Racism in Singapore: Are you unknowingly a racist?

Racism in Singapore: Are you unknowingly a racist?

Dear mums and dads, have you been guilty of unknowingly practising racism in Singapore? Let's do a quick test!

So, we recently saw this CNA video which subtly implies racism in Singapore. It’s about “What happens when a young Singaporean with no Chinese friends – after being teased in school – spends 3 days with the Ang family – whose children think Indians are “scary”?” 

Yes, you heard us right.

From what we make of this video,

  • This young Singaporean mum from a minority race has never had ANY Chinese friends.
  • As part of a ‘social experiment’ she spends 3 days with the Ang family.
  • The ‘Ang’ children are curious about this ‘different’ guest, and the little red dot on her forehead. The boy confesses that he always thought Indians were “scary”!

The first question that crops up in our minds after watching this video is, “What?! C’mon, this does NOT happen in Singapore?!” Needless to say, we at theAsianparent were quite confused and a bit concerned about this video that suggests racism in Singapore. 

Singaporeans are known for their cross-religious, cross-ethnic camaraderie. It’s what makes our Little Red Dot so beautiful and special. 

Racism In Singapore: A Fragmented Society?

So, how is it possible that anyone who grew up in Singapore moved around in society completely closed to those outside their race or religion?

As Roshni Mahtani, Founder & CEO of theAsianparent put it so well in her Facebook post, “How in the world do you live in Singapore and have no friends of a different race? I have friends of all shape, size, colour and gender!”

“If this is indeed common, we have a huge problem on our hands. Wasn’t the HDB quota system set up for this purpose, so people would have Neighbours of all race and religion?”

(And yes, Roshni IS a Singaporean :))

In fact, these comments on her Facebook post do reveal some unpleasant truths about racism in Singapore:

“For many Singaporeans this is a true reflection- With school segregation based on language etc many don’t have real friends of other cultures. Indians and Malays may also not socialise as much for fear of being discriminated against…”

“When I searched for an apartment to rent, the agent always asked: are you Indian ? – because I have an Indian ( Sanskrit) name. I was like: what does THAT have to do with anything!”

And the list goes on…


We have to think about the Next Generation

If what we see in this video is indeed true, is THIS the Singapore we want our children to grow up in?

How can we make sure that our kids learn to accept, love and celebrate each other’s differences?

In Roshni’s words, “Kids are a reflection of their parents. If we want our kids to not be racist, then we ourself must embrace all races (lah!).”

racism in Singapore

We in Singapore are known for our cross-cultural heritage and should continue preserving this balance.

Let’s do a simple reality check then, and test whether we have ever been racist (albeit unintentionally)? Click on each card to see your result! 🙂


(Featured image: Screengrab CNA video)

Also READ: Do PRs and New Citizens truly belong in Singapore?

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