Singapore is by far the worst example of a homogeneous country.
Our common identity is the exact opposite: a multi-cultural melting pot, united by our love for food, travel, showing off and complaining about the government (don’t bluff).
As melting pots go, sometimes things can get very heated up and cause huge friction between people with polar opposite opinions, but I want to show you how the reverse can also happen because some Singaporeans are fully embracing of the rojak nation we are.
We’ve been grappling with 4 identity issues for over 50 years now. Even before we completely put these issues to rest, more have arisen as we become more multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-faceted.
Remember when there was a mini uproar over Borders bookstore banning the use of languages other than English?
Yet the exposure to multiple languages present in Singapore made it possible for Singaporean Nuradillah Zakbah to mediate a misunderstanding between Chinese tourists and an African American tourist using her “best broken Mandarin” skills she picked up from watching Channel 8 dramas and from friends growing up.
Chinese privilege is a term that has wormed its way back into Singaporeans’ social vocabulary in 2016 after changes to the Elected Presidency which caused quite a bit of murmurs of tokenism, racism and lack of meritocracy.
But Chinese privilege is a fact we cannot deny exists, as pointed out by minorities here, here, here, here and here.
Regardless of race, there are inspiring stories of Singaporeans crossing the racial divide to unite over friendship, community values and in times of need.