I was so tempted to touch on this topic even before I wrote Politics and You. I asked myself this, are my audiences ready to handle something so sensitive or should I keep to something light and dainty? Okay, if you have read my posts long enough (or everything), you’ll know that I love to take heavy topics like management stuff and turned them into something light and palatable for easy reading. So I’m going to try to take something really serious and important and try to keep it light.
A few weeks ago, the ongoings of Malaysia (namely Kuala Lumpur) has gotten me pretty upset. I choose to move here as an expat from Shanghai for various reasons and one of the biggest reasons is that Malaysia is much closer to Singapore (basically our neighbours) and we have common things like similar food, similar culture and both countries have multiple races. But that’s where the similarities stop abruptly.
Singapore is all about racial harmony as per quote our founding father “… in Singapore you will get equal misery or equal prosperity as the case may be regardless of whether you are black or brown or yellow or any of the shades in between.”. Whereas Malaysia allowed rallies by the Chinese and Malays on two separate occasions. Although the rallies are somewhat peaceful but the tensions were there. The focus on the rallies are allegedly on the color of our skin. News outside the county were widely reported and exaggerated. Some of the news played on people’s fear of safety.
Out of the sudden, I get texts and calls from my family back in Singapore. It’s kinda understanding that my mum’s panicking all over but that’s what mothers do. Then I had friends from all over China texting me, asking me if I am okay. In total, on the 16th September, I got about 50 texts and calls either to check if I’m still alright or to ask me to stay at home for the whole week or even asking me to come back to Singapore / Shanghai. I even had 5 different persons called to remind me to stock up my fridge in case, I’m stranded at home. (You would think the country is going to war….). But I survived that day and I shall survived any future rallies.
So in this context, I’m kinda stuck in the middle. I’m a Chinese, I’m a foreigner and I’m in the country. It’s like looking through the glass ball, seeing the whole situation unfurl but yet I can’t break through the glass bubble to reach out. It’s frustrating that the racism did not just involved around politics, it penetrates the workplace too.
And it’s not just Malaysia, I have seen it in quite a few countries too. We all been fighting sexual discrimination but we need to make sure we don’t forget about race discrimination too. Sure, we are evolving with having Indian men leading Google and Microsoft. But in some countries, race discrimination is a lot more serious than others. Like the Chinese (me) is often being thought as crafty, cunning, greedy, hardworking and smart. Mind you, the last compliment about smart is not about innovation or creativity or thinking out of the box but it’s about how we are crafty enough to cut corners without letting others know. So we are being compared as a bull in fox’s coat or is it the other way round?
Then in South East Asia, there is word out on the Malays as well, lazy, simple but humble and family oriented. And then about the Indians who are deemed by others to be too aggressive and arrogant, talking a lot of bull but I do know that top criminal defence lawyers in Singapore are Indians.
Is there some truth in that? In my two cents opinion, I don’t judge someone by its color or the country they came from but rather by his or her values and their perceptions, their views, their mindset, their thoughts. These are good indications to gauge as to whether I’m going to hire him. When I work with the person, it’s the work, the meticulous details, the efficiency and the effort that shaped my impression on the incumbent. In fact, I have many Malay friends who are smart and successful in their career, and still happily swinging eligible bachelors in their mid 30s. I have Indians friends as well who are gentle especially standing next to an overly active Tomboy – me. As for me, a Chinese, I have never been more contented in my simple life as a writer. My greed radar must have been stolen when I left Shanghai. Haha!
Gender, colour, religion and age have never factored in my reasons to hire or promote someone and it shouldn’t be in anyone’s. If we can all choose to be in the skin color to be born in, many might choose to be white however, I am proud to be a Chinese and I wouldn’t change anything about me at all.
Have a great weekend ahead! Thank you for reading!