Singapore Expats Forum

None of the above

A moderated forum for serious discussions only.
eyeFone
Member
Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat, 26 Apr 2008

None of the above

Postby eyeFone » Thu, 08 May 2008 12:32 pm

I'll be moving to Singapore soon, and in an interesting conversation with some Singaporeans out here in Shanghai the topic eventually turned to race.

One of the things highlighted was that some forms (for various services, memberships etc) request that you state race and religion.

Firstly, does filling in these fields bear consequence on the outcome (granted it depends exactly what the form is for - but I'm just being general)

Secondly, can you choose to not answer (again, situation applies)

I'm trying to think of a specific example but my Singaporean experience is limited. Things that came up inconversation included rental agreements, bank account forms, loans, club memberships - is this all true?

For what it's worth I am British - 75% Malay, 25% Kiwi and my wife is China Chinese (but not Han - does declaring your race go so far as this?) and we have a son (what would he fill in?) I have no religion, and my wife is Protestant, my son will decide whatever he wants when he's older.

Interested to hear your thoughts!

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby ksl » Thu, 08 May 2008 1:23 pm

This is like tossing a coin in the air! Who really knows what the data is used for, however I see good and bad points, although I don't let it worry me, life is too short, to get stuck in silly disagreements. There will always be those that are racist and always be those, that are not, end of story.

In general, I would believe the data, to be used for statistical purposes, being of a business interest, although, like i say, who really knows!

eyeFone
Member
Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat, 26 Apr 2008

Postby eyeFone » Thu, 08 May 2008 1:35 pm

I'm not particularly angry about it, and I'm sure the data can be used for many positive reasons too.

I was just wondering, let's say I am applying for some kind of hire purchase loan. If insist on leaving that field blank would it have negative implications on the approval process?

If I open a bank account for my son, what do I write for his race? Malay, Chinese, Earthling?

User avatar
sierra2469alpha
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1381
Joined: Tue, 27 Feb 2007
Location: Singapore (Finally!)

Postby sierra2469alpha » Thu, 08 May 2008 1:51 pm

Race is of course something departments like MoM (Ministry of Manpower - the giver and the taketh away of employment passes etc.) etc. require - I assume to manage quotas or some such. IMHO, religion isn't a concern to me and I've just always left those blank or written NONE. Haven't had anything come back and bite me to date.

Our residential lease didn't ask, but the application form did.

I can see how some people *could* think it's pretty racist/whatever to ask such questions. I've experienced this myself. Being a caucasian, most assume I cannot understand Mandarin. I've overheard some fairly disparageing remarks in my few months here - not about me or my wife, but say another obvious expat. Admittedly, the situation has usually been when said expat was losing face or just being a bit inconsiderate - sometimes through no fault of their own.

Sorry to turn it into such a long response - but I read between the lines of your posts and figured you'd like a first hand account.

Don't let any of that put you off - we love it here! We started to call it our new home even before we arrived :D

Good luck with whatever you decide to do! If you do come over keep in touch - would love to hear all about living in Shanghai as that may very well be the next place we move to.

HTH, P & C

ChicagoMike
Regular
Regular
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed, 20 Dec 2006
Location: Singapore

Postby ChicagoMike » Thu, 08 May 2008 1:56 pm

understand that you are not upset about the idea, just curious.

and in general I would recommend answering the question as best and honestly as possible. Can only imagine that saying "none of the above" will raise concerns and may be interpreted as being unnecessarily difficult or evasive. Will also add that, in my experience, race has little affect on life in Singapore in terms of opportunities and how the government treats you. For example, Education level and national origin have a MUCH higher influence. Of course race plays a role in certain situations, but it's nothing compared to most other countries in the world.

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby ksl » Thu, 08 May 2008 2:01 pm

eyeFone wrote:I'm not particularly angry about it, and I'm sure the data can be used for many positive reasons too.

I was just wondering, let's say I am applying for some kind of hire purchase loan. If insist on leaving that field blank would it have negative implications on the approval process?

If I open a bank account for my son, what do I write for his race? Malay, Chinese, Earthling?


I believe the above answered the question too, if you have doubts, at all, just fill it in, with your honest opinions...if they are not known, just say undecided, and be proud of your mixed marriage and family. Don't give it any thought of being negative, if unsuccessful just move on. speculation can be quite time consuming and unproductive!

And life is far too short, good luck!

I will add, that it is not easy to choose local schools for your kids here, we have been PR for over a year, with a school less than 50 meters away, but I have been told Singaporeans get priority, before foreigners, so we have to travel almost 5 miles for my daughters school, the nearest we could be accepted.

I have also been told, it helps to lick the boots, or offer help at the school of choice, although I am not that way inclined, so yes their could be negative things in applications, but life goes on!

