Regardless of Race...

When one of the most intelligent person I know has the following as his Facebook status, it is definitely not something I can ignore and let be. 

"So most Singaporeans think success is independent of race but most Singaporeans want a Prime Minister of their own race. Majulah."

The above was probably a response to the findings of a Channel NewsAsia-Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) survey on race relations that was published online earlier today in the form of the below 3 articles.
  1. Success is independent of race for most Singaporeans
  2. Racism still a problem for some Singaporeans
  3. Most Singaporeans want someone of same race as Prime Minister,President

For those who have no idea who or what the IPS is, the following excerpt taken of the IPS website might be of use to you. 

The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) was established in 1988 as an independent think-tank to study and generate public policy ideas in Singapore. IPS became an autonomous research centre of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore in 2008. Today, IPS continues to analyse public policy, build bridges between thought leaders, and communicate its findings to a wide audience.

The Institute examines issues of critical national interest across a variety of fields, and studies the attitudes and aspirations of Singaporeans through surveys of public perception. It adopts a multi-disciplinary approach in its analyses and takes the long-term view in its strategic deliberation and research.

Now that the premise has been set and you have taken in the background context, let me begin.

Firstly, this whole survey on race relations is absolute bollocks. It was probably well-intended but there was clearly no thought put in it. Yes, racism does exist in Singapore. Its there. You just have to open your eyes and ears to it. As idealist as I may sound, it is a problem that can be solved.

If I had it my way, you can probably start by incinerating the  CMIO model and all other race related organisations, policies and schemes and stick to a single Singaporean race. Yes, such a move will not be popular with the older generation but it will reap the benefits in time to come.  The last I heard, we were not a populist Government as well. I look at myself as an example. I started out as Singaporean male with having a social circle proportionate to my Country's population. As I grew up, I subscribed to the CMIO model. My extra curricular activites became in line with my race, the ICS and Indian dance etc. Any little volunteer work I do, I tend to do under the umbrella of self help groups which are Indian in nature. 

Am I racist? Hell No ! Do I find myself being partial to my own race? I guess I do. Would I choose to reward a less deserving person of my own race over a person of another race? No way. I believe in meritocracy. But all things equal, if I have to choose between my own race and another. I might be swayed due to my sub conscious racial allegiance. 

Perhaps the problem with race is that we do not talk about it enough and whatever little we do, like this half-witted survey, is pointless. Perhaps, the survey could have focused more on 26% of people who feel that success is dependent on race and the 11% who strongly disagree that everyone, regardless of race has an equal chance of becoming rich. Who are these people and why do they feel that way?

In the third survey, where respondents were asked on their preference and the acceptance of the racial origin of the Prime Minister and President,  IPS could have gone further than just establishing the obvious. As long as we have the CMIO model, we will inherently prefer our own race over another. The real issue that is of concern is the acceptance, or lack thereof, of a person of another race to be the Prime Minister or President.

Based on the survey, more than 40% of the Chinese, being the majority in this country, would not accept an Indian or Malay as this country's leader. This is no laughing matter, considering the presence of the following words in our pledge " ONE UNITED PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF RACE..."

As I type this out looking out through my window at the glorious Singapore skyline, which is a symbol of the economic and commercial progress, I cannot help but feel defeated as a Singaporean son. As a city, we might be challenging the world. But have we not failed as a Country? In my 30 years, I have never seen my people so divided. 

I write this at a time when we have just turned 51 and  Joseph Schooling has just won a second Gold Medal in the World's leading sporting event, the first being Yip Pin Xiu in 2008 in the Beijing Games. Even in such glory, there seems to much uneasiness and malaise.

If we do not address this now, it may be too late. Let us not underplay this nor ignore it and hope that our leaders will sort this out. The way I see it, this Country has evolved into a large Corporation. Sometimes, when I watch excerpts of Parliamentary sessions, the scene looks more like a boardroom rather than elected representatives who are there representing the people's interest. That is how it has become, I guess. In all honesty, they are extremely qualified  and Let them act in the(ir) best interest of this City.

However, let us not forget our role as citizens of this Country. We must continue to play our part. Let us be the change we want to see in our country. I still believe in the Singapore Spirit.

Majulah PAP Singapura !!! [Ed Note: Pardon The Writer's Freudian Slip]

If not for yourself, at the very least, do it for the Original Kabali !!!


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