To My Dear Fellow Singapore Chinese: Shut Up When a Minority is Talking about Race.

People of Chinese descent make up 70% of the population of Singapore. Singapore Chinese, as they are termed, enjoy syste…

People of Chinese descent make up 70% of the population of Singapore. Singapore Chinese, as they are termed, enjoy systemic, racialized and institutional privilege in the country as opposed to the countries’ minorities (primarily racialized as Indian and Malay).

“Chinese privilege”, as Sangeetha Thanapal has named it, functions very similarly to white privilege in the United States and Europe. To use Peggy McClintock’s notion of white privilege and the invisible knapsack, Chinese privilege functions like an “invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious. [Chinese] privilege is like an invisible weightless backpack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.” As a Singapore Chinese person, when I am in Singapore, I never need to think twice about whether my race/ethnicity is represented on mainstream media, whether my languages are spoken, whether my religions are allowed to exist, whether I can catch a taxi. All these things are little aspects of Chinese privilege which is very similar to how white privilege functions. You can find out more about the concept of white privilege here.

Despite Chinese privilege in Singapore being very real, there is little or no recognition of this concept within the national public sphere and discussions of race. Attempts by minorities such as Thanapal to name this privilege often receive hostile attack from Singapore Chinese, who employ defensive mechanisms similar to deniers of white privilege—to name privilege is divisive, to name privilege is not a solution, to name privilege is rude, to name privilege is racist. In a stroke of unfunny irony, what happens then is that minorities who call out Chinese racism are then termed racist by their aggressors.

This is very sad because Singapore Chinese themselves often complain how they are victims of racism themselves, particularly when they visit Western countries. They complain about being complimented on their command of English (don’t these people know we were colonized by the English?!), complain about being treated as second-class citizens while abroad. However, they are in complete denial of how they take on the very role of what they claim to be victim of at home. In other words, they complain about racist treatment while overseas while being racist towards minorities in Singapore.

So if you are a Singapore Chinese person—and I am a Singapore Chinese person myself—if someone who is not white or not Chinese starts talking about race, you should really think about doing the following things.

1. Shut up and listen. Because of your privilege, the speaker will be saying a lot of things that are foreign to your experience. But that you don’t think they are “true” doesn’t mean that they are untrue, it’s rather than your privilege shields you from seeing these things.

2. Stop asking them to justify their thoughts and for facts, statistics, data, argument. It’s not the job of marginalized people to educate you. Undertake your own education.

3. Your point of view is not important. If someone is speaking about race in Singapore who is neither white nor Chinese, their stories are not told as frequently as yours. So stop making their narratives about you and what you think. This is not your party.

4. It’s also not up for you to decide whether the person speaking is “right” or “wrong.” That you think your opinion is important is already indicative of how much privilege you have, and how ignorant you are of it.

5. Because you experience racism yourself in other locations, this should not inure you to your own racism at home, but rather, encourage you to have more *empathy* for those who are more marginalized than you are.

6. EDITED TO ADD. If you want to help, next time someone asks you for a perspective on race, ask a minority who studies racial dynamics. That means asking people like Thanapal to speak rather than a Singapore Chinese like me.

Malays the earliest to practice farming in the Sundaland

Research by archaeologists showed the Malays were the first farmers who cultivated rice and domesticated livestock in the Sunda continent, a massive sunken peninsula that today formed the Java Sea, Malacca and Sunda straits, and the islands between them.

The President of the Archaeological Institute of Malaysia (IAAM) Prof Emeritus Dato’ Dr Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abdul Rahman said this occurred between 10,000 to 14,000 years ago.

Opening the seminar on “The Origins of The Malays and Their Kingdoms In Southeast Asia”, organised by the Institure of Malay World and Civilization (ATMA) at the National University of Malaysia (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)) on April 15, Prof Nik Hassan said the race known as Malay-Polyenesians founded kingdoms that initially borrowed Indian culture. Read more.

Dr M: Malays are not Migrants like Chinese, Indian

Friday, 04 March 2011

Written by  Mahathir Mohamad

Malays are Malays and it is mischievous to suggest that when asked about their race they would say they are Bugis or Javanese. It is only if they are asked where their ancestors came from that they would say Celebes or Java. Otherwise they are just Malays.

If you ask me I would reply that I am a Malay. I would not say I am a Malay or Malaysian of ethnic Indian origin. My mother tongue and home language is Malay, my culture and tradition is Malay and I am a Muslim. The constitution defines a Malay as a person who habitually speaks Malay, practices Malay custom and tradition and is a Muslim.

Was I rewriting history when I said that Peninsular Malaysia is historically Semenanjung Tanah Melayu? If Mr Gan Ping Sieu (MCA Vice President) cares to read the history of this peninsular, he would know that officially the Malayan Union was replaced by Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. The English name “Federation of Malaya” was not official. I ought to know because I lived through this period.

