For a long time, there have been calls for the removal of the race classification in our identity card. Some believe that the presence of race in the ID is itself a racist thing, a divisive thing. We are all Singaporeans and there is no need to identify which race we are from. It just increases the awareness of our differences. Do away with it and over time we would become one people, less conscious of our different races. I am not sure if the Americans carry identity cards like us and whether there are similar documents to identify them as Africans, Hispanics, Asians, Middle Eastern, native Indians, India Indians, etc etc.
To those who are rooting for the abolishing of this racial distinction in our ID, they would not be saying the same thing after the constitutional changes on the Elected Presidency come into effect. The minorities would want to be identified as what they are. The Malays and Indians would want to be identified as such. Why?
Being a minority, they have two chances to crack at the post of EP. They could stand for election in the open category. They could also be given a second chance with higher probability in a reserved EP election once every 30 years if they did not get elected. The majority Chinese got only one chance.
What about the Eurasians? They will be most happy to be in the Others category. For in this category the chances are even higher as they are the absolute minority with relatively lesser numbers. But this could change with the influx of foreigners that may end up in this Others category.
I think children of mixed marriages would now be very pleased if their parents have chosen to put them in the Others category. Hopefully there would not be a big scramble at the ICA registry for citizens to want to switch to this Others category to improve their chances to be an EP.
And hopefully the Others category would stay and not be amended when other minorities claimed they are discriminated and want their own race to be reflected as other minority races to improve their chances and their share for a reserved election to be the EP.
Many parents of mixed marriages would now have to consider this classification very carefully and choosing a minority category or Others would be a favoured choice if they are eyeing the EP. Race category comes with its own privileges, a bit like bumiputras but in favour of the minorities. Would we be creating a different kind of 'bumiputras' in Singapore? The danger about such a change is that it is very much more difficult to remove or unwind the situation once done. A time bomb in the making.
Now you see why the race category in the ID is gaining importance? It carries a lot of rights and privileges to be an elected EP. Being classified as Chinese would become a disadvantage when this thing happens.
Looking down the road the population of classified as Others could grow at the expense of the Chinese when mixed parentages opted for Others. The Chinese majority would thus decline in numbers while Others could become an absolute majority.
Race has its advantages, especially the minorities.