Question about accommadation for indians...

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gowrip
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Question about accommadation for indians...

Post by gowrip » Thu, 15 May 2008 1:36 pm

i am just going through the ads in . and a couple of other sites. and i notice once in a while "indians not allowed" or "no indians". i find it interesting (for one obvious reason, i am indian moving to singapore)... i hardly see anyother race or nationality or religion being singled out (i see prefer chinese or prefer indians and so on... but no <something> seems to come up only with this) like that from what i have seen.

can anyone throw some light? are there some stereotype for indians as why some people don't prefer them?

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Post by Strong Eagle » Thu, 15 May 2008 1:39 pm

It could be a couple of things.

a) Some people are simply racist.
b) People who live in HDB flats must abide by racial quotas. So for example, if renting to an Indian would increase the percentage of Indians living in the block beyond the permissible percentage, the rental would not be allowed.

However, I would guess it is a).

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Post by Turtle » Thu, 15 May 2008 1:44 pm

There is some level of society-wide racism. Not overt as in riots or physical/verbal abuse, but a lot of people tend to look down on those who are darker skinned (as is true in many countries). There's the stereotype that dark-skinned Indian immigrants are more likely to be illegal immigrants, or perform "dirty" jobs like construction work. Like I said you won't get people yelling obscene racist language at you on the street, but sadly some of those postings may be by people who are honestly worried about getting in trouble with the law because they think people coming from India are probably illegals or in some way undesirable. Things aren't as happily multicultural as they appear, once you actually spend time here.

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Post by gowrip » Thu, 15 May 2008 1:55 pm

<< a) Some people are simply racist. >>

which is what i was curious about. they don't say we want only chinese or malay like others do - they are saying we don't want indians. i would assume the ad would have been posted by mostly chinese or malay considering the population distribution - atleast, based on religios factors (i am not sure what else would differentiate those two, in a much broader sense) i would assume malay and chinese are as different as indians from either of these two, right? or indians seen as a race that is more distant?

for example, i was chatting with a lady once and she mentioned that some of her friends find indians to be too "i am just so cool and i don't care if you don't speak hindi". also, in the US, in the area i lived, there has been some heavy stereotyping about indians (indian guys don't spend a lot of time in the bars and have fun; and girls, just forget it, she won't even talk to you... something like that).

are people here who have any reservations?

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Post by gowrip » Thu, 15 May 2008 2:11 pm

turtle... that was a nice detailed response.

interesting though - i have heard that about malaysia - in fact, once i was in the KL airport for 8 hours waiting for my next flight and honestly i could swear the only time i saw tamils or heard someone speak tamil was couple of guys cleaning the carpet - considering an appx 5:3:1 ratio, i would have expected to see more tamil people along with malay and chinese.

so to extend further then... is it how it is in singapore? like do you see dark skinned people walking around and in social circles that are chinese or malay included? or i could ask the question differently are there a lot of people in this forum who have tamil friends/ buddies? or is it going to be like i am going to walk into a univ campus or a pub on a friday and find no tamil/indian and often singled out? like the places i used to hang out back in seattle?

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Post by Jeppo » Thu, 15 May 2008 2:26 pm

I was once told by a Singaporean that they wouldn't rent to Indians because of the smell of their cooking, and that even after they moved out the smell would remain and make it difficult for them to rent out again.

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Post by Turtle » Thu, 15 May 2008 2:37 pm

gowrip wrote:turtle... that was a nice detailed response.

interesting though - i have heard that about malaysia - in fact, once i was in the KL airport for 8 hours waiting for my next flight and honestly i could swear the only time i saw tamils or heard someone speak tamil was couple of guys cleaning the carpet - considering an appx 5:3:1 ratio, i would have expected to see more tamil people along with malay and chinese.

so to extend further then... is it how it is in singapore? like do you see dark skinned people walking around and in social circles that are chinese or malay included? or i could ask the question differently are there a lot of people in this forum who have tamil friends/ buddies? or is it going to be like i am going to walk into a univ campus or a pub on a friday and find no tamil/indian and often singled out? like the places i used to hang out back in seattle?
Broadly speaking, many Singaporeans hang out with their own ethnic group. Not because they hate other races, but things like language - the government does a lot to encourage "mother tongues" like Mandarin, Malay, Tamil etc, so people who are educated in these languages rather than English of course feel more comfortable with others from their race. Likewise, simple things like going for lunch - generally Chinese people eat at Chinese stalls, Malays of course eat at Muslim stalls and so on, so again people go with others who are like them.

