Monday, September 19, 2005

Racial Harmony

In light of the Sedition incident involving the two bloggers, the racial harmony, and the freedom of speech on the internet in Singapore has come under intense scrutiny and analysis, by everyone from the SPH reporters (case study in irony) to bloggers. The point is clear: the gahmen is watching. [But this is a post for another day]

It seems that all those years of cramming racial harmony and national educational down the throats of those two young boys have been wasted. But we knew that, didn’t we?

It is agreed by practically everyone who has taken a good look at our society: racial harmony is rather superficial in Singapore. It extends to giving half-days off to Indian students on Deepavali Eves, and making sure you pronounce their names correctly. It extends to wishing Malays “Hari Raya Puasa”, without the slightest understanding of what it means.

Today, I took a box of mooncakes to school to share with my classmates. I had three boxes which my father received from various companies as goodwill gifts – no way I’d be able to finish them.

As I sat there, at the canteen table, watching my Chinese classmate cut the mooncakes, it really struck me this was what racial harmony was. As she distributed the quarter cylinders to other Chinese people, their amazed thank yous with a glance at the colour of my skin, were music to my ears.

The funny thing was: none of us, me, and everyone who feasted on the mooncake quarters, were Singaporean.