We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion
From a young age, we’re taught about a utopian-like racial harmony in Singapore. Beyond the pledge we recite, we annually celebrate Racial Harmony Day where diverse ethnic and cultural costumes are proudly displayed.
But have we truly achieved that level of interracial understanding?
” While i was cooking yesterday.. This group of people were talking in Chinese about the food, they said ” Look at the curry cooking so carefully and slowly without burning the food to his colour!” ” – Musitharthan Narayanamurthy
There are perhaps fewer incidents of obvious and direct racist discrimination in Singapore, but invisible racism still exists in many parts of our lives.
It can range from casual remarks that embody racial stereotypes thrown around thoughtlessly to racially-biased decisions made in workplaces.
“You know ah, Malays ah they over promise, promise I can do this I can do that, in the end, cannot make it, after 2 days disappear.”
I answered him,
“Sir, I haven’t promised you anything. I think you should give me a chance“
If you have not experienced discrimination or undesirable treatment purely because of your racial features, you may not have realised how problematic the kind of invisible racism others face is. Some may even hesitate standing up for themselves in fear of being labelled as “over-sensitive”. However, everyone has the right to feel comfortable and stand up for their own rights. If we want to build a truly harmonious society regardless of race, we must acknowledge these cases of racism and stand together to overcome these attitudes.
One uplifting effort to look out for is OnePeople.sg.
OnePeople.sg is a ground-up national body for promoting inter-racial and inter-cultural understanding amongst Singaporeans. They lead the Orange Ribbon Movement to raise awareness and encourage the community to speak up against discrimination through various efforts – one of which is the annual Orange Ribbon Walk: Rise Against Racism, a ground-up initiative where participants rally together to show their support against racism and meet people from all walks of life.
“The Orange Ribbon symbolises friendship, brotherhood and kinship, underpinned by the values of respect, understanding and trust.” – Orange Ribbon Walk
We often feel like the efforts of one person wouldn’t be enough to make a change, but no matter how big or small, all efforts matter. If you don’t know where to start, try this year’s Orange Ribbon Walk: Rise Against Racism that will happen on 17 November (the registration ends on 8th November). If that’s not your thing, you should still keep an eye out for any other events or content by OnePeople.sg.
There’s no time better than now to stand together as a community and rise against racism.