Are you a racist?

Are you a racist? Am I a racist?

Channel News Asia (CNA) and Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) conducted a nation-wide race survey recently. The results are “revealing and eye-opening”. Link to Survey

The recent CNA documentary “Regardless of Race” was insightful, with Dr Janil asking some direct race questions.

Not really no-holds-barred, but we got some frank and perhaps “unsettling” responses. Think about taboo topics, stereotypes, and racist insinuations.

* Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, and the content reflected on my blog represents only my own opinion *

I had the opportunity to share my own viewpoints on Talking Point this week (Video Toggle link, from 13 minutes 20 seconds onwards)

Race discussions can be sensitive and easily taken out of context.
Channel news Asia IPS race survey 1

During Racial Harmony Day, kids would don different costumes to school, reflecting Singapore’s multi-cultural society. But is this once a year event enough to teach our kids about racism?
Channel news Asia IPS race survey 2
(Images from CNA IPS survey)

As a parent, I am always trying to find the right opportunity to share why Singapore’s racial harmony should not be taken for granted.

I had previously blog about why racism will remain in Singapore, and to pretend otherwise borders on hypocrisy (blog link). The survey results showcase some undercurrent, which we cannot deny, but should try to understand more. Sweeping our “fears of engagement” under the carpet, just because we feel topic might be insensitive, would not help to clarify anything.

We should not be afraid to discuss Racism with our kids, we just need to find teachable moments to impart the right values (and respect).

The challenge is everyone is using different yardsticks to define racism.
We might feel we are not racists but our actions and behaviour might project another angle.
In other words, I can be a racist without realising it!

I do not really endorse the term Racial “Tolerance”.
After 50 years of independence, surely Singapore must have move beyond tolerance?
I am actively educating and talking my kids to embrace and celebrate Singapore’s multi-cultural diversity.

Most of us believe that kids are colour blind and non-judgmental.
Kids play together, become best friends simply because they enjoy each other’s company.
It is only after they are influenced by external environment (perhaps parents and peers) that they start exhibiting racist behaviours.

Personally, I belief that we should teach kids the right values when they are still young and impressionable. Parents are their role models.

Growing up, I did shared that I have buddies from other races that we were comfortable to tease each other with some racial jokes.
No malice, no ill will, we “disturb” each other because we know each other well.

Times have changed, and it is more “sensitive” to tease each with racist jokes nowadays. I am not saying that it should be recommended, but Singaporeans used to gel a lot easier then.

Society is getting more complex as Singapore gets more cosmopolitan.
Mixed marriages, Chinese from China, Indians from India, our cultural melting pot is growing bigger with more ingredients.
I would assume the cooking recipe is now more elaborate and harder to master.

One of the survey results indicate that it is ok to have friends from different races, but the same correspondents would not encourage marriage out of their own race. (The image below indicated that only 20+ percent of Chinese correspondents would accept non-Chinese son or daughter in law.)
CNA IPS survey
(image credit CNA IPS survey)

Why is this mentality still existing in the 21st century?

I have always advocate for mutual affection and love as the basis for a marriage. Neither skin colour, race nor religion should obstruct Love.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

There are many more example in the “Regardless of Race” series of videos, and some findings might make us uncomfortable, but these are all happening day in day out.

1. Regardless of Race” segments are asking Singaporeans to re-evaluate our position or racial harmony. Can we do more? Can we care more and move forward together as an inclusive society?
(Video link)

There are two segments within which makes the most impact on me.
When Dr Janil interviews the P3 students, their replies are frank and direct, and it makes me realise that racial harmony is always a process.
It is not just reciting the Singapore Pledge, but living our pledge.

2. I am a parent myself, and kids should not face discriminatory remarks in school, or worse engage in bullying of others (Video link)

3. Dr Janil ask questions and participants step infront or behind. The end result shows Chinese members in the front, suggesting that Chinese (Singapore’s majority ethnicity group) do enjoy more “privileges” in Singapore. Video link.

I am actively teaching my kids to embrace and treasure Singapore’s multi-cultural scene.
Where else can we find different places of worship co-existing together harmoniously?

We recommend fellow parents to visit Little India, Kampong Glam and perhaps even participate in a place-of-worship orientation (eg Ramadan at Sultan mosque).

Look for teachable moments, focus on the Positive aspect of race relations.
Be it adults or children, be open and we can all agree to disagree.
If it is any consolation, it is easier to talk about racism compared to sex education :p

Regardless of Race, Language and Religion.
Let us strive to live up to our Pledge.

