Dear fellow readers, we need to have a serious talk. It’s come to my attention that there are still Singaporeans out there who don’t seem to understand the difference between race and religion. And frankly, I’m angry. No, scratch that – I’m furious.
How many times do we have to go over this?
Race and religion are not the same thing.
They are two separate concepts, and understanding the difference between them is essential if we’re going to build a truly inclusive society.
Let me spell it out for those who are still confused: race refers to a person’s physical characteristics, such as their skin color, facial features, and hair texture. Religion, on the other hand, refers to a person’s beliefs and practices related to a higher power or spiritual force.
So, for example, just because someone is Chinese, Malay, Indian, or any other race, that doesn’t mean they necessarily practice a particular religion. And conversely, just because someone is Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or any other religion, that doesn’t mean they necessarily belong to a particular race.
It’s really not that complicated, people. And yet, I continue to see examples of Singaporeans conflating race and religion, whether it’s in casual conversation, online comments, or even official government policies. The most recent one being the FairPrice staff who shooed an Indian-Muslim couple away from getting free Iftar snacks.
This is not just a matter of semantics. It has real-world consequences for how we treat each other as fellow human beings. When we make assumptions based on someone’s race or religion, we risk perpetuating stereotypes, discrimination, and even violence.
So let’s get it right, once and for all. Let’s educate ourselves and each other about the difference between race and religion. Let’s have open and honest conversations about how we can build a society that truly embraces diversity and inclusivity. And let’s put an end to the ignorance and bigotry that continue to hold us back.
With a lot of concern,