So I guess to answer your question, most people would say sure, I have Indian friends, there are Tamils in my office and we get along fine and we chat about sports or whatever else - but in terms of "who do you hang out with", generally people tend to be quite segregated in terms of race. You will most likely find groups of Chinese in one place and groups of Malays in another place and groups of Indians elsewhere and so on. Singapore is very tolerant of other races meaning you don't get racist abuse, but they don't choose to mix very much.

I believe there was a poll in the newspaper (Straits Times) not so long ago, and they found that a lot of Singaporeans consider themselves to be "Chinese" or "Indian" or whatever, rather than "Singaporean". National identity (as opposed to cultural or racial identity) is often talked about as being a weak point, possibly because the government encourages people to always remember their culture and heritage and so on, such as mandatory learning of a "mother tongue" based on your race, rather than encouraging a true mixing of cultures to form a "Singaporean".

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Post by Flutterby87 » Thu, 15 May 2008 2:51 pm

gowrip wrote:
so to extend further then... is it how it is in singapore? like do you see dark skinned people walking around and in social circles that are chinese or malay included? or i could ask the question differently are there a lot of people in this forum who have tamil friends/ buddies? or is it going to be like i am going to walk into a univ campus or a pub on a friday and find no tamil/indian and often singled out? like the places i used to hang out back in seattle?
An observation I have made is that in Singapore, the younger groups (primary school, secondary school) tend to be pretty diverse and lots of friendship groups will be made up of different races. But in my experience, as time went on into the late teenage yrs, the groups become very segregated. In my college, there was a clear divide between the races and among Indians as well. (As in, North Indians (Punjabis, Bengalis etc.) hung out with each other, away from South Indians(tamils etc.))

The biggest problem, I feel, is the language barrier. I couldnt join in conversations with my chinese friends in college because most of them spoke chinese. And my malay friends spoke malay a lot, so me and my Indian friend had to ask them to please talk in English.

Definitely there will still be a few diverse social circles, few and far between. But the racism in Singapore is more subtle, they wont come right out and hurl abuse, but you know from the looks they give that these prejudiced attitudes exist.

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Post by Turtle » Thu, 15 May 2008 3:12 pm

Flutterby87 wrote:The biggest problem, I feel, is the language barrier. I couldnt join in conversations with my chinese friends in college because most of them spoke chinese. And my malay friends spoke malay a lot, so me and my Indian friend had to ask them to please talk in English.
That's very true. In most parts of the world, it is considered rude to speak a language that people in the group cannot understand, and use it to carry on private conversations. Here that isn't the case, people will often choose to speak their mother tongue by default even if there are other races around, e.g. in an office setting. It can be quite uncomfortable if you are not used to it. And quite a lot of people make it obvious that you're inconveniencing them if you ask them to please speak English. Of course they may have a good reason for it because they may have learned English as a second language and not be comfortable with it, but it's just a sign that people don't go out of their way to make sure that everyone is included.

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Post by yankee_ibanez » Thu, 15 May 2008 4:21 pm

Well first Of all i think you are too concerned on things.. thats good .. but remember racism even exsist withing India. What about people differentiating them between North Or South Indians and few Groups downsouth dun wanna speak Nation language "Hindi" for their own reasons.
So the whole idea is whichever part of world you go there will be hate n love.. n tell u what, it totally depends on ur attitude on how well u get along with different races. I have never faced any problem with any race being in different parts of world.
Infact Singapore is a place where u see mix people around.. caucasians with asians(indian, chinese,malays or rest of SEA) and vice-versa... i m nt completely ruling out racism but just trying to say that within India itself you can see all the points you mentioned in above posts.

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Post by gowrip » Fri, 16 May 2008 12:59 pm

Thanks for the responses guys! (and i have to remember to turn off the HTML option and i keep losing the stuff i was trying to quote :-(. too lazy to redo this post - i hope things are self explanatory as to what i was quoting)

<<Singapore>>
Turtle, I guess that was a good start. i guess that was more of what i was looking at as an answer to my question. will it apply for small groups like a bunch of MBA students in a college or if i end up going to a pub and try to play indoor sports or chit-chat? i know this is a very general and subjective question, but what is your feel?

<<Well>>
yankee, not really in the environments i have been accustomed to - a student environment in an engineering college and then 8+ years in the software industry. And probably because I tend to speak only english (neither Tamil nor Hindi), almost all my life I never really had a language/region seperation in groups when I was around. Then again, it has been a professional software engineers crowd.

but in general i have always seen the indian vs non-indian divide in the USA though and I almost always had two distinct set of friends I would hang out with - one from my work, predominantly indians (with couple of exceptions) and a local american crowd where i lived, predominantly whites (and i was the only indian).

