Over the past 2 years after the Post, the concept of “Chinese Privilege” has found its way into mainstream public discussion Forums on race relations. Also, one website even dedicated itself on the subject and has been making money from Subscribers who actually paid to rant and share alleged personal stories of racial discrimination as evidence of “Chinese Privilege”.
NO CHINESE PRIVILEGE IN SINGAPORE
The most damning conclusive and condemnatory evidence against the advocates and proponents of majority “Chinese Privilege” was published this week by a Channel NewsAsia-Institute of Policy Studies (CNA-IPS) survey on race relations.
The Key Findings are:
 73% Singaporeans does not believe that a person’s race is “very important” in influencing his or her success;
 89% Singaporeans agreed that a person who works hard has an equal opportunity to become rich, irrespective of his/her race’
 90% Singaporeans stated that they liked talking to people of all races and lived in peace with everyone;
 90% Singaporeans endorsed elements of “multiculturalism” such as according respect, equality and value of other races;
 Nearly 70% Chinese Singaporeans were amenable to social interaction across racial boundaries. They were open to inviting Indians and Malays to their house for meals, and allowing them to play with their children and grandchildren.
One of the Report’s conclusions is that the Survey found “a strong endorsement that success in Singapore is meritocratic”.
The CNA-IPS is one of the largest surveys on race relations in Singapore by polling 2,000 Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged 21 and above.
Meritocracy is the Bridge to a racially and socially just and equal Singapore irrespective of ethnicity, language and cultural heritage.
About 51 years ago, Singapore’s Founding Fathers in their far-sighted wisdom had instituted “Meritocracy” as the core operating principle governing access to all the key routes and mechanism of social mobility. The overall achievements of minority groups vis-à-vis the majority Chinese clearly attest to the success of this enduring leadership initiative. The CNA-IPS Survey confirms this FACT.
The CNA-IPS Survey disappoints the advocates and proponents of Chinese “Majority Privilege” who have simply based their construction of non-existent “Chinese Privileges” by virtue of the Chinese’s 75% numerical majority in the population, along with 17% Malays, 7% Indians and less than 5% Eurasian and other ethnic groups.
Truth in Singapore is, Chinese “Majority” advantage did not translate and be reinforced and institutionalized to the extent as to obstruct, discriminate and prevent minority Malay, Indian and Eurasian and other ethnic groups from enjoying EQUAL access to the MEANS of social mobility eg education, medical, housing, religious practice, security, law, order, justice and public amenities like MRT, bus, cars …etc.
Irrespective to whatever extent anyone wishes to construct whichever surreal “Chinese Privilege”, whether perceived real by the occasional experience or conceived mostly in their imagination, it is clear that such “Chinese Privilege” has failed to become entrenched in Singapore society to any material or significant degree.
FOUR (4) CONDITIONS FOR “CHINESE PRIVILEGE” TO EXIST IN SINGAPORE
According to credible Social Science research literature on the subject, for the concept of “Chinese Privilege” to have any operational validity, the following must be true:
 “Chinese Privileges” exist ONLY for BEING CHINESE, and are AUTOMATIC and NATURAL Benefits for the Chinese;
 REAL and SPECIAL Chinese ADVANTAGES are packaged as “RIGHTS, ENTITLEMENTs and IMMUNITIES” granted to or enjoyed by the Chinese BEYOND the COMMON ADVANTAGES of all other Races;
 Chinese Singaporeans enjoy SPECIAL RIGHT or IMMUNITY Attached To Them in ALL Social Relations;
 FACT-BASED Evidence of ANY Social Expressions of “Privilege” by Chinese Singaporeans expecting to be exceptionally deferred or regarded other than being EQUALLY treated as their fellow Malays, Indians, Eurasians and Malays Singaporeans.
It is clear that Singapore does not satisfy ANY of the above conditions for the de facto existence of “Chinese Privilege”.
Their existence would in fact have critically prevented the effective and successful operation of Meritocracy as the mediating medium of a just and equal multiracial multicultural society. The CNA-IPS Survey indirectly dismiss any existential ”Chinese Privilege”.
NUMERICAL MAJORITY DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY CONFER “PRIVILEGE”
The lesson from Apartheid South Africa or pre-Independence Rhodesia is that the mere numerical majority of a race does not automatically confer “Privilege”. To move from "majority" to "privileged", the majority race should be granted special benefits, advantages and immunities to the exclusion and disadvantages of the minority races by virtue of solely the "racial" criteria. Like in Malaysia.
Interestingly, if one were to substitute the term “Chinese Privilege” in the above 4 Conditions with “Malay Privilege” as in Malaysia” or “White Privilege” as in the United States (US), the contrast is stark and would demolish and dispel any notion of the existence of “Chinese Privilege” in Singapore.
The importation of the concept of “majority privilege” from the US context is simply bad scholarship and the wrongful application of an appropriate social science concept applicable ONLY in the US context. Another of myPosts on this here:
The continual use of the false and fictional concept of “Chinese Privilege” in Singapore will not enrich honest ongoing conversations that would enhance racial harmony and cohesion in Singapore.
SINGAPORE RACIAL HARMONY IS A WORK IN PROGRESS
Racial harmony and integration in Singapore remains very much a work in progress. Much more is needed to increase and sustain our lead in our Race Against Racism before we dare to declare, without hesitation, “regardless of race, language or religion” in all that we think or do as one people and one nation.
As Singapore strives to continue our racial harmony and shared economic prosperity in the next 15 and 50 years, we need to take stock and ponder whether we have effectively forged a strong enough bond that can withstand any threat to our social communal canvas. Do we have Racial Harmony or merely Peaceful Co-Existence? Time will tell.