Racial intolerance goes against our founding values as a nation, and has no place in our society, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said. The recent spate of racist incidents go against what we stand for in Singapore, he said.
In recent days, a man allegedly kicked a 55-year-old Indian Singaporean woman in her chest and shouted a racial slur at her for not wearing her mask while brisk walking. The man had been arrested. A Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer was videoed harrassing a mixed race couple. The polytechnic has since terminated the services of the senior lecturer.
Our multi-racialism is not a concept, Mr Chan said. It is our daily lived reality and source of pride. “It is a constant work-in-progress which we never take for granted, nor will we ever give up,” he emphasized.
“Most of us have grown up living in close proximity with neighbours of different races. We study and work side by side with classmates and colleagues of various ethnicities, and have forged close friendships and familial ties. In national service, we pledge to defend Singapore and fellow Singaporeans regardless of background,” Mr Chan said.
We are a people with diverse roots, but what distinguishes us is a set of forward-looking shared values, he added.
Mr Chan said the unprecedented challenges brought on by COVID-19 inevitably lead to stresses and strains.
“These are tough times but more than ever, we need to stand united in meeting these challenges. The challenges do not define us. But how we rise to the challenges will define us.” Minister Chan firmly believes that the challenges can bring out the best in us.
“Racial intolerance goes against our founding values as a nation, and has no place in our society. Every one of us – parents, educators, individuals – play a part in safeguarding the treasured and hard-earned legacy of racial harmony. Our diversity has always been our strength, and we must never let it become our Achilles’ Heel,” Mr Chan said.
“Let us continue to treat one another with care and respect, regardless of race, language or religion,” he added.