical groups. Indeed,perhaps the government in India should not be that oversensitive or rather overreact as imagine if everyone were behaving the way the India government behaves then wouldn`t it be chaotic like there will not be any world peace cos each country is suspicious of the other country mistreating its own race it’s a bit too paranoid like kind of behaviour.Also this really brings our attention to where perhaps how or rather where the policies of Malaysia has brought about how come the people behave like .What the article has mentioned as quoted from the passage,` Hindraf's behaviour points to a degree of alienation and disillusionment that should worry all Malaysian politicians - in the ruling as well as opposition parties.`As the the citizens of a country sees their government as good role models,the question to ask is why are the Indians in Malaysia doing all that in demonstrations or rather why there is even demonstrations? Racisim is inevitable in a country with different races it is just to what extent the racism has been ,how obvious it is and how the people react to racism issues.I believe it takes two hands to clap so perhaps Malaysia really did something to the Indians and perhaps the Indians are overeacting,it is just like the USSR and the USA having cold war cos they each overereacts to each other`s reaction.It is good that the India government is protecting and is concerned about Indians in Malaysia but I feel that life is like that it is never fair so people should just take it with a pinch of salt nevertheless it could be brought up for discussion and perhaps the Malaysia government should relook into its policies etc

    27th Dec, 2007 08:30 (UTC)
    Racism issues
    I just feel that racism will exist in any countries as long as there is a mixture of different races of people in that country,the only difference is the extent of racism in that country and whether it is done obviously or beneath the surface.Also,it depends on whether the so called victims who are being criticised or discrimminted will blow up the matters or just let it be for instance for certain people in certain countries,they will hold peaceful dmontrations to show their discontent.Some may even go to racial riots,so the issue of racism is inevitable,i just feel that prople should be more open minded and not be racist just because of the differnce in skin colours yes i agree that perhaps not just the skin colour is differnent even the culturers the language etc are difernt but really all of us are equal beings in the world with equal rights so why not just live in harmony?As quoted from the Singapore pledge,we the citizens of singapore,plede ourselves as on e united ppl regardless of race languagge or religion.so why cant ppl live in harmony?rite?then there will be world peace.I really hope ppl will live in harmony to the extent of no racism but it may not be possible or at least i hope that there will be little or better still no racism in any country at all.
    31st Dec, 2007 06:14 (UTC)
    re: Race Issues...
    Firstly, I agree with the author that the Indian government should not intervene with the internal affairs Malaysia is facing.Malaysia would be best able to handle this issue, and not any foreign government.Personally, I feel that the MIC should step up efforts in improving the lives of Indians in Malaysia, and this will definitely help ease the current tension and discontenment amongst the Indians.On the other hand,I believe that foreign intervention,that of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International will "wake-up" the malaysian government a little and make them realise this is a pertinent issue at hand.

    Secondly, i agree with the author that if this issue is not handled with care, Malaysia would find it hard to compete in the globalised world. I say this because the Islamisation and the steady intrusion of the Syariah law would dampen healthy economic competition with other countries,because there would be an heightened amount of red-tape and bureacracies involved now, as compared to before.Furthermore,economic deprivation that the Indian community are facing in Malaysia, could also lead to fratricidal violence in the community.

    Lastly, I agree with the author that violence is not the way to settle conflict, especially in this day and era.Violence will definitely solve the problems, instead it will worsen the matters at hand.Racial attacks will increase, and the whole nation of Malaysia will be in strife.
    31st Dec, 2007 15:11 (UTC)
    Re: re: Race Issues...
    I agree with your last point. Violence is definitely not the way to go. Looking at recent events, such as Benazir Bhutto's assassination and terrorist activities, the outbreak of violence would bring down severe criticism from the international community. Considering, too, that if racial tensions rise, it will not only be the Indians and Malays involved, but also the ethnic group of the Chinese, who have already felt some of the repurcussions of their heritage in a predominantly Muslim nation.
    1st Jan, 2008 07:47 (UTC)
    Racial issues
    so that means if two races r at war or rather there is tension between 2 races but there r more than 2 differnt races within that particular country,it may affect not just the races at conflict but also the differnt races who r not involved in the conflict at all in terms of evry aspect including economically it will be affected so i feel that perhaps having summit meetings or negotiations or even having conference with the UN may help settle the conflict or maybe even ease the tensions.whtever it is i just feel that violence is not the way out and i totally agree with u violence will only put the country into a more chaotic situation.
    1st Jan, 2008 13:12 (UTC)
    I digress in the first half of the article because i think it adresses the issue which seem more pertinent to our society in relative to the crisis Malaysia is facing.

