I observed much passive racism today here in Singapore today. Taking the subway home I encountered a number of people in and around the stations collecting money for relief efforts to help those affected by the recent earthquake in China. Nothing particularly wrong with this… except that 100% of those collecting money were ethnic Chinese, Singaporean citizens no doubt but ethnic Chinese. The racism come in when I think back to a few weeks ago and the now conspicuous absence of anyone at subway stations collecting money for relief efforts to help those affected by cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Maybe there were some, but not many, not like now. It’s because the victims of Nargis are not ethnic Chinese. And that, is racism, passive racism, but still; racism. It disgusts me.
This, sadly, is all to common for Singapore and most of the diaspora Chinese in Southeast Asia as I understand it. I hope that I can educate this out of my child as he or she grows up here in Singapore.
As a side note; I did not give any money to these efforts. I never do. I prefer instead to give my money before the disaster to recognized and known organizations that will be there as soon as the disaster strikes, no matter were, no matter who is affected. I have reoccurring monthly contributions to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies [ifrc.org] and Oxfam International [oxfam.co.uk]. A better way to help all those in need I think. It makes me feel like I am part, a small part, of the solution all the time.