On Racism

Recently the Amy Cheong thing has been all around the news and net, which I don't even understand why. Yes, I do agree that her words were a little insensitive for her position in NTUC, but I don't actually think she meant it in that way. And btw, she is human too.

Take for example today I see a person on the bus who did not give up the seat to someone in need. I could have said;

That person is so bad.

Or maybe;

That man / woman / girl / boy is so bad.

Or how about;

That (insert race here) is so bad.

So tell me why. Why is the second sentence not a discrimination against a gender type, but the third statement a racist remark? Both just described the person I saw using one word. It's just a different kind of descriptor, no? Unless it's a really racist and prejudiced and degrading kind of word that was placed into the third sentence, I don't see why a neutral noun should be judged so heavily. I mean, I am a Chinese and I go around saying I have Malay friends and I have Indian friends and I have angmoh friends too. So am I discriminating? In fact, angmoh is supposed to be a demeaning term as well. So why is that angmoh my friend? Anw, trust me, I could also replace man / woman / girl / boy with some bad mean words, but still no one will take it as hard as a neutral race word.

I don't think Singapore lives in racial harmony. Harmony entails understanding and embracing each other's differences. I think we live in peace, a peace stemming from ignorance of one another. So ignorant that we are afraid to talk openly about our differences, and every other word we say about another race suddenly becomes a sweeping statement that should be caught for discriminating and breaking the peace. Face it, first impressions count. And because we know so little about each other, we can only judge. We are treading on thin lines which may crack anytime.

Actually, if we can share our stereotypes about a race with a person from the race itself and let them put things into perspective for us, I think we can achieve racial harmony. The only problem is that we fear that once we say something, it will automatically be assumed to be racist. Thus no one shares and no one dares to speak up. And these stereotypes will never be purged from society.

About the harmony idea, most couples live in harmony with each other. They know each orher's shortcomings but they don't mind it. If one of them has an extra-marital affair, then they are simply living in peace because the other one is ignorant. Imagine what would happen if the poor faithful other-half ever finds out. I don't think this was a very apt analogy, but generally that's what I'm trying to say about peace and harmony anw.

One thing I have learnt from this, I can truly trust in the efficiency of our government. They got rid of her within the day she posted the {racist} status O.O

I long for the day Singaporeans dare to speak with sensitivity and without fear. But that has to begin with the different races willing to share and speak frankly about stereotypes and misconceptions.