But when the federation was enlarged to include Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak, the Malays, led by the Tunku agreed to the name “Malaysia” for the enlarged federation. Historically therefore the Malays agreed to the renaming of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. But historically the peninsular was Tanah Melayu, made up of Malay States ruled by their rulers, the Malay Sultans.  All agreements with the British were made by the Malay Sultans of the Malay States of the Peninsular. Malaya or Malaysia never entered into agreements with the British simply because they did not exist as sovereign states.

These are the facts of history. I was speaking about the origins of Malaysia. Can we say the origin of Malaysia was Malaysia. Historically there was no Malaysia.

I talked about this in response to certain people who claim that the Malays are as much immigrants as the Chinese and Indians.

I am Malay, not ‘Mamak’ 

Some Malays are obviously descended from people who came to the Malay Peninsular from the Indonesian islands, India and the Arabian Peninsular.

Having come here they were assimilated after they identified themselves completely with the Malays by adopting the Malay language, their customs and traditions and by being Muslims.

This is a common phenomenon. In America, Australia, Latin America, the later immigrants accepted the languages of their adopted country as their mother tongue as well as the culture.

After doing this they no longer think of themselves as being of their original country. They are Americans, Australians and Argentinians period. We don’t hear them claiming to be German Americans, Portuguese Australians or Italian Argentinians, even though they or their ancestors came from these countries.

Malays are Malays and it is mischievous to suggest that when asked about their race they would say they are Bugis or Javanese. It is only if they are asked where their ancestors came from that they would say Celebes or Java. Otherwise they are just Malays.

If you ask me I would reply that I am a Malay. I would not say I am a Malay or Malaysian of ethnic Indian origin. My mother tongue and home language is Malay, my culture and tradition is Malay and I am a Muslim. The constitution defines a Malay as a person who habitually speaks Malay, practices Malay custom and tradition and is a Muslim.

However, I am told that IC cards in Singapore ignore Malays and state that the person is Bugis or Javanese. The intention is clear; to kill the Malay identity and create the impression that they are foreign immigrants.

It’s the Chinese who are racist 

Malays are caught in a dilemma. When challenged by the opposition on any racial issue, they are unable to respond because if they do then they would be accused of being racist even by members of the Barisan Nasional. When they do not reply then UMNO in particular would lose Malay support for not defending them. This will lead to UMNO being rejected by them. The Chinese have openly declared that they will not support Barisan Nasional.

Without Malay support and deprived of Chinese support UMNO would lose. Barisan Nasional would also lose.

Preventing Malays from defending themselves is not much different from supporting the opposition. When I rebut the anti-Malay racism of the opposition I am only trying to ensure that at least the Malays would support Barisan Nasional. I am no racist. Those who support racist statements by the opposition are the real racists.

For almost 52 years the Alliance and Barisan Nasional coalitions had worked well together. The prosperity that we enjoy during those years is the result of inter-racial cooperation through the Barisan Nasional.

In multiracial Malaysia no one can have everything that they consider they are entitled to - neither the Malays, nor the Chinese nor the Indians nor the different tribal groups in Sabah and Sarawak. The moment anyone demands that he be given everything that he thinks he is entitled to then there can be no inter-racial cooperation. Without inter-racial cooperation this country would go to the dogs.

We have read the fable of the thief who shouted “thief”! The racists are the same. They shout racist at others to distract from their own racism.

- Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003

“What’s the most special thing you’ve done for each other?”
“I gave my heart to her! So cheesy right?”
“Oh god.. no, but what I like most about him is the fact that he understands my background and where I come from. I’m half-malay, for example, and there’s no way I’d be wearing this outfit. But there are parts of my culture which I like and choose to go by, and others which I don’t. And it’s just refreshing to have someone understand that - why you’re doing what you’re doing, and everything else that goes with it.”

Malays’ attitude towards Palestinians: those poor souls. Ill do whatever I can to help

Malays’ attitude towards Rohingyas: they’re going to live here??! But what about us?? They’re gonna steal all our jobs :((

Can’t you see the hypocrisy?

anonymous asked:

Would it be right to compare the oppression of blacks by whites the same as say, Indians by Chinese or Chinese by Malay?

No, only because the oppression of Indians by Chinese or Chinese by Malay would have its totally unique dynamic- it’s in a different context, between two completely different ethnic groups and with a different history behind it. In the context of Southeast Asia, the Chinese-Malay thing for example, doesn’t have a history where one group was held in slavery by another. Not to mention the Chinese exist in a strange position in a lot of Southeast Asian countries- we’re a minority but often disproportionately own businesses and capital. In the 1920s, the Thai King pretty much called us “Jews of the East” which was meant to reflect that dynamic (Of course, we do exist very differently from Jewish people in that we have a hugeass “mother country” whose existence is not ever endangered.). So…complex situation here compared to black people like black Americans vis a vis white Americans. Because Chinese in Asia very often have socio-economic power, but at the same time, as a minority group, do not have majority power and are therefore vulnerable to discrimination by the majority group.

