Let's quote Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew from the Straits Times 26 November 2004:
"Ask yourself this question: if you have a child and he brings back a boyfriend or a girlfriend of a different race, will you be delighted? I'll answer you frankly - I don't think I will. I may eventually accept it"
Why interracial relationship is something not to be delighted to? I think interracial marriage is amazing. Having so many people we know married to different races, both from family and friends really opened our eyes. Why is racial difference matters? Hello, it's the third millenium. These days, we all should be color blind by now, not anymore thinking about racial purity, or racial segregation.
I guess I just need to ask few questions.
- Why here people need to be differentiated by race?
- And here, why do I have the impression each race group does not have much clue of what the other race groups are all about (for example, the malay do not really understand chinese myths and legends and vice versa)?
- Why is racial integration not encouraged (I don't think much efforts are being spent to integrate different races, but rather, much efforts are spent to put each race group in its own separate container)?
(To know the context of the article, I cited the whole article below):
The Straits Times
Nov 26, 2004
Melting pot idea is idealistic, not realistic
Forgetting race, language, religion is 'not do-able', says MM Lee
FORGING a Singaporean identity that is free and unburdened by the distinct racial, language, religious and cultural identities of its people, is idealistic but not realistic, said Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew yesterday. Mr Lee, well-known for his view that people, by nature, prefer their own ethnic group, acknowledged that Singapore had made progress in coming together as one people.
ON PEOPLE: Singapore has made progress in coming together as one people, said MM Lee. However, it will take a few more generations before the people can 'forget about our ethnic origins and be Singaporeans', he said. However, it would take a few more generations before people can 'forget about our ethnic origins and be Singaporeans', he said.
Mr Lee was drawn to revisit this theme of the Singapore identity after Ms Irene Ng (Tampines GRC) who, speaking just before him during the Chinese language debate, had argued passionately against linking language with identity. She was arguing for the emergence of a Singaporean consciousness that would transcend ethnic and cultural urges.
Ms Ng, a former Malaysian and a firm advocate of a Singapore identity, said: 'Better Singaporeans who are sure of their identity as Singaporeans and confident of their place in the world, than Singaporeans who identify with the culture, thought and history of another country better than one's own.'
To back her position, she cited Mr S. Rajaratnam, a member of Mr Lee's first Cabinet who penned the Singapore Pledge that promised fairness for all, 'regardless of race, language and religion'. The reference to Mr Rajaratnam's speeches from the past prompted a response from Mr Lee who called his old colleague an 'exponent of the 'we can create a race of Singaporeans' '.
'Rajaratnam was aiming for the stars,' he said. 'I went along with him with the Pledge and I think we tried to live up to the Pledge. 'But, if you say, let's forget race, language, religion, culture, it's not do-able. We start off with the realities that this is what we are and we should be grateful that we've got here in one piece.' Typically, he made his point with a stark scenario that, in multicultural Singapore, is increasingly commonplace.
'Ask yourself this question: if you have a child and he brings back a boyfriend or a girlfriend of a different race, will you be delighted? 'I'll answer you frankly - I don't think I will. I may eventually accept it,' he said.
Mr Lee highlighted the Nanyang University to further underline the emotive pull of ethnic identity. After 20 years, the issue is still very much alive among its graduates, said Mr Lee, obviously referring to the recent call by some for Nanyang Technological University to return to the old name. Religion is even harder to overcome, he added. But optimists like Ms Ng have much to cheer in Singapore, said Mr Lee.
Compared to other multicultural societies, Singaporeans of different cultures are more integrated. People go to the same schools and share the same working language and the fact that 'we're able to talk about these things now without arousing deep emotional reaction is a great advance', said Mr Lee.
However, he cautioned: 'This is about where we are. How do you take it forward? 'I say, please take note of how we have evolved it gradually and let it evolve further. Don't go for one-stroke solutions; you may regret it.
Following his comments, Ms Ng said she was not asking for Singaporeans to 'forget our ethnic cultures or obliterate our ethnic heritage'. Her point was: 'Yes, value and preserve our ethnic heritage but also promote a national consciousness and do that through our mother tongue curriculum.'
Read the full article...