Just about a month ago, a man had been arrested for allegedly attacking three Madrasah students at the MRT station. A Chinese man, to be specific. Having left behind the racial discrimination in past riots and disagreements, many thought we were able to move forward as one in harmony. However, this social stigma still seems to be present in our society today. Despite not voicing out our true opinions, I think that we have many faces and many layers to our thoughts and countless Singaporeans are still racist- discriminating against fellow citizens of differing races and religions. Stereotypical views are still present on how certain religious rituals are too disruptive or how certain ethnic cultures are worthy of judgement. On the contrary, who are we to judge? I feel that it reflects our hypocritical nature as we belch out the pledge and promise to be inclusive. Behind the scenes, many crack racist jokes or point fingers at strange rituals that take place under a HDB block. Even silence can be deadly. We might not be speaking, but in our minds, judgemental thoughts are running wild.
The Chinese man who allegedly attacked the students was not the first one to exemplify such behaviour. We tend to think that online, we can hide behind a screen, stating our racist opinions and getting away with it. However, this is not the case. “Heather Chua”, as personified on the internet, posted racist and degrading comments online in 2014, creating a uproar on STOMP. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong eventually got wind of the matter and shared his views on maintaining social cohesion.
Personally, I think that it is possible to live in a society that is harmonious and accepting of differences. We should not lie to ourselves by saying we live united despite having different races. That might be how the outside world views us, but we know ourselves best, and addressing this matter before it gets out of hand is important. Indeed, these perpetrators might merely be the black sheep of the country, but having such a mindset will only cause us to pay little attention to the trouble that could potentially ensue with having such a social stigma.
My suggestion would be to start young. Encouraging the younger generation to make lasting friendships with people of different races and religions is a small start to making a bigger change in this society- one that is revolutionary and can bring the country to greater heights- since everyone stands together and is willing to work hand in hand.