Managing a Multi-Racial Society
Singapore is one of the few countries in the world which has a multi-racial and ethnic society. The government takes many steps to ensure that the people of Singapore live peacefully amongst people of other race or religion. This is done by building a national identity, safeguarding the interests of the minority and by developing common space.
It is very important to manage a multi racial society. Many problems are formed because of the lack of understanding amongst people of different races. One good example is the 1964 Race Riots. On 21 July, 1964, about 25,000 Malays gathered at Padang, Singapore to celebrate the Prophet Muhammad's birthday. After the speeches, the procession went on to Geylang. Along the way, a group that was dispersed was asked to rejoin the procession by a policeman. Instead of obeying the orders, the group attacked the policeman.This incident led to a race riot after the group of Malays attacked Chinese passers-by and spectators. The riots were reported to have started at about 5:00 p.m. between Kallang and Geylang Serai. A curfew was declared at 9.30 p.m. to restore order, but in the first day of riot, four people were killed and 178 injured. There are many lessons we can learn from the race riots: Singapore’s racial balance can be tipped easily, a small incident is enough to send the country into turmoil and we must be sensitive of other races and religions.
Ethnic diversity can be managed by building a national identity. A national identity can be built by having a policy of multi-racialism. The policy of multi-racialism ensures that all races are treated equally and that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. Under the Singapore Constitution, biasness towards any race or religion is prohibited. By ensuring that all races and religions are respected in this country, a sense of national identity can be fostered. Common practices are carried out to build a national identity; they are singing...