No Race in the Future of Singapore Race Relations

Multiculturalism - Is there enough trust? “LIVE Video”

Trust in Singapore Multi-Culturalism

Are Singaporeans ready to put aside historical CIMO (Chinese, Indian, Malay, Others) racial categories for a better united, truly cohesive and harmonious Singapore?  What would it take to create a truly multi-cultural, cosmopolitan Singapore society which demonstrates genuine respect for cultural diversity?

These were some of the questions discussed “live” by Inconvenient Questions (IQ), Singapore’s emergent conversational square on 28 October 2015.  I was on the Panel with Ho Kwon Ping, Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and Dr Nazry Bahrawi, Lecturer, SUTD. The Moderator was Viswa Sadasivan, IQ Editor-in-Chief in their University Town studio, National University of Singapore

First, my take on the issues:

Trust is the Force Multiplier in the War Against Racism and Racialism

It is the policy weapon of choice with a specific Goal in Singapore politics as well as socio-economic polices – the creation of a just and equal society regardless of race, language or religion.

The social reality of Multi-Culturalism is Cultural Diversity

We need to address the Overlapping Webs of Cultural Diversity; which is made up of Layers of Cultural Fabrics (“norms”, religions, diet, food, dressings, and various social practices, and than some). The Fabrics weaved together form the Multicultural Canvas of Singapore.

Trust measures the density or emotive strength of cohesion and resilience at specific and various parts of the Multicultural Canvas.

On the Top Surface, the Multicultural Canvas operates at the National Level where a strong demonstration of racial co-existence and harmony have existed for most of the past 50 years; surviving national economic and social crisis eg economic recessions, CPF cuts, SARS and JI.   

At the Middle of the Multicultural Canvas are the various socializing domains of Education, Defense, Housing, Employment, Business Contracting, Cultural Expression Opportunities, Family and Community Life, Medical and other Social Benefits … and where the distributions of benefits and privileges are regulated by the rules of meritocracy and equal opportunities access.  The Trust density varies in respective Domains.  Perceptions of equal opportunities differ across ethnic groups, and Meritocracy has its own peculiar path to favour those who can afford to prepare better to qualify for its award criteria.  There is as yet no final absolute consensus that the rules of meritocracy and equal opportunity access actually resulted in a more just and more equal society; especially given the widening income disparity across Singaporean society.

At the Bottom-most, the Multi-Cultural Canvas is made up of the day-to-day interaction of ordinary Singaporeans whose perceptions of relative social mobility vis-à-vis other ethnic members affects the Trust Value.  Perceptions of discrimination in employment, in job promotion opportunities, in exclusion from selecting choice HDB apartment, or from enrolment into elitist exclusively Mandarin-speaking schools only serve to undermine the Trust density, thereby weakening the Multicultural Canvas.      

The New Singapore Multicultural Canvas now includes MORE ethnic groups beyond the traditional CIMO.  New Chinese, New Indians and New Others have created “patchworks” on the Multicultural Canvas, rather than reinforcing the C, I or O.  Fault lines at the patchwork boundaries will crisscross the traditional fault lines of the CIMO, and make enhanced Trust even more challenging and daunting.

The Conversation was further distracted by referencing some who imported the concept of “Chinese Majority” privilege which I have argued in my MIKOspace Blog to be wholly inapplicable to the Singapore’s race relations.  

The immediate imperative is to create a Stronger Sense of Common Citizenship, instead of a Greater Sense of Multi-Racialism.  We need to imbue in our emergent generations a greater acceptance of Cultural Diversity instead of encouraging a deeper sense of their respective racial or ethnic identity.  We need to build a “united” Society by trusting the things that strengthen us as Singaporeans, and not on the things which potentially separate us. Remember, our cherished values of Family and Community reached “beyond race, language or religion” to overcome the national crisis of SARS, JI Terrorism and Recessions. 

Singapore Exceptionalism is in our National Resilience, our National Servicemen, our Community and our Family.  This is Our Very Own Small Red Dot, the Home of the Daring and Land of Opportunities for all.     

WATCH the Video: “Multiculturalism - Is there enough trust?”

IQ believes that the time is right to start a serious and more open – yet calibrated - discussions on this important issue. 


Nichael HENG


Anonymous said...

What's the difference between racism and racialism?

Anonymous said...

Somehow the simple minded mentality of Singaporeans resulting from drinking too much of Oracle juice think that having the rest of the world here will be better, more foreign talent regardless of race will be good, like the New York of America. This concept has turned out to be poison at the way Singapore is changing.

The CMIO formula worked and we have come so far, to become the first world. It works because of a Chinese majority that in many ways behaved like a minority and allowing the other races plenty of room to move around. The minorities built on the industrious nature and enterprising spirit of the Chinese majority and banded together to achieve what we have today.

There are two dangers to this formula. One, to add more ethnic groups to dilute the CMIO combination with every group demanding for more. Two, to dilute the Chinese majority and undermine one of the pillars of the CMIO leading to more contentious infighting and the breakup of social cohesiveness when everyone thinks he is better and deserves more of the pie.

