Regardless of Race: Special Preview

After accidentally chancing upon Mr Tong's fb post, which is really quite the coincidence since I am rarely on fb, I went to watch the preview screening of the documentary Regardless of Race, which as the name suggests, talks about racism in sg.
"Regardless of Race…" is a one-hour documentary dealing with the difficult issue of race in Singapore. This groundbreaking film is a first on national television. It examines where multiracial Singapore really stands on race relations and asks some tough questions – Why are people afraid to talk about race? How colour-blind are Singaporeans? Are we secretly racist? Dr Janil Puthucheary, Chairperson of OnePeople.sg, the organisation that advocates for racial harmony in Singapore, goes on a quest to find answers to these questions. From taxi drivers to primary school children, he speaks to various Singaporeans to confront what people are NOT willing to say about race. The highlight of the programme includes a social experiment exploring the idea of racial privilege, as well as new findings from a large nation-wide survey on race.
Honestly speaking, it was a good film but not so provocative, but for a country with our kind of broadcasting laws, as well as our heightened sensitivity towards racial issues, it really is a big step forward to have this on national tv, and I hope to see more such work being done to spark the right kinds of conversation, such as the one I witnessed this evening.

Personally, the preview was not so much about the film itself, but the conversation after. That people were willing to share their experiences and thoughts about their own or other races openly and without resentment or ill-harboured intentions was amazing. For us who do not dare to talk about race on a daily basis for fear of offending, we made an effort to understand each other and critique our own society for the betterment of it. This is what nation-building should be about, although I can totally see how this would get out of hand if every single Singaporean had a chance to say something on fb or twitter or whatever platform. We are still in dangerous waters, so a controlled dialogue would be a much safer option.

So yes, I encourage everyone to watch the film on Channel News Asia on Mon, Aug 18. But even if you feel highly opinionated thereafter, please do not go around shooting your mouths off and offending people. Talk calmly, and listen to the other person too.

Finally, I just want to say this. I do not want to be Singaporean Chinese. Can I just be Singaporean? Besides the fact that I can speak Mandarin Chinese, I really do not see myself as having much in common with the chinese people from China. Also, on that line of reasoning, since I can speak english and french as well, does that make me any closer to being British or French than as I am close to being Chinese? Tonight I better understood the implications of our CMIO racial classification and why we cannot do away with it, but I still choose to be Singaporean, and that's that.