In a recent article in the Malay Mail in Malaysia, Singaporean born Surekha Yadav portrayed Singapore as a racist country. Her article attracted much comments from Singaporeans who either agreed or disputed with her.
In her article, she alleges that the Singaporean Chinese enjoy more institutional, racialized and systematic privileges compared to other racial groups such as Malay and Indian.
This Chinese privilege, according to some critiques, is quite similar to the white privilege that is enjoyed by whites in Europe and the USA. The privilege works like a type of unseen opportunity of assets that are often unearned, but which the individual can depend on every day, even though they remain unaware of it.
“If you aren’t Chinese you need to justify your ‘Singaporeaness’, and even so you’ll never be quite as Singaporean as a Singaporean Chinese,” says Surekha.
One Singaporean Chinese, Prof Adeline Koh stands by this and says that the Chinese ought to shut up when the minorities speak up. She forgets that the minorities in Singapore are able to defend themselves. (Thank you Adeline, but there is really no need to stir the pot here)
Surekha talks about the banning of drums at Thaipusam. Perhaps, she is unaware that the ban was recommended by the Hindu Endowments Board and not by the Chinese community.
We should not take the racial harmony that we have in Singapore for granted. Racism exists in every country and the only place that may perhaps be devoid of it is in the moon.