Voices

Create more opportunities for youths from different races to interact

From

Zhang Zheting

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Published: 4:00 AM, August 11, 2017
Updated: 11:41 AM, August 11, 2017

I refer to the report “PM: Don’t let conflicts elsewhere erode trust among races in S’pore” (July 25).

In my school, I often hear proclamations that Singapore is harmonious and thus safe from racial prejudice, with Islamophobia talked about as if it is only a Western phenomenon.

As part of the school’s humanities curriculum, students do discuss terrorism-related issues, but as abstract concepts or for mere academic purposes.

Failing to realise the threat of Islamophobia here is potentially dangerous, as Singapore has a significant Muslim population. Islamophobia could have serious repercussions for our nation.

It is all the more troubling that many students in my Special Assistance Plan school seldom have the chance to interact with people outside our race.

Even if some do, our closest circle of friends is almost always monoracial.

We could learn about other cultures and their practices, schools could hone students’ racial sensitivity and hold discussions about terrorism and its implications, but to understand another race deeply is difficult without an emotional connection with someone of that race.

Perhaps more opportunities for interracial interaction and to forge bonds, especially among the youth, could be created.