    Personally, I feel that one's race, should not affect the decision in setting the political stage of any state. Not only is it a painful way of self-sagregation in one's own nation, it is also a one-way ticket to descrediting the entire meritocratic system. Nontheless, Race is sensitive because we distinct ourselves superficially and ignore that we are also one Race- Man.

    In short, it doesn't matter if your Prime Minister is Chinese, Malay, Indian or E.T. If he does his job, feed his nation adequately, boost the GDP percentages and economy; I do not see why your skin colour or looks matter.
    For that, I'm bemused, if not amused, because I do not see why the minorities of Singaporeans should be doubting how their majorities would feel about having a Non-Chinese as Top Dog in the political scene.

    Quoting from the article:"former Cabinet minister S Dhanabalan doubted the finding. Singapore is not ready for a non-Chinese in the top job." As a Chinese and more so a Singaporean student, I think Former Cabinet minister S Dhanabalan should have more faith in our National Education fostered by the Ministry of Education in incalcating values of respect and racial harmony in our students. 10 years of Social Studies in our education would give a good idea that Singapore IS a multi-racial state that base itself on a system of meritocracy that governs the civil service. The racial line of tolerant and compromise is such a grey area to touch, but nontheless, it is not impossible to live harmoniously together. Perhaps if the issue of racism is not as optimistic as I would like to think it is, then i do think MOE should review its policies about Social Studies.

    On hindsight, I do think racism still do exists. However, it seem to me that racism is a product of stereotypes fostered by various sources or maybe ideas that our parents/grandparents have passed on to us when their experience of racism is far more painful. From a micro perspective, sometimes racism is a fine line to draw because i reckon racism may not be what it is made up to be, as racism is sometimes abused. Its not the colour of a person that makes him or her who he or she is, but rather what his/her moral values and his/her character that allows his/her surroundings to react to what they do. (ok, i know its confusing)

    Let me put things in perspective, for example in America, if a White is alienated by his peers (majority Whites) because of his character, he is just being alienated. However, ceteris paribus, if a Black is alienated by his peers (majority Whites) because of his character, he can claim its racism. Similarly to Singapore and the rest of the Asean countries. However, more so in Singapore because Singapore, unlike Malaysia, practice equality that transcend race, religion and language; I therefore do not see why minorities Singaporeans would feel as if they are second-rate citizens like the Chinese and Indians do in the perdominantly Malays society of Malaysia. Without such class divide, I do think that much of racism that exist in Singapore is, very much kept beneath the surface.

    With that, agreeing with the author, I do think Mindraf have overdone it by having their big Brother India take care of them because sagregation upon sagregation, divide upon divide, such intervention would only worsen domestic matters within Malaysia. However, I do think Malaysia should review its policy so as to give equal oppurtunities to all its citizens regardless of race. Because, if they are all Malaysians, then why bother to further divide themselves along racial lines and give priorities and incentives to its majority? Aren't they rest Malaysians too?

    There are extreme racist people around and probabaly seperating them from one another is the best option. But lets not go to that, racism is subjective. (Making remarks or calling names about the skin colour may be racist to one but endearing to another.)

    For that, I think Singapore has done a good job in maintaining a cosmopolitian city. At least, when it comes to race, Singaporeans of different races don't kill one another Hitler-style.
    4th Jan, 2008 09:56 (UTC)
    i believe that each and every one of us must have comment something racist. no one is perfect. however, by commenting some racist comments doesn't suggest that he/she is racist. although i personally think that racism should come to an end in order to have peace within a multi-racial country.
    6th Jan, 2008 02:28 (UTC)
    Race issues
    I remembered reading about Malaysia’s 1960s politics in social studies book. At that time, Malaysia political parties were established based on racial lines. And the UMNO emphasized about building a Malay Malaysia, where Malay is dominant. I thought this situation of racism would improve over the years, but the mindset of some Malaysians has not changed. So I agree with the writer that it is important for their leaders to address this issue and encourage Malaysia to look at the bigger picture of competing with the global by letting go their system of preferences for bumiputeras.
    6th Jan, 2008 03:30 (UTC)
    "Race relations in Singapore are by no means perfect - racism still exists"
    Does racism still exist in singapore?
    If your answer is no, you must be kidding yourself. I agree with the author that racism in Singapore is still alive. Recently, an audio recording has been circulating the Internet (eg. Youtube) in which 2 Chinese Singaporean men are making fun of an Indian Muslim food stallholder by insisting on ordering pork, despite being told repeatedly that the stall only serves Halal food.
    While blogger Xiaxue described it as “Super Funny”.
    In my opinion, it’s nothing to be laughed about because it is really insensitive to Indian and Muslims. Although it was later found that the whole incident was staged. The Indian stallholder was in fact a Chinese, and the audio was made at his house with two other friends. Even so, having the intention to create such an audio is purely a display of racism.
    Also, you can see in some job recruitment advertisements which specify the race they want. So for example, instead of saying “Chinese-speaking” it was written as ‘Chinese”. I feel that it is okay to specify the language due to necessary work requirement for the job but not the race itself.
    It is not surprising that study has also found that Singaporean children of different races are not mixing.
    However, as gloomy as the situation seems to be, there’s still tolerance seen around Singapore. For instance, there could be a Chinese funeral in the void deck of a HDB-flat while Malay wedding is being held in another. This is a harmonious co-existence.
    In conclusion,I feel that Singapore has been making a commendable effort in promoting racial harmony thus explaining the situational differences between Malaysia and Singapore, we should not be ashamed of our differences, instead we should celebrate it. But then again, all these take time.
    6th Jan, 2008 08:36 (UTC)
    I feel that the everyone should be treated equally irregardless of their gender, skin colour or disabilities. One should always be treated according to this talent and abilities. For example, in Singapore,the government adopts meritocracy.The government promotes based on one's abilities and qualification. This is the main reason why Tharman Shanmugaratnam is to be Singapore's Finance Minister despite being a non-chinese.

