Category: Nationally Speaking

Is Appreciation Enough?

By Phang Yeu Yeou (19A01A) and Loh Lin (19A01D)

Wait. Before you continue scrolling, we know. We know that race as a topic has already been discussed to death, in conversations and lectures and forums alike. Nonetheless, the shoulds and shouldn’ts of tackling such discourse continue to confound us, even as we turn away from it, thinking: What more is there to discuss that hasn’t already been said?

After all, 54 years on from the racial riots that left an indelible footprint in our history — in bloodshed and in policy — racism in Singapore seems by and large a thing of the past. Indeed, today people of all races coexist peaceably in classrooms, offices, and shared public spaces. Long-term governmental policies and a consistent multicultural narrative have gone a long way towards easing the hostilities and divisiveness that once defined race relations. Yet, when we reduce acts of racism to just these overt indicators, we risk turning a blind eye to the more implicit tensions that continue to underscore our interactions.

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Nationally Speaking: Race, as told by an Indian Immigrant

By Zara Karimi (18A01A)

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I remember primary school and its illustrations of Indians in social studies and health education books. I remember advertisements featuring at least one member of every race at bus stops and community centres. I remember secondary school Racial Harmony Day celebrations where my schoolmates dressed up in black t-shirts, sari fabric draped haphazardly, bindis on their foreheads. They would take pictures while doing yoga poses. I would come across their posts on Instagram, and wonder – why was it that the idea of ‘Indianness’ my peers and society held was so different from what I, an Indian, actually experienced?

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#sglitftw: Support Your Local Authors

By Joan Ang (17A01B) and Ernest Lee (17A01A)

It is a common practice in any vaguely literature-related classroom to, during introductions, go around the room and say a few things: firstly, your name, and secondly, your favourite book. There’s usually a bit of uncomfortable shuffling, and people nudging the person on their left to say something to break the silence. A few big names are then thrown out—J.K. Rowling, Haruki Murakami. At least two people say “I don’t have a favourite book,” followed immediately by nervous laughter.

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