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MyQueenstown Panorama #5 - Red Lights to Racial Harmony?

By my queenstown on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 with 0 comments

A comment from a certain community leader has stirred controversy last month. Whether it is a callous remark from him or a desperate attempt by the largest newspaper publisher to drum up sales, the remark has definitely opened up a can of worms. When this MyQueenstown correspondent walked along the streets interviewing residents for their take on the topic of racial harmony in Queenstown, we are both surprised and comforted. We are surprised because many students and youths in Queenstown converse in English, instead of their mother tongue, with peers from the same racial and language group. We are comforted because our youths are respecting other racial and language groups more. After all, a nation is an imagine community with shares the same language, same culture and same historical experiences.

"According to this community leader, unlike non-Muslims, Muslims have trouble integrating into Singapore society. The Chinese and Indians socialise and intermarry easily, while Muslims feel awkward about dining with people of other religions because of the issue of halal food. This community leader opined that it would be good for Muslims to be less strict about their religious observances." -Straits Times

While there is an emotional pouring of criticisms across the island concerning these "insensitive" remarks, some forum participants feel that there is certain truth to what this community leader has said. Whatever the remarks and opinions, what do Queenstown residents think about social cohesion, especially within our ageing estate?

Tristan, a resident in Commonwealth District

Tristan, 20, thinks that racial harmony is when all races and nationalities can have free space to practice their own religion and culture. He thinks that the state of racial harmony in Singapore is satisfactory as there are no outright racial disputes or discrimination of opposing races. Personally, Tristan has many friends from other races and he is glad that there is open sharing and mixture of cultures in Singapore.

Aaron feels that tolerance is key to social cohesion

Aaron, 20, a resident living in Commonwealth Crescent, thinks that racial harmony is where there is a cohesive society in which all different races can live in harmony and peace. He thinks that education plays a huge part in shaping the mentality of Singaporeans towards the issue of racial harmony. Aaron feels that races practice high tolerance to each other in Singapore and generally they can be seen as keen to preserve the stability in Singapore.

You won't see this anywhere in the world

Promoting racial harmony should not cease at a stage of asking residents to be tolerant to other cultures and practices. By dividing the population into various racial segments is never going to assist in the process of racial harmony. While  racial division is a convenient manner of ruling the country, it is a short-sighted approach for race is another "imaginary" concept. The boundaries of race and its associated objects will shift as time passes What is more important than integrating a diverse community than removing the "race" from the identity card? 

Category: News in the Dump , panorama , recent



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