    In the case of Malaysia, i personally feel that the government is seriously being pro-Malays.This evident by the fact that too many top portfolios in the Cabinet were being held by Malays. Even the Chinese as well as the Indians and the minorities should be given a chance to hold top jobs.
    6th Jan, 2008 09:25 (UTC)
    Perhaps the solution to solve problems of discrimination n stereotyping is that of education n promoting greater understanding among ppl of differnt races.it is no wonder that russell peters had to come up with his form of satire through jokes.perhaps the only comfort is society shows great acceptance and sympathy for those who r handicapped an eg will be non profit centered MNCs like mcdonalds have been employing deaf n dumb as staffs.i agree with a magazine that i read tht is steoreotyping that lead to discrimination r always built on inaccurate information.
    6th Jan, 2008 09:39 (UTC)
    I must say that racism in Singapore is something that is still very much alive, although in appearance, everything looks nice and well.
    Racist jokes are frequently told be it blond jokes, Indian jokes etc. We laughed about it and move on. But the question is why are we so sensitive when it comes to matters with regards to our own race? Nobody likes to be scrutinized or to be labeled. In Singapore, the Chinese race is the majority. I feel that the main problem in Singapore is that the majority of Singapore Chinese have never gone through such an experience. They act in such a way as they so not understand how it is to be a minority.
    Well, I guess the only way to lessen the problem of racism lies with the responsibilities of the parents. They should help inculcate values of racial harmony since young as the character of a child is molded when young.
    6th Jan, 2008 15:13 (UTC)
    comment on ttanya's comment
    I agree about racism being much alive in Singapore. However, I do not really agree about the part where parents have to inculcate their kids so that they would not be racist because some parents themselves are very much racist such that they do not allow their kids to mix around with certain ethnic groups. This is so because some parents still have the mindset, which is not so relevant today, that Malays are drug addicts, Indians are molesters and Chinese are gangsters. I think that the government should be more intensive in educating the general public on the issue of racism by portraying benefits of racial unity through broadcasting and even posters and also input certain laws that companies should not set pre-requisites to job applicants for example, applicant must be bilingual, Mandarin and English. By doing so, I think that the future generations will slowly be more integrated to one another, ethnically.
    13th Jan, 2008 08:33 (UTC)
    Re: comment on ttanya's comment
    I think the government has done more than enough about racism. It's really got to be ridiculous if they start doing stuff like fining others who show how racist they are like eg. commenting on skin color. On the other hand, parents should be mature enough to understand that: hey this is Singapore, it's multi racial; and if even teenagers like us can understand this, parents who have gone through so much and often boast about their experience should be wiser. Well, we ARE the new generation. So HECk we'll just live our lives without being racist; No problem! =)
    13th Jan, 2008 08:29 (UTC)
    I know that I'm stepping into forbidden grounds here but... I've often heard that Malay men do not have to serve NS because of two reasons : 1) They are given such rights as the gov. sees them as the indigenous people of Singapore and 2) Because we are scared that they may choose one day to side with Malaysia and may pose a threat to Sinagpore. Is this true??
    17th Feb, 2013 02:26 (UTC)
    Find friends with benefits and Be Naughty! Go Here dld.bz/chwZK
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