Racial Quotas in HDB Flats

Posted On // 2 comments

I entirely agree with this blog post on how the PAP is manipulating racial quotas as a means to stay in power.

To add on, racial quotas do not even meet the PAP's intended aim of encouraging racial integration. It might be acceptable if racial quotas discriminate a little as long as they ensure racial harmony and social stability, but it is another thing altogether if these racial quotas have no real use at all.

Part of the logic behind racial quotas is that it encourages interaction between different races in the same community and maybe also prevents the setting up of racial enclaves. Yet as any true blue Singaporean would know, interaction between neighbours really doesn't feature much on any HDB dweller's priorities. The tendency is to stick to the confines of one's own flat and concentrate on activities that might actually yield tangible benefits instead. This is even more so in this age of the internet, where interaction has shifted from reality to cyberspace. Add on to that the fact that most Singaporeans spend their time outside of their homes to begin with - be it in schools studying, taking part in CCAs, or at work, the Singaporean culture in general is a fast-paced one which has little time to spare for idle chatter with neighbours of a different race. Thus this intended aim is barely met.

As for the fear that enclaves might be formed, well that's just irrational. For one, the decision on where to stay is no longer based on who your neighbours are as much as it is on where the nearest school or MRT is. In a society where you're mostly talking about rational people who not only understand the importance of a good location for their flat, but who are also aware of the social stability that they are currently experiencing, there is really no reason whatsoever to run off to hide in an ethnic enclave just to escape whatever discrimination one might be facing from racially dissimilar neighbours. If anything, the government should be fearing that foreign workers especially those who come here to provide labour services, might be unable to integrate into society, or might exacerbate the already present problem of xenophobia, thus creating the possibility of certain conflict.

Instead, the state of racial harmony in Singapore has seen much improvement over the past few decades. Not only has there been no riots in the past few decades but the people themselves have shown to be buying the government's propaganda concerning the need for racial harmony, for better or for worse. Just look at the support for the use of the Sedition Act against the racist bloggers. It was an epiphany to the people.

In light of this, what justification does the government then have to keep this policy that systematically discriminates against minority races in place?

With all crudeness, the PAP doesn't need this little policy to help it maintain power. As explained earlier, there is unlikely to be much of a concentration of minorities in any particular GRC anyway. Add on to that the general success of the government propaganda machinery, the opposition's poor showing and the PAP's once again advanced geographical machinery of gerrymandering. With these potent ingredients, racial quotas are but a little garnishing, except this time it looks bad as does the entire dish.

It would only be wise of the PAP to consider these facts and review their strategy. Not only will the minority races in Singapore finally be able to enjoy their right to freedom of movement, but the government too would win favour in the eyes of its people. After all, with excellent "media coverage" from the state-controlled media, any change be it good or bad, can be twisted into an episode of positive reform. Just like how the disgrace of the Home Team was instead portrayed as a success that proved Singapore's readiness to deal with setbacks as such. Go PAP!


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