I don't resent the fact I have to wait in a queue, to get her into the school, I believe Singaporeans should get first choice too, to a certain extent, I would hate to think, that others where jumping the queue, and in Singapore, that would be not unusual. But I try not to dwell on the problem, after all we are better off than most, here!

eyeFone
Member
Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat, 26 Apr 2008

Postby eyeFone » Thu, 08 May 2008 2:16 pm

Thanks everyone, and yes, ksl, life is too short!

I'd be happy to give a comparison between Shanghai ans Singapore a few months down the line.

But you may find this interesting; when someone out here has been posted to Singapore the reaction amongst their peers is 'lucky you!' or 'congratulations!', it's almost like you've won the lottery!

About schools, with my son just turning 2 I guess i have a few years left to sort that out. I was told there are nurseries all over the place so not worried about that.

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby ksl » Thu, 08 May 2008 2:42 pm

eyeFone wrote:Thanks everyone, and yes, ksl, life is too short!

I'd be happy to give a comparison between Shanghai ans Singapore a few months down the line.

But you may find this interesting; when someone out here has been posted to Singapore the reaction amongst their peers is 'lucky you!' or 'congratulations!', it's almost like you've won the lottery!

About schools, with my son just turning 2 I guess i have a few years left to sort that out. I was told there are nurseries all over the place so not worried about that.


Yes the nurseries are fine, i was quite impressed, and my daughter made some lasting friendships, of which we are very happy about.

Its a rich and colourful society here and thats how life should be, in my opinion.

I lived in Beijing for a year, and I don't think one can compare Singapore at all, there is no comparison really, with the mainland, although Hong Kong, seems to be discussed quite alot.

I guess its a love hate relationship, with all Countries to be honest, Beijing was also a nightmare when attempting to get on a bus or the MRT, here is not so bad when compared, although the little red dot, is so small, it becomes boring quite quickly, and one can be a little more relaxed on security and travel, so yes its much safer here and probably not so crowded.

My wifes brother works in Shanghai! So we do get updated, he's Taiwanese! I'm a Brit too by the way!

User avatar
sierra2469alpha
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1381
Joined: Tue, 27 Feb 2007
Location: Singapore (Finally!)

Postby sierra2469alpha » Thu, 08 May 2008 3:06 pm

ChicagoMike wrote:...Can only imagine that saying "none of the above" will raise concerns and may be interpreted as being unnecessarily difficult or evasive.


Mike - just to clarify - I say NONE to the religious questions - as I don't have a religious belief. I do of course answer the RACE question.

[EDIT: Happy Valley, Race 5, number 4, Prancer's Dong] Sorry, couldn't resist! :lol:
Last edited by sierra2469alpha on Thu, 08 May 2008 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35027
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 08 May 2008 4:16 pm

For race, unless it's a government form, I usually put homo sapiens. For religion no matter what form, I put Agnostic. You would be surprised how may (all) you have to explain that to. Government forms like to niche people (especially SingStat). ICA (Immigration) loves the race field because that how they figure out who to give PR/Citizenship to. It's their way of ensuring that the Chinese don't lose their majority of 77%. (Chinese have the "lowest" fertility rate of all the races in Singapore). HDB likes to as well so you can be discriminated against in their forced mixing of the races exercise to avoid enclaves (funny though, with 76.6% of the population being Chinese all HDB estates on the island are Chinese enclaves infiltrated by some of the minorities but somehow that doesn't seem to bother them at all) :roll:

For many years if you weren't one of the 3 major races or one minority race (Eurasians) that has a different meaning in Singapore than anywhere else on the globe, you were considered "Others" and that's what was put on your NRIC (Identity Card). My first NRIC had that as well. In recent years however, they've started using other races as well as I'm finally considered a Caucasian by the government now. What's funny though is my children are considered Caucasians as well even though their mother is Tamil and they have kopi-susu complexions. :?

Ah well, other than that, it's pretty good here. So good in fact I've been here for quarter of a century. You just have to roll with the punches - and the punches have been coming much more regularly in recent years.

eyeFone
Member
Member
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat, 26 Apr 2008

Postby eyeFone » Thu, 08 May 2008 5:39 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:For race, unless it's a government form, I usually put homo sapiens. For religion no matter what form, I put Agnostic. You would be surprised how may (all) you have to explain that to. Government forms like to niche people (especially SingStat). ICA (Immigration) loves the race field because that how they figure out who to give PR/Citizenship to. It's their way of ensuring that the Chinese don't lose their majority of 77%. (Chinese have the "lowest" fertility rate of all the races in Singapore). HDB likes to as well so you can be discriminated against in their forced mixing of the races exercise to avoid enclaves (funny though, with 76.6% of the population being Chinese all HDB estates on the island are Chinese enclaves infiltrated by some of the minorities but somehow that doesn't seem to bother them at all) :roll:


:o

As my Singaporean friends told me 'you'll love Singapore, just don't get involved in the local politics'. I guess this policy outlined above would fall under that statement!

