Statement by Red Dot United
“We, the citizens of Singapore,
Pledge ourselves as one united people,
Regardless of race, language or religion
To build a democratic society
Based on justice and equality…”
Probably not many people can see the significance of these lines in Singapore’s pledge. We have no democracy unless we can acknowledge our racial and religious differences, rather than assume that they do not exist. This acknowledgement comes from having open and sincere conversations about our differences, rather than hiding behind ‘closed door consultations’. Only then can we achieve justice and equality for our democracy.
At Red Dot United (RDU), we have been consistent in advocating matters that affect Singapore’s minorities. Our membership base (although still fairly small) is diverse, made up of Singaporeans who are Chinese, Malays, Indians, Eurasians, as well as new citizens. Yet as part of the broader Singapore public, we accept that we have to constantly work hard to address the deep and often hidden divisiveness in our nation. That is normal. That is how nations grow. That is what RDU is committed to do.
Recent events in Parliament have made us concerned that our political leaders are only interested in talking away racism and xenophobia. We feel that their act of asking others to take a stand against racism and xenophobia is merely a display of showmanship. In most cases, it is an act that a government must undertake to calm unrest, restore peace during a crisis or represent Singapore’s values to the international community.
Such showmanship in this case, however, does little to resolve the real issues of discrimination on the ground. These issues relate to our Chinese-Malay-Indian-Others (CMIO)-based racial policies, as well as our immigration and manpower policies. These wrongful politics have often fueled anxiety among Singaporeans.
In times of scarcity, such as now when we are in the midst of a pandemic, where many local businesses are closing and large numbers of people are unemployed or under-employed, this anxiety can create an “us” versus “them” mentality and divide our society.
In these times, talk is cheap. Action on policies is paramount – action that must be informed by a true understanding of ground sentiments. Such understanding can only be attained through having an open dialogue with our minority communities.
Dialogue, not talk, is what RDU has been involved in since Day One of our formation. We have held many public forums covering diverse issues, and have reached out regularly to the residents we serve. Politics doesn’t drive us. A desire to understand motivates our actions.
RDU calls on Singaporeans who want to see a more racially aware and inclusive society to join us and work with us to make this happen.
But we also call on the Government to be transparent and accountable for its failures in its race and immigration policies, acknowledge where it has done wrong, and seek the advice of minority communities on how we can heal the divide.
Now is not the time for us to simply take a stand, but rather to stand united together – regardless of race, language or religion.