My dream for Singapore is for all Singaporeans to treat others with respect and not treat anyone differently because they have a different skin colour from us.
Racism occurs everywhere, even in schools. An example of it would be a simple remark like “Hi brownie” which refers to the colour of others’ skin. Can you imagine how hurt the receiving party must feel? Even if they do not show how they feel on the outside, it has still hurt them, whether you meant it as a joke or mean comment. You will never know how much hurt they feel, the feeling of not being accepted or self-worthlessness.
All of us are born equal, the same, so what gives us the right to judge others, to criticise them, to look down on them? It is not their choice to be born how they are, is it? No one can choose what they want to be, their skin colour, or the way they look.
The first step for us to achieve this dream is to understand and identify the issue. We should think about why we are treating them this way. Why are we so mean to them? Is it just because of how different they look from us? Or something that goes way deeper than just how they look? Identifying the issue will help us to solve the problem.
The next step is to eradicate the issue. You can start by offering a kind word to them, such as “good job!”, instead of directing mean or hurtful racist remarks at them. If being nice to them is too hard for you, then you should at least start by keeping quiet and not give racist remarks. This helps you to realise that they are not at all different from us and they do not deserve us treating them badly.
If you have offended them, the subsequent step is to apologise. If you do not want to do it in front of everyone, you can always write a note to them and give it to them discreetly. This step is very important as it shows them that you are truly sorry about all the unpleasant things you have done to them and symbolises that we are one step closer to achieving this dream.
The final step is to take the initiative and be friends with them. You can start by sitting with them during your break time, especially if they are sitting alone. Strike up a conversation with them, you will never know that they might actually make great friends and be fun to hang out with.
These are four simple steps that every Singaporean should take to achieve this dream, for all Singaporeans to treat everyone around us with kindness and not make any racist comments, just because they have a different skin colour.
Imagine a Singapore where everyone of all races are mingling together, having fun, instead of ostracizing people who are different from them. This is the kind of Singapore that I wish to live in.
This essay was submitted for the “My Singapore, My Future” essay contest organised by The Opinion Collaborative Ltd, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s nationhood.
Comments from the judges –
“Really clear, simple, direct. No one else gave such a clear path forward.”
The Monsoons Book Club is a non-profit-making association of concerned individuals interested in books and ideas relevant to the social, political and economic progress in the South East Asian. It aims to create a platform for people from all walks of life, including writers, intellectuals, artists, researchers and politicians to inform, share their thoughts, challenge conventional views; and to disseminate reports and recordings of such events to a wider audience through written and audio visual media. Monsoons Book Club is the trading name of Monsoons Book Club Limited (registered in Cardiff, UK).
About The Opinion Collaborative Ltd
The Opinion Collaborative Ltd (TOC Ltd) is a social enterprise registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority under the Companies Act. TOC Ltd is interested in the development of the online media sphere in Singapore, with the view of promoting an open and diverse media environment that values the constructive collaboration of ideas and views. It aims to do so by supporting websites that seek to enlighten readers and provide diversity of opinion, so as to ignite passion and responsibility in nation-building.