Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed Chinese privilege in his National Day Rally last night. The rise of race-related incidents in Singapore has sparked debate about discrimination and Chinese privilege.
PM Lee stressed that the government has always worked hard to maintain racial harmony since the early years of our nationhood. He dismissed the notion of Chinese privilege as the majority Chinese were, in fact, at a disadvantage when the government implemented English as a common working language:
“Chinese Singaporeans made some concessions for the greater good. For instance, to put the ethnic minorities more at ease, we adopted English as our lingua franca. The use of English put those who only spoke Mandarin and dialects in a disadvantageous position. Therefore, it is entirely baseless to claim that there is ‘Chinese privilege’ in Singapore”
Thanks for the huge sacrifice, but was English adopted for the sake of ethnic minorities or more for the economic growth of our country? Based on Today’s article in 2015:
“Adopting the international language of business, diplomacy, and science and technology was about the only way this resource-less tiny island could guarantee its survival after losing its economic hinterland in Malaysia”
Granted, racial equality was also one of the motivating factors but it is not right to dismiss Chinese privilege just because the majority Chinese have made sacrifices. More often than not, minorities are the ones who make concessions. No? Isn’t the dismissal of this notion too convenient?