My great grandparents were immigrants from India. They voted in the first Singapore General Elections. They are no longer around, but in a few days’ time, my parents and my siblings will vote.
(Google Image. Singapore INdians in the 1960s)
I am an Indian in Singapore. A mere 10% of the Singapore’s population.
What exactly is it in for me? What am I voting for?
Sageethan Thanapal. K Shanmugam, Kumar, Tharman, Sundaresh Menon, Nathan.
Rajaratnam, Jayakumar, V. Sundramoorthy, George Suppiah.
Indians are as much a part of Singapore’s landscape and social fabric in the past as they are now and will continue to be a part of Singaporean lives.
There were coffee shop talks that the government overlook the Indian community in Singapore. We only have one public holiday (Deepavali) as compared to the other races that has two. We can’t play music and drums during Thaipusam and practice our faith freely. Heck, even TV host Sharon Au made fun of us on National TV during the SEA Games opening ceremony by mimicking an Indian accent. (She has since apologised)
Is this what Indians are – a pariah of Singapore society.
As potential candidates come up the podiums and address their supporters, did any one of them even mention anything about helping the Indian community?
Our Darryl David, an Indian Chinese, representing the Indian Community, can’t even speak Tamil – he spoke Hokkien and mandarin instead. (I can’t believe my ears when I heard him). The bloody Singaporeans First Party by Tan Jee Say can’t even put in the effort to get their Tamil translation right when unveiling their candidates in front of National TV.
It was disgusting…. We are a pariah and like pariahs, they want us out of their sight.
Over dinner yesterday, I raised the questions above with my parents; I know that they would agree with me.
They told me this.
அன்பு மகனே (Translated: Dear Child)
Look with your eyes and think instead of listening to the rage in your heart.
We are the only country in the world where Tamil is an official language (Not even India)
We have Indians as Chief Justice, Cabinet Ministers, sportsmen, lawyers, pilots, doctors and businessmen.
We may be a mere ten percent, but we contribute as much as the other races, we are brilliant lawyers and businessmen.
The challenges that you think that you face because you are an Indian are actually issues that manifest themselves in all other societies. ( I than remembered my Malay colleague sharing with me how it was difficult for him to be a Malay in the army)
Our grandparents were immigrants yet, the government has extended to us the same kind benefits (housing, education, healthcare) as with the other races because we are Singaporeans.
I ate my dinner in silence. The words uttered by my parents sinking in slowly with every mouthful of rice.
How can there be discrimination when Indians occupy top positions in Singapore (e.g. law and fiancé minister) and continue to do well in every segment of society.
I am an Indian voter, a mere 10% of the Singapore community, I shall vote for the government that gives me a chance to succeed regardless of my race or my background. That is the only way that a mere 10% can survive.