While living in Singapore, some of you may have realised how different races and religions can live together peacefully. It is common to see several different places of worship located near each other, people enjoying a diverse range of cuisines, and celebrating a variety of religious holidays together! While racism is still a current social issue in Singapore, we should take pride in how far we have come since the days of the 1964 racial riots.
Most Singaporeans would have learned about the racial riots that happened in 1964. The riots resulted in the deaths of 23 people and at least 400 people sustained injuries. Often considered to be one of the worst riots to happen in post-war Singapore, this incident shaped many of Singapore’s racial and religious policies for years to come. The Sedition Act and the Ethnic Integration Policy for HDB are two such examples.
Why We Should Be Proud
So, how have these policies shaped Singapore society? It seems like it has had a positive impact and created a truly multicultural and multi-racial place! Through our online surveys, our community at Happydot.sg has shown that:
98% think that racial harmony is very important
96% believed that celebrating major ethnic festivals are important
25% think that unity in racial and religious diversity is a key part of our Singaporean identity
Why We Should Still Be Sensitive
It is good to be happy about how much we have progressed as a nation. However, if current events happening in the world are any indication, we should continue paying attention to race issues here. While there is much to celebrate about our incredible diversity, we still have some areas for improvement. For example, one of our quick polls revealed that 48% of respondents felt that they have been treated differently because of their race. This shows that racism is an ongoing social issue in Singapore and that Singaporeans will have to keep working towards racial harmony.
As Singapore continues to become a more racially and religiously diverse country, there are 2 effective methods that we can use to ensure that harmony is maintained here. They are through educating future generations and having conversations with our friends and family.
In the area of education, while racial and religious acceptance is taught in Singapore schools through the National Education syllabus, it should also continue at home! Parents can discuss with their children about our amazing racial and religious diversity. What better way to do that than through Singaporeans’ favourite pastime of eating? As your family enjoys the variety of cuisines we have in Singapore, let them know that it is because of our racial diversity that we can do so! In this way, future generations will grow up with values of acceptance and be thankful for our multicultural society.
Secondly, having conversations about race and religion with our family and friends will help us have a deeper appreciation of our diversity. These conversations can range from understanding the meaning behind different religious festivals to learning about how the different races live in Singapore. This will also help to create stronger bonds with people of different races! Further, you can also take part in online surveys about race and religion. Your opinions will help in understanding race relations in Singapore and even provide feedback on which areas we can improve on.
As we celebrate our racial and religious diversity, let’s continue to work towards achieving harmony and acceptance for everyone in Singapore!
Want to share your opinions on emerging and current social issues in Singapore? Join the HappyDot.sg community where you can answer surveys and quick polls about such topics!