In the spirit of the National Day, UNSAID Singapore conducted a social experiment designed to visually represent privilege and create awareness and understanding among participants and viewers at the Gushcloud Headquarters.
UNSAID Singapore is a team of a young and creative people committed to starting collaborative conversations via storytelling.
"Privilege is something that people don't really talk about, even with like your own friends," a participant said.
In this experiment, UNSAID invited a group of Singaporean youths aged between 21 and 26 from diverse racial, religious and family backgrounds.
The participants were asked to hold each other hands and stand in line. UNSAID then asked 35 questions to the participants who were asked to take one step forward or one step backward on privilege and disprivilege.
"As a straight Chinese senior, I think I'll end up somewhere in the front because I do have quite some privilege in this Chinese majority society. But, I think I will still be quite curious to see where I actually end up at the end of the day," one of the participants said.
While one of the minority said, "There is a lot about privilege in Singapore that is not said. It does not only have to be limited to the race but social class."
These are some of the questions of disprivilege which were asked :
- If you have ever tried to change your speech or mannerisms to gain acceptance, take one step back.
- If you have ever been rejected in a job interview because of your race/skin colour, take one step back.
- If you were bullied/discriminated in Singapore based on your country of origin, take one step back.
- If people have blamed your mistakes on your gender/ethnicity, take one step backwards.
- If you’ve ever been looked down upon for a job that you do, take one step back.If you have ever felt like there was NOT adequate or accurate representation of your racial group, sexual orientation group, gender group, in the media, take one step back.
While these are some of the privilege questions :
- If you are reasonably sure you would be hired for a job based on your ability and qualifications, take one step forward.
- If you feel comfortable being emotionally expressive/open, take one step forward.
- If you were ever offered a job because of your association with a friend or family member, take one step forward.
- If you can buy new clothes or go out to dinner whenever you want to, take one step forward.
- If you felt like you had adequate access to healthy food growing up, take one step forward.
"We are all Singaporeans. So, I expect our ending position to be the same. But as matter of fact, it differ by quite a bit," one of the participant said.
"Issues like your finances, your race and your genders still play huge parts in kind of privilege that you have in Singapore. If we can acknowledge the differences and think about how to discuss it sensitively, then I think we can make a lot of progress in the kind of social disparity that people face," a participant said.
UNSAID invited us to reflect on our own privileges as Singaporeans and the disparity in privilege that still exists in our country.
"As I was holding on to a person next to me, I was like... there was part of me that didn't want to let go. So at the part when I had to, I was like... Whoof! We should still hold on."