Nas Daily commends Singapore for its lack of segregation by virtue of its HDB housing


In a video posted on Friday (15 Jun), Nas Daily commended Singapore for its lack of segregation by virtue of its HDB housing.

In the video, Nas shared that he grew up not having a balanced view on diversity due to segregation in his country (Israel).

He noted that segregation is a problem in every country. Case in point, looking at London, “despite being one of the most diverse cities in the world, the different races live separately,” said Nas.

“In the US, entire neighbourhoods are dominated with a particular ethnicity,” he added.

Later on, he noted that segregation can be fixed, citing Singapore as an ideal example.

He said, “Just look at places like Singapore. They have a diverse population of Malays, Chinese, and Indians. And 81% of them live together in public housing. Out of every 100 apartment, there are about 74 Chinese families, 13 Indian families, and 13 Malay families. So, it is impossible to have only 100% of any race in a public housing. This isn’t just luck, this is the law.”

Nas then continued to say, “And if it worked in Singapore, then I’m pretty sure that it can work somewhere else – in your country and in my country. Governments need to do whatever it takes to encourage people of different races to live together. And if they don’t do it, then we should.”

However, an expat who has been living in Singapore for 20 years commented on Nas’ post, taking issue with what Nas is saying in the video. The expat, who goes by the name Bianca Polak, suggests that the CMIO (Chinese, Malay, Indian, Others) is a racist construct.

“It is a big problem for some of my friends who are of a minority race and/or mixed race. They can buy only certain flats, they can resell only to those of the same (minority) race,” she added.

She went on to speak about the issue of “mother tongue” before saying, “Yes Singapore is integrated and mixed – but why still holding on to the racial segregation? A lot of my Singaporean friends think this is dated too.”

She later concluded with, “You might want to stay in a HDB flat here in Singapore for a while and truly experience life in the heartlands to appreciate that it’s way more complicated here than what appears on the surface.”

In fact, Prof Daniel Goh spoke about the CMIO construct back in 2016 during a presentation at the Projector in Singapore – which aligns with Ms Polak’s comment. In his speech, he pointed out that the CMIO is a construct applied by the British colonists to divide the population and strengthen their rule.

He also highlighted that it is a problem for the government to enforce it in this era, given that more and more families are of mixed races. As reported by Straits Times last year, 22.1% of marriages in Singapore in the year 2017 were between people of different races, a significant increase from the 16.4% in 2007.

Ultimately, taking the words of Ms Polak and Prof Daniel Goh’s into account, how exactly would the HDB racial restriction work – based on the husband or wife’s race?

Dear, Nas, you begin your video saying that you hope viewers would be angry after watching it, well, no doubt there will be Singaporeans who are angry right now.