While they can be compared in the sense that they are forms of racism and oppression, we definitely would be distorting the dynamics if we were to transpose the dynamics of US race relations or European colonialism over Africans on it.

So today, it was raining cats and dogs and other assorted felines and canines and what not when I was on my way home.

I stood at the shelter before the traffic light, literally shivering because the goddamn rain was killing me. And so I stood there for 15 minutes like an idiot. Then, just out of a blue, a random Malay woman appeared and offered to cross the road with me by sharing her umbrella. So I did, and I thanked her afterwards.

Later, when I reached the second traffic light, I had to stone again, because it was raining even more heavily and this time I had to cross an entire stretch of road. Just then, the same person appeared and helped me across again. I noticed that she deliberately tilted the umbrella such that I would be hardly wet at all; needless to say, she herself got incredibly drenched.

It’s not a big thing, but I noticed that, throughout the entire 15 minutes that I waited, not one single Chinese spared me a second glance. Hordes of Chinese ‘gentlemen’ passed by me with their humongous unbrellas (the umbrellas could have easily provided shelter for an army), pretending that I was not frozen and not drenched.

Well, friends, so much for all the comments on how 'Malays are gangsters’ and 'all the delinquents are just inconsiderate Malay teens’ and how 'they only know how to waste their life away and nothing else’.

This post isn’t about my trip back home. It isn’t even about the Singaporean Chinese and Malays (okay, not per se); it’s about racism, and about not subscribing to stupid prejudices. I know it’s hardly a big deal, but I would just like to use this (small) example to point out that it is stupid to label certain groups of people with undesireable traits just because it makes you feel better, or more superior. 'That’s the problem with (our) generation; we’re obsessed with labels’. I’ve come across quite a few abominable labels of late:

'All Filipinos are stupid.’ This is the most ridiculous one I’ve come across so far. I myself know Filipino friends with crushing intelligence and great intellectual capacity.

'All scholars are losers.’ Again, ridiculous.

Also a plethora of racist Indian jokes. I’ll probably get arrested by SPF if I post them up here…

…& quite a few others. But I won’t expound on it any further.

Of course, I’m not asserting that 'all Malays are kind hearted and nice and socially responsible’, because that would be as absurd as claiming that they are all evil and irresponsible. But in every group there will be people who are essentially nice, and people who are essentially not. It’s just not your job to go around labelling them.

A side note: just in case people misunderstand: discrimination is kept minimal in Singapore; we rarely, if ever, outrightly gossip about people of other racial groups. But again, there will inevitably (let’s be real; this is a multi-racial society) be racist jokes (you really won’t believe the Indian ones) and disparging remarks about people of another race.

Question: Why No Malay Muslim talents Among your mentioned talents to show, Mr Lee Kuan Yew?

That vocal claim also showed up Lee Kuan Yew and the government’s systematic displacement and side casting of any potential Malay Muslim Talents who are part of the four main racial ethnic groups of Singapore to date.

In the first place, the current government’s pro foreign talent immigration clearly does take in any Malay Muslim Talent from any of the neighbouring countries nor has plans for that – why nothing to show or claim upon?

Instead as Lee Kuan Yew stated, only multi “Talents” from the best in India, china and rest of Caucasian world (either USA, Europe Or Anywhere).

Of course there are the Philippine Talents who are another strong pool but are not equated on the same level as the China/India immigrant talents by LKY’s assessment as a natural bias putting down them as more not on the same standards as his preferred Talents.

LKY’s continuous writings and public rants as Malay Muslims “not integrated” in his famous bigoted story about Malays not sharing last grain of rice with their own than a Chinese neighbour has historically shown up his racially bias undertones towards the Malays. Many Singaporeans have rejected his racist nonsense.

The plan laid out in the 6.9 million White Paper which most Singaporeans have rejected, can only shrink the Malay Muslim population further since Mr Lee Kuan Yew only wants “bright Indians, bright Chinese, bright Caucasians” in his speech.

Mr Lee, you may not know it but the opposite is slowly happening – Singaporeans are gradually losing confidence in the country especially with your government’s population plan to flood Singapore with even more “foreign talents” and selective ethnic talent development.

- Mohamed Kassim


“Tujuh golongan yang akan mendapat naungan Allah pada hari yang tidak ada naungan kecuali naungan-Nya (iaitu pada Hari Akhirat). (Salah satunya ialah) seorang lelaki yang hatinya sentiasa terpaut pada masjid.”


(Bukhari & Muslim)