A couple of years ago, I was job hunting and I had sent out resumes to a few companies but due to the state of the economy at that time, there were not many opportunities. One day I got a call from one company and they called me in for an interview. I had applied for the position of marketing manager, and I was excited at the prospect of possibly working at this company.
During the interview, the company asked the standard questions and I regaled them with my past experiences. The interview was going well, or so I thought. At the end of the interview, the person asked me if I had any issues working in a Chinese environment. I was a little confused, but I replied that I had no issues whatsoever. The interviewer hesitated, then added, “Er, but many of our clients are Chinese as well.” I asked the interviewer what do our clients being Chinese have to do with the job. Again, the interview hesitated then replied, “You know our boss is Chinese right, from China.”
I finally got it. Even though I was apparently the most qualified person on paper (the interviewer told me so), I was never going to get the job because I was not Chinese. I’ve never been told that I cannot do a job because I wasn’t Chinese. This was a first for me, considering that around that time, I’ve been working a full-time job for almost 15 years. The interviewer may not have directly told me that they are not hiring me because I was not a Chinese but I definitely got the blatant hints.
Racism. It’s plain and simple. You can try to cover it up with other fancy names but I know racism when I see it. (Read: Finding Racism in Everything We See) The only reason I did not get the job was due to the colour of my skin. I know it happens, but this was the first time I’ve experienced it first-hand.
With that in mind, I turn your attention to the current Singapore’s Presidential Election. For the first time in Singapore’s history, and I’m quite sure first in the world, a country’s elected president will be determined by the colour of their skin. The Singapore government can dress this shambolic act in whatever way they want but facts are facts.
To limit qualified candidates running for the presidency because of their skin tone is racism. (Read: A lost opportunity, this Presidential Elections.) I know the government has said that in a multi-racial society like ours, we need to give a chance to the minorities to be president. What is this? Is the position of the president just a symbol of tokenism?
America has had their first ever black president in President Obama. Was he given the opportunity to run in an all-black presidential election? No, he got to that position because he was the best man for the job. America has whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics and so many other races who are citizens. When it comes to claiming a multi-racial society, Singapore needs to stop putting itself on a pedestal, thinking they are the only country who has many races living in the country.
Not getting a job because of the colour of skin is racism. Giving a job to only a specific race is also racism. I thought we were a democracy? Democracy not only means the right to vote for who we want in office, but the right of every citizen who meets the criteria to run for office to take part in the election. Not to be discriminated against because of their race.
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