<<So>>
That's good. And to be clear I am not concerned about racism in the traditional sense people not liking or abuse per se - my question is only to do with segregation and preferences of socializing. like the comments i see: language barrier; food preferences. and i agree with your comment - i have always had a bit of difficulty to mingle (like two days) if i moved to a new place start trying to get someone to play pool but in a week, i would have built a comfort zone with almost everyone.

<<That>>
turtle, it really doesn't matter to me much unless it happens all the time. I have also spend a lot of time in the past with people who just can't speak good english or not comfortable with it and while they would talk to me in english, they would choose to use their mother tongue or hindi with other groups. And personally I don't mind people speaking chinese as one of the main things i would want to learn in singapore is spoken chinese (just like hindi at some point as I lost touch with hindi after high school and the only reason i could keep up with hindi till today is because i have had friends who speak hindi often around me).

<<Definitely>>
Flutterby87, how about expats in general? like the invitations or announcements i see about going out for drinks or other activities... how do most expats (non chinese non malay and non indians) spend time? with other expats for the most part? and is that segregated too?

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Post by Turtle » Fri, 16 May 2008 2:45 pm

My feeling is that you won't be rejected if you seek out the interaction, people just won't really try to include you unless you express interest. I'm sure if you wanted to join a sports team or supporter's club they won't say no Indians allowed. Same with going out to bars and clubs, people won't start avoiding you if you try to talk with them. It's not that they want to exclude you or don't want to see you, it's more like people are used to racial groups staying together, i.e. they would think you wouldn't be interested in talking to them either, unless you initiate it.

For example a Chinese colleague/acquaintance might never invite you to go to lunch or dinner with them, not because of rudeness, but because they would assume you would only want to eat Indian food and hang out with fellow Indians. But if you said you were interested in trying any kind of food and just doing whatever they usually do, they would probably invite you along. I guess what I'm trying to say is that people tend to stick together in ethnic groups out of convenience and because that's what they've always done, not because they dislike other races. If you make the effort, I doubt they would avoid you.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 16 May 2008 2:58 pm

Jeppo wrote:I was once told by a Singaporean that they wouldn't rent to Indians because of the smell of their cooking, and that even after they moved out the smell would remain and make it difficult for them to rent out again.
Actually, Jeppo, you have hit the nail squarely on the head.

Stereotypes here hold centre court. Not all Indians cook which ghee but a rather large majority of them do. That as well as all of the other pungent spices normally found in Indian dishes. All the other stuff in this thread about racism is, for the most part, just crap (yes there is racism as well but that isn't the real reason). Remember, Singaporean are a "pragmatic" lot.

They cook with Ghee, cooked over a small charcoal burner that is often the favoured method for meal preparation by a lot of Indians and has a tendency to create lots of ghee ladened greasy smoke that permeates everything it touches. This turns rancid as well, which adds to the aroma. The only way to remove the smells are a complete gutting of the unit and replacing everything (wood, particle board and MDF absorb more than just moisture). This gets expensive and therefore cuts into the profits of have a rental unit (unless the landlord only wants to rent to Indians as nobody else will consider it). Especially if the tenant only stays there a year (or less).

Therefore, it's easier to just appear racist. As far as the quota's are concerned, they only apply to purchasing HDB flats. Has nothing to do with renting of HDB flats. Which tends to make a mockery of the HDB racial mixing plan as locals get more and more affluent and upgrade to condo's and rent out their HDB flats.

I've been in lots of Indian homes to know that the aroma problems are fact. While we don't use ghee (except when making chapati) or charcoal in our house, my wife still cooks curries everyday.

We had this same thread several years ago here as well.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by Zeenit » Fri, 16 May 2008 10:48 pm

Jeppo wrote:I was once told by a Singaporean that they wouldn't rent to Indians because of the smell of their cooking, and that even after they moved out the smell would remain and make it difficult for them to rent out again.
Hi this post just worried me alot. I am South African, "Indian looking" but not Indian in one bit. My ancestors came from Malaysia in the 17th Century....long story.

I am married to a English guy and we western in all ways especially cooking. When we come to SG, I will be the one flat hunting as he will be working. Will people look at me and refuse to rent to us?
Please help
Zeenit

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 17 May 2008 12:47 pm

I would suggest that you take you husband along for the ride as it's too important to leave up to one person if you are married.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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