Incidents recorded on camera portraying racist behaviour by members of the public have been circulating on social media.
In one of the videos, Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer Tan Boon Lee was spotted criticising Dave Parkash, who is of Indian and Filipino descent, in Orchard Road.
Mr Tan was heard commenting that it was a disgrace for a Chinese woman to be dating the ice cream store owner Mr Parkash.
“It seems like more people are finding it acceptable, to make ‘in your face’ racial statement – openly,” said Mr Shanmugam.
“I used to believe that Singapore was moving in the right direction on racial tolerance and harmony. Based on recent events, I am not so sure anymore,” he added.
On Jun 9, a woman was filmed banging a gong because her neighbour had to ring a bell for his prayers.
Another video circulated online on May 1 of a woman shouting at a foreign couple, telling them to “get out of my country” and “get out of Singapore.” She was also heard calling them “white tr*sh”.
“Each time we see something like that happening, I think we should take a stand — make it very clear that this does not represent us, and we do not condone any such acts of racism or xenophobia,” said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in a multi-ministry virtual press conference on Thursday (June 10).
He highlighted how the Covid-19 pandemic had brought out the best of the Singapore spirit, with many going out of their way to help those in need, regardless of race or religion.
When asked if the pandemic might have contributed to the recent incidents, Mr Gan said that pandemic-related stresses might cause frictions to flare up at times.
Singaporeans need to be reminded that they live in a multiracial society and have to keep working together to strengthen cohesion, he noted.
“It’s like vaccination – to vaccinate us against anti-racial sentiments,” added Mr Gan. “We need to continue to work with one another.”
“We must remember this fundamental DNA that Singaporeans share with each other, of trust, of confidence in each other, that we have come so far from far worse crisis to where we are today,” said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, who weighed in on the topic.
“So, continue to keep that unity and resilience. Keep that trust – that’s the main antibody to fight against the pandemic.” /TISG
Follow us on Social Media
Send in your scoops to firstname.lastname@example.org