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Choosