I’m a Chinese Singaporean, which means that while I’m in Singapore, I have not encountered racism, and will never experience it.
In the past couple of weeks, some racists have been caught on video:
- Tan Boon Lee, a lecturer at the school I went to, confronted an interracial couple with some harmful stereotypes, as well as being an Islamophobe
- A Chinese woman banged on a gong to cause distress during her Hindu neighbor’s prayer ritual
- Yet another Chinese influencer used the trauma of the hurtful recording to create content for the sole purpose of entertainment
- So so so many accounts being documented on the #CALLITOUTSG tag
The thing is, we know these aren’t isolated incidents. For every instance caught on camera, there are hundreds and thousands more of them.
Last year, when the Black Lives Matter movement went global, there was a surge of activist initiatives, including here in Singapore. There were also plenty of people who brushed it off by saying that this “doesn’t happen here”.
Unfortunately, we can see that the reality can’t be further from the statement.
“Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself.”— Ijeoma Oluo
As an ally, here’s what I think is the bare minimum of what we should do:
- Listen: Don’t assume that your lived experience (especially as the majority race) is the same for everyone else
- Call out: Don’t let acts of racism slide when you see them, even if — especially if — it’s an uncomfortable discussion
- Learn: And don’t expect your friends or strangers on the internet to educate you. They don’t need that additional burden
- Correct: Look out for micro-aggressions in the way you think and behave. Systemic and institutionalized racism manifest in ways that you might never have realized was discriminatory
Of course, in no way is that an exhaustive list.
For more resources, check Race Relations in Singapore out. Let’s all be better. 💝