Race and religion matter to Malays more, Singlish has popular support, gambling is wrong, and English-speaking helps in Singapore
Race & religion
The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in its insights from a survey of 4,131 Singaporean residents (most citizens) on race, religion and language, revealed in January that 51.9% Malay respondents felt that race is important to them in their overall sense of identity. The percentage for Indians and Chinese on the same question of importance of race was 28.4% and 22.8% respectively. The survey was conducted between December 2012 and April 2013.
In terms of religion, the percentage rose to 70.1% for Malays, who felt religion is important to them for their overall sense of identity.
Of all the respondents, 36% believed that English-speaking people have to work “much less/less hard than others” in order to have a prosperous life in Singapore. Contrarily, percentage of respondents who believed that Malay-speaking and Tamil-speaking people have to work “harder than/much more than others” for a prosperous life was 41% and 44% respectively.
Notably, just a little over half (51.9%) of the respondents felt fine if people around them speak a language other than theirs.
A telling insights was on the question put to university-educated respondents, which was – “I am fine if a service staff does not speak to me in English in a shop on Orchard Road”. While 65.4% Malays and 66.8% Indians “strongly disagree/somewhat disagree” with the statement, 48.6% Chinese respondents “agreed/strongly agreed” with it. If this was because Indians and Malays felt that the service staff not speaking in English will invariably be speaking Mandarin, and thus showed disagreement, was not clear in the survey findings.
Also, a majority of respondents across all races showed support for Singlish, the unofficial national language of the country. When asked whether “the government should do more to curb the use of Singlish in Singapore”, only 29.3% Chinese, 40.9% Malays, and 40.6% Indians agreed or strongly-agreed with the statement.
A majority (69.2%) of the total respondents saw gambling as “almost always or always” wrong, indicating that the opening of two casinos in Singapore in recent years is yet to influence the local opinion in their favour.
Preference to minorities
On the question whether “the government should give preferential/special treatment to minority groups”, the answers were much along the racial lines. Among Malays, 40.8% agreed and 25.5% disagreed. In Indians, 33.6% agreed, and 29.7% disagreed. But among the Chinese respondents, the trend was reversed. While only 23.5% Chinese agreed, 52% of the Chinese respondents didn’t feel that the government should give any preferential treatment to minority groups.
Note: All graphs in this story are courtesy IPS