How to Change Your Race Legally
Perhaps I shall share with you my experience today at Immigration and Checkpoint Authority.
I have held a blue Singapore Identity Card since mid 2004. But one thing that has not satisfied me was the fact that I have the word 'malay' written under 'race'. Why does it not satisfy me? First, I am not a Malay if we follow this academic definition:
"a member of a people inhabiting the northern Malay Peninsula and Malaysia and parts of the western Malay Archipelago"
Truly, I have no evidence that my beloved parents (Hindro and Tuti) or even my grandparents (Kismo and Yatiman, Selo and Soeleki) had any roots or heritage connection with Malay Peninsula inhabitants back in the previous centuries. If you look at me (which I am sure millions of your have), you'd see slight curly hair (which gets even more terrific curl under relative humidity level of 80%) and much more pigments than most people here to protect my beautiful and smooth skin under intense sunlight of this Archipelago. And No, I cannot be a Malay... Malay people in the region would be upset and embarassed if they see me claim my own being as one of their blood-brothers. It's like going to Harvard and claim that you are a Harvard student when you aren't.
So, to emulate from what Rani had done by having the word 'Indonesian' on her blue Singapore Identity Card, I tried to go further and deeper: I requested Immigration and Checkpoint Authority to change my so-called 'race' as Javanese - for obvious and kiasu reasons, of course. If Rani could do it that far, I should have done even better - Javanese should be the word written on my pass. And knowing that I have entered two interview rooms, I might as well ask for the furthest details in terms of race classification.
As far as the legal process goes at Immigration and Checkpoint Authority, I had to speak to two interviewers in two separate rooms, one of them was an officer who was an expert in this and he was acting as a witness when I verbally made a statement, under oath, with one hand up in the air, stating that I request to change my 'race'. Wow... that was the first time I ever took an oath, kinda cool, indeed... and this time it was relating to reinstating my origin as a Human Being. Truly, I never realized that the defintion of 'race' is so vital in Singapore (not that there is anything wrong with that, of course! Nor is the definition of religion for that matter).
When he asked if I could provide an evidence of my Javanese blood, the officer was a bit puzzled because nowhere in my passport nor my Kartu Tanda Penduduk could you find my race definition. To expedite the process, he had me write a specific reason why I shall be classified as a Javanese, and not a Malay. It was quite puzzling since I never had to prove to anyone anywhere about my Javanese blood. I was going to write: "because Javanese rule the Archipelago!" but then I refrained from doing the politically incorrect and wrote this instead: "because both of my parents are from Yogyakarta and all of my ancestors are rooted on the same island of Java".
Anyways, I was advised by Immigration and Checkpoint Authority to wait and sit tight until the request to change of 'race' is approved by the higher authority - since it apparently involves a lot of paperwork behind the scene. I was also told that there is a chance that when it gets approved, I will have to have Noe's birth certificate reissued.
- Having to reissue a blue Singapore Identity Card: $S60
- Having to reissue your son's Birth Certificate: $S70
- Having the word 'Javanese' written on your blue Singapore Identity Card: Priceless
PS: Tell me if you agree that asking for someone's Race or Religion is like asking for the specified length of someone's penis during erection. I will reward you if you do agree :)