By Thought Provoker
The CNA-IPS Survey on Race Relations has suggested many things in its findings but one section caught my eye. In the article entitled ‘Racism still a problem for some Singaporeans, CNA-IPS survey finds’, it was noted that the “results also showed a high level of in-group preference – the majority of respondents preferred those of the same race as spouses, to help them run their business or to share personal problems with”. In addition, a few lines down, it reiterates that “More minority respondents were accepting of the Chinese compared to the Chinese accepting minority respondents for various roles and relationships”.
If that is the case, then the non-Chinese would automatically be disadvantaged because Indians hiring Indians or Malays hiring Malays are not a problem to the Chinese. But if Chinese are hiring Chinese, many Indians and Malays are obviously going to face real challenges. This finding also matches anecdotal evidence of minorities finding it hard to get a job in many industries that are predominately Chinese-owned. Could this be because the Chinese employers are not as accepting of other races for roles in their business?
Even in the social sphere, the article noted “close to 70 per cent of Chinese respondents were open to inviting Indians and Malays to their house for a meal”. That means that 30% of Chinese wouldn’t invite a non-Chinese to their home? That’s 860,301 people in Singapore who won’t invite you to their home if you’re a Malay or Indian. And if they aren’t comfortable doing that in spite of all the Racial Harmony Day celebrations we’ve had these past 50 years, do you think they’d be comfortable having a meal with you during lunch (as colleagues), let alone hire you?
It’s easy to say that it’s a normal thing that happens in every race group. But if that in-group preference is causing problems to fellow Singaporeans in terms of day-to-day living, such as finding a job and getting promoted, then it needs to be thought about long and hard. The Chinese as a community segment really need to reflect on their attitudes and take on the responsibility of ensuring their fellow Singaporeans are not being shortchanged.
“But I’m not a racist” just doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to look around you and see whether you are part of a race-exclusive club at work and speak out against such perpetuations if it is indeed the case.