A Malay man just wanted to enjoy Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Instead, he became a victim of racism:
Sani’s post has since gone quite viral. Within 14 hours of it being posted, it had garnered over 5,700 likes and 2,288 shares. Judging from the Facebook post, Sani demonstrated incredible restraint and merely told the man and his son off. He then moved to sit somewhere else.
How is such a thing possible in Singapore? Whatever happened to our much celebrated racial and religious harmony? Why would the child be averse to sitting next to Malay people? where did he learn that? What are the parents teaching or not teaching this child? What has this kid’s school been doing? It has certainly failed in its efforts in character and citizenship education.
I think this is unacceptable. But I can also understand why it may happen. A lot of us Singaporean Chinese may go through our lives without having many, if any, non-Chinese friends. I was in a SAP secondary school and then went to a JC that was disproportionately Chinese. I could count the number of non-Chinese friends I had then on one hand.
I was fortunate. Later on in life, I got to know more non-Chinese friends of different races. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to visit a mosque during prayer time. When I ran into trouble some years ago, the first person to reach out to me was a non-Chinese.
As Singaporean Chinese, I think we have a duty to go out of our way to learn about other cultures and races. We have a duty to go out of our way to make friends with non-Chinese. We have to go out of our way to make the non-Chinese feel that they are as much a part of Singapore as we are. Because this is home. To ALL of us.
Thankfully, it seems that many Chinese who have read Sani’s post have commented in support of Sani. Many of the comments have called for “that Chinese guy” to apologise to Sani (I wonder whether he did… or did he think there was nothing wrong with what his kid said?).
Sani, I don’t know you. But I really respect your restraint and temperance. I think it must have come from your deep understanding and daily practice of Islam. Thanks for showing us what it means to be a better person. To all other Malay friends, or indeed, to all other non-Chinese people, regardless of the idiotic thing this kid said, I will sit next to you.