User avatar
cutiebutie
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 286
Joined: Sat, 01 Sep 2007
Location: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Home

Postby cutiebutie » Thu, 08 May 2008 7:32 pm

You've been sounding a bit bitter recently, SMS, is everything all right? Sincere question.

As someone that falls into the 'others' category, I really don't care what they ask me, I just fill in what suits as it doesn't make any difference to how you are treated. I've never been discriminated against, as far as I can tell, so let the boffins at the ministries shave their statistics, at least it keeps them off the streets.
By the way, SMS, don't they have racial quotas in the US as well and wasn't it not too long ago that there were similar questions in censuses and the like?

I know that in Australia they still do.

Eurasian? Best of both worlds. (well, if there are only two worlds)
- Thank God for Darwin -

User avatar
sierra2469alpha
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1381
Joined: Tue, 27 Feb 2007
Location: Singapore (Finally!)

Postby sierra2469alpha » Thu, 08 May 2008 7:40 pm

cutiebutie wrote:don't they have racial quotas in the US as well and wasn't it not too long ago that there were similar questions in censuses and the like?

I know that in Australia they still do...


Ah, the Aus census. A joyous work of statistically marginalised questioning turned into an impaired snapshot of not very much at all.

Don't forget, cutiebutie, if you want to go to the US now, you MUST be prepared to submit your fingerprint.

Funny that - foreign governments requiring a fingerprint of non-nationals.

At least back in Aus we ask them to leave 20c on top of the fridge for every beer they take out of it!!! Unless you believe "Border Security".

:roll:

User avatar
cutiebutie
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 286
Joined: Sat, 01 Sep 2007
Location: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Home

Postby cutiebutie » Thu, 08 May 2008 8:48 pm

Don't ask me why I know this but you are using a 'Ted Bulpitt' moment, aren't you?! :D

Fingerprints? No problem, their country, their regulations.

I wonder how many Torres Strait Islandersfly internationally, though.
- Thank God for Darwin -

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35027
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 08 May 2008 9:33 pm

CB,

Racial quotas no, I don't think they do, at least as you put it. But country quotas definitely but only immigration. You can live wherever you want to live if you have the money. Can't do that here though can you. Granted there is a correlation regarding quotas here in Asia but only in some Asian countries (Singapore not being one of them and neither is Malaysia for that matter as both have ethnically mixed populations of varying ratios).

So are you Eurasian or Singapore Eurasian? Both of my children are, buy international definition, Eurasians but not by Singapore definitions. :roll:

Bitter? Maybe. However you can go as far back as I've been on these boards. Both this one and the Angry Board even further back than here and you will find my penchant for telling the unvarnished truth has always been the same.

If I'm bitter it's only because the Government is driving a lot of PR's away. We pay the same taxes as everybody else (actually, truth be known, for the Western PR's anyway, we, on the average, pay more as our relative incomes are/were higher. We pay the same CPF rates. We have to send our sons to NS just like locals, We are treated as Local in every aspect when it come to PAP (Pay And PAY) but now, after giving to this country for a quarter of a century, now, after reaching an age where my health may start to falter a bit and I might actually have to use the local medical facilities, what are they doing? Taking away the few subsidies that we did enjoy. But they will still take my son into NS though won't they. It's like the subsidy the HDB offers you to have a 3-tier family in a single dwelling (like I've done for donkeys years). I had to buy a 5-room flat in order to provide a bedroom for my in-laws. Ever since, my wife gets penalized for having her parent(s) living with us. Every freebie/rebate that the government gives seem to be based on the size of your flat so because we got a 5 room flat to take care of the parents, we get decreased rebates for it forever? Nah, there is something wrong here. Too much so to continue with as far as I'm concerned. Apparently, looking at the immigrating Singaporean statistics, a lot of locals are starting to register their disdain with their feet as well.

Sincere answer? If my son had finished his NS I'd be out of here in a flash. That's all I'm waiting for as I've had it up to there with this place! Personally I've had my fill and want to go back to my farm but I have two things keeping me here at the moment. My son and my MiL. When those two thing are sorted I guarantee that the departure gate, no matter how fast is closes, won't hit me in the @$$ on the way out.

A census is one thing, Here it doesn't matter if it just applying for a credit card or an online registration. Everybody wants your race. Job applications? I'm an HR Manager........ (Unfortunately I work for a local SME so my stupid application form also have it).

eyeFone,

That is also one of the traits here. Apathy when it come to the government, which is why PAP does as it darn well pleases. The masses are too apathetic to voice their displeasure. They will only talk about the government in the kopi-shop while looking over their shoulders the whole time to see if anybody is listening to their whinge. They are scared *hitless of the government.

Sorry for the length of this thing but writing effectively has never been my strong suite so I tend to ramble. Okay. Long-winded! :lol:

Holy Crap! this is my 5,000th post! :shock:


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Strictly Speaking”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests