Singapore—In honour of Racial Harmony day on Tuesday, July 21, Workers’ Party (WP) head Pritam Singh posted a photo from his schoolboy years, along with his childhood friends, of whom he wrote he has known since “primary school from 1983 right up to NUS.”
He gave a special shoutout to his friends Khairul Anwar, Christopher Woo and Jonathan Wan, among others.
The Boy with the Top Knot*————————————- Khairul Anwar**, Christopher Woo, Jonathan Wan and many others. Friends who I…
Mr Pritam wrote that “the recent conversations some of our younger Singaporeans in particular are advancing on race” as they wish to see “a more empathetic and kinder society” has caused him to ponder on these issues.
He added that “racism does reveal its ugly head every now and then even as it may be more (or less) appropriately cloaked as insensitivity and even privilege,” and that racism can be damaging indeed, “depending how we internalize the experience,” especially for minorities “but not exclusively so.”
Mr Pritam wrote that when younger Singaporeans, among others, begin to tackle issues of race he is “heartened and motivated by their initiative and sense of purpose” as this could only mean the betterment of the country. “For they dream of and are prepared to act for a better, stronger and more united Singapore.”
On his part, he recalled that in their younger years, he and Messrs Anwar, Woo and Wan “became friends effortlessly.”
“They remind me that a conversation on race is for many of us, a glass half-full and not half-empty. We are not having a conversation on race from a position of weakness and to that end, the efforts of many before us – including those in Government – to sustain a multi-racial society, should not be underestimated nor undermined.”
For Mr Pritam, deep conversations start with friendships, and he called for greater empathy and understanding among Singaporeans for those whose experiences are different from their own.
“A better Singapore will require effort, empathy, and understanding from all, and most importantly, a willingness to walk in the shoes of those who are different from us. Onward Singapore.”
At the end of his post the WP head lightheartedly identified himself as the “boy with the topknot, many moons ago. Glasses and all!”
He also addressed one of his friends, Mr Anwar, writing, “Khairul – Please bear with me a little more. I will make time for makan/coffee very soon!”
In the comments, his friend wrote back that he understood Mr Pritam’s current situation. The WP head, after all, just led his party to an unprecedented win of 10 seats in Parliament in the General Election earlier this month, and has been officially recognized as the Leader of the Opposition by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Another old friend teased him about his topknot during his younger days.
Others appreciated what Mr Pritam wrote concerning race issues.
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