Additional details :
– Full CNA IPS Survey results
– Talking Point panel discussion (Toggle link)
(Start from 13 min 20 seconds) promotes Racial Harmony in Singapore
– Related Channel News Asia articles, Part 1, 2 and 3.

Every dream starts with the first brick

Kids, it is okay to day dream and I want you to dream big.
If my kids cannot dream, then I would have failed as a Dad.

You might have heard “Every dream starts with the first brick“, or “Every marathon starts with the first step“. I always tell the Missus that it is better to daydream rather than no dreams (ie only addicted to your mobile devices)

Photo below, one of the small bricks which when assembled, will become the six wheels menacing “Axl’s Tower Carrier”! I will be using LEGO as an analogy for some crucial life skills.

Since young, I have been encouraging the kids to lead an active lifestyle.
Sports can mold their determination and sportsmanship, to never give up and most importantly, put in their BEST efforts.

Using our LEGO kit “Axl’s Tower Carrier” as an analogy, I try to help Boon Yee understand that building a LEGO has the same synergy as in LIFE. We set a mission, and we strive to achieve it.

With our LEGO Nexo Knights kit, our mission was to construct a mobile tower and chase down the bad guy(Burnzie) and his side kicks.
201606 Lego Nexo Knights

From swimming to cycling and jogging, hiking is our latest passion. Kids are exposed to all sports. Besides getting active and healthy, I really hope their outlook would become more positive and confident.

The recent hike up 513m Gunung Panti (read here) is a testament that my kids loved their sporty lifestyle!

I hope my kids understand that a good foundation is necessary before we can climb higher and realised our dreams and aspirations.
parenting molding kids characters

When it looks impossible, be brave. Mind over body, this is only possible if we have a positive character and the will to succeed.
hiking with kids

In this post, I will try to share what we have learned through sports, and how it can mold our characters.

– Have an open mind
– If in doubt, ASK (be humble, and seek help)
– Never Give up, Try your Best

1) Have an Open Mind
The World (Universe) is so wide. Not too long ago, people believed the Earth was Flat, and nobody heard of electricity or gravity.

Have an Open Mind, ASK questions and find out WHY.
If we close our minds, we narrow our vision and limit our knowledge.
The “Whys” and “Hows” will broaden our horizon and allow us to learn more.

When someone tell you something is not possible, do not take his words for it.
Be curious be adventurous go explore and discover, challenge the norms.

2) Ask!
With best efforts, there are somethings beyond our human mind.
If we are lost, or if we do not understand specific topics, always Ask!
(There are no stupid questions)

The dilemma for parents is we are sometimes annoyed by kids’ constant challenge and arguments haha.

There is nothing to be ashamed of when we seek knowledge. On the other hand, it would be sad if we choose to keep quiet and pretend that we understand.

(Back to our LEGO experience).
In their haste, kids always skip a step or two or plug in any bricks. When someone take over the construction, he will realised that some functions are not working, and we end up wasting more time trying to troubleshoot.

If unsure of the steps, kids should always consult siblings or parents. We got some helpful clues from Youtube too!
201606 Lego Nexo Knights1

3) Never Give up, try your best
Son, it is perfectly ok if we do not understand certain concepts or actions.
Adults are sometimes bewildered too, but we must be resourceful enough to seek new knowledge.
We must be brave enough to ask (point 2).

It is only when we are curious that we pick up new skills and knowledge.

In sports, athletes always emphasized Mind over Body. It is this self-belief that I wish to inculcate in the kids. Believe in yourself, have faith in your mission, just do it!

You might succeed or fail, but you must enjoy the learning journey.

Boon Yee’s “Axl’s Tower Carrier” is finally completed.
Looking back, the task looks daunting when we first started. But we realised our task is achievable after seeing the completed Tower carrier.

He loves the six giant wheels, which looks like an armoured personal carrier.
The armament and equipment on Axl’s Mobile Tower are formidable and will help him in his mission to defend his city.

We can even detached Axl’s tower to become a fire-base. Watch video below to see how catapult and missiles are launched!

Video : LEGO’s new Nexo Knights kits in action

Nobody wants to be Burnzie (bad guy), as we all want to be on the winning side haha.

Whether you are the Good or Bad guys, I thought some colouring pages would be cool for our LEGO fans (from Danish LEGO page)

We had earlier share our experience with Nexo Knights Fortrex earlier, sharing how we nurture some family values. Read more here.

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