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The first series of racial riot between the Chinese and Malays took place on the 21 July 1964 where it was marked as Racial Harmony day. This riot occurred during the procession of celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. The second series of racial riot broke out when A Malay trishaw was found dead at Geylang Serai. Since then, Singapore stressed on the importance of racial harmony to fellow citizens. Although our garden city advocates racial harmony, racism is still an issue in the society.
Racism is the discrimination towards someone of a different race. One may discriminate against the other person due to the difference of race, religion, and nationality. Racism can happen everywhere. It can happen in school, work, public and on the internet. Racism can cause unhappiness in people making them feel worthless, worst comes to worst they end up with depressions, stress or even suicidal.
National University of Singapore (NUS) business student shared her experience as an Indian
Chandralekha, 23-year-old wrote down the discriminations she went through because of her race. One incident she shared happened when she went to get a free notebook and the staff told her that only business students can get it. She told the staff that she is a business student, but the staff did not believe her. He told her to present her matriculation card. When the staff saw her taking it out, he stopped her and chuckled. The staff tried to lighten up the atmosphere by saying he is a racist and laughed. The staff was being racist thinking that an Indian cannot get into business.
Head of Baking Department made racist comments to job interviewee
Sarah Carmariah posted on her Facebook page about the job interview she had with PrimaDeli. Sarah loves baking and wants to pursue a baking career. She went to apply a baking position in PrimaDeli. However, she was discriminated being a Malay. The department head was discriminating Sarah’s race, saying that њMalays cannot make it. He was also contemptuous with the way she iced the cake. PrimaDeli responded that the staff behavior is viewed seriously, and he have been fired.
MediaCorp actress’s racist joke
Sharon Au was the emcee for the SEA Games in 2015. A journalist called out for Sharon Au for making a racist joke. He stated that Sharon Au went to an Indian girl during the audience interaction segment. The Indian girl did not perform as told. Sharon Au asked the girl њWhat (Vat) happen?ќ mimicking with a strong Indian accent with her head shaking from right to left. The journalist also mentioned that Sharon Au tease the girl’s name. After it happened she realized how insensitive she was. Although the joke was said to entertain the audience, she offended many Indian and nationality with an accent.
Assistance Director of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) sacked for racist comment on social media
Assistance Director Ms. Amy Cheong made headlines after losing her job for posting a racist remark on Malay Weddings on 7 October 2012. Her post includes her complains about the duration of the wedding and ridiculed about the wedding that is held under a void deck. The post then circulated on the Internet and went viral. Lionel Jerome de Souza, secretary of Hougang’s Inter-Racial and Confidence Circle (IRCC) have reported her to the police as he thinks that it should be taken care of seriously as many Malay Singaporeans are offended. The following Monday, Ms. Amy Cheong lost her high positioned job as NTUC has fired her. Although Ms. Amy Cheong is remorseful about her action and apologized on multiple social media platforms, what is done cannot be undone.
Humans always criticize and discriminate without knowing the consequences they caused. Research shows that racism can cause mental illness such as stress, anxiety and depression. When one is discriminated by their race, religion and nationality all sorts of negative emotions comes to them. They will feel small and worthless. They get stress as they always remember those negative remarks made on them and start to worry excessively. They get anxiety as they fear how people view them after the racist remarks. They get depression because they are stuck in negative thoughts and feel helpless. They lack motivation, feeling depressed. All these mental illness leads to suicidal. Mental illness is the highest factor leading to suicide.
What did Singapore do to tackle racism?
Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles (IRCCs) is a platform form on 3 March 2002. This platform is to encourage racial and religious harmony. They organize plenty of activity like talks, roadshows and dialogues so that people of different race and religion would come together as one. An example is Inaugural IRCC that was held at Heartland mall, a roadshow that includes many fun-filled activities like cultural performance, traditional games and traditional food tasting.
Schools across the nation celebrates racial harmony day on every 21 July, the day when the racial riot broke out. During the celebration, students will learn the different cultures and heritage to have a better understanding and the importance of racial harmony. Students are encouraged to wear other culture’s costume.
Everybody has a part to play to stop racism. It all takes small little actions. We need to help each other out. When we see somebody being discriminated or mistreated, speak out. Educate them, explain to them that everyone should be treated as humans, not as our race, religion or nationality. They need to know that it is not okay to discriminate someone.
We also need to stop being a racist, making racist jokes as we need to be more sensitive. View the world with a greater mind and heart. Everyone has feelings. We should no longer hurt anyone with our casual jokes and judgmental minds.
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