A Chinese majority allows it to be magnanimous, to under represent its share of the pie so that other groups can have more than their shares. When this formula is changed, then competition for more would be more intense with the Chinese demanding for their rightful share when their majority is diminished.

Go imagine what it would be like if the combination is varied.

Anonymous said...

No race in the future of Singapore race relations.

Funny, why do we need a minister in charge of muslim affairs, maybe we need two in the future, like education.

Then, does it mean GRCs can be all of a single race? Well, by then no more opposition, so no need to talk about racial composition in GRCs. It is all well figured out.

But, to say that there are no race in the future of Singapore race relations is a tad too simplistic an idea.

Veritas said...

The Chinese can do away with racism, but for Indian casteist and Malay Islamofascist, ranting Chinese racist is their favorite past time.

The existence of Chinese racist is the ONLY justification to hide the failure of our minorities.

Nothing is better than stealing something, caught red-handed, then able to bash the Chinese up, just by shouting Allah hu Akbar, like what we seen in Lowyat.

Anonymous said...

Heng ah! but not for long.

Veritas said...

Basically all our minorities know they are full of shit and Chinese are good people. You look at the Malay elites and Indian successful people, the first thing they would like to do is to get a Chinese wife.

If Chinese is so bad as Malay Islamo try protray, they should marry their own tribe.

No intelligent and kind people would like their kids to be brought up full of mysterious hate against Jews, cheer when asshole ISIS lobe head off, or just accuse neighbors of racist when he himself fail the exam.

By marrying Chinese women, the kid will be brought up good like knowing the virtue of study, and not to use Allah as a way to shit on people.

Our minorites know whats wrong with them, but they cannot resist the temptation of mind orgasm in thinking how racist Chinese are and how they become loser due to Chinese racist.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Actually I was thinking of writing a piece about the future of the Tans in Central Asia. They are very progressive, embarking on a journey of modernisation, with their children learning to become scientists, engineers, doctors and not sending them to read religious scripts to become religious leaders.

The biggest of the Tans, Kazakhstan, is a modern city with all the trappings of a big modern Chinese city. I was thinking of saying New York or London, but those are jaded old cities, no comparison to the shiny and glittering cities in the desert of the Tans.

And China is pouring in the money and technology to help the Tans to rebuild their countries.

Veritas said...

The Kazak are good Sunni because they learn a little here and there from Stalin. Stalin basically kill every single one who like to rant Allah hu Akbar while taking sex slave. Any Mullah who preach death to Jews basically get his 72 virgins immediately.

The USSR want to perform that trick in Afghan. Unfortunately USA and allies like Saudi and Yemen uses the worse scumbag beadface and manage to make USSR retreat.

Anonymous said...

The central Asian tans are having a peaceful time rebuilding their countries with Chinese investments. Just make sure they don't let the Americans get back there and turn it into another war zone.

Veritas said...

Not CHinese investment as Chinese invest more in Xinjiang but still Uighur think Allah want kill Chinese.

Central Asia is good because USSR secularize them.

Anonymous said...

The Chinese need to terminate those crazy uighurs. They are silly backward people.

Anonymous said...

The PAPigs need to terminate those daft Sinkies. They are silly backward people.
October 29, 2015 4:39 p.m.

ℳatilah_$ingapura said...

Why so much hot air over nothing? Didn't you know:

There Is No Such Thing as RACE It's a fucking ILLUSION lah, but so powerful most of us think it is "real".

Thankfully, it is mostly OLD COCKS and Aunties with floppy loose cunts who are talking about "race". The millenial generation simply can't be bothered. To them race is not an issue neither is sexuality (millennials accept all sexuality, even Pansexuality).

These old farts (embarrassingly, my generation) should be willingly to open their closed minds to the FACT that many of their ideas, and basis for those ideas simply don't apply anymore.

Move with the times, or die off extinct like a dinosauraus. You choice, apeks.

Anonymous said...

Only an old fool like you is still conned to believe there is no race so that they can screw your dried ass.

Anonymous said...

One thing for sure when the Chinese go into central Asia, lots of doom and gloom in the MSM will be said about such ventures.

Already, while watching the documentary 'The new silk road', the agenda is already present and is more about the conflict between the locals and the Chinese investors, the fear of the Chinese taking over jobs that they are supposed to create with such investments, etc etc, than about the development that comes with such investments.

When Chinese boom started decades ago, the same negative sentiments were expressed by the West on every front. The idea was to pour cold water and deter the rise of China at all cost. The most recent was the establishment of the AIIB. And who were the biggest culprit of such propaganda of doom? They are not keeping quiet about this you can be sure. Behind the scene they are plotting the downfall of AIIB.

ℳatilah_$ingapura said...


See what I mean? It's a powerful ILLUSION. Most people believe that race exists. And many of them are indeed old fools.

The "young one" couldn't care less about race or sexuality. They will happily marry each other of different race and same or different sex -- non-binary, beyond our "old fashioned" male-female construct.

Get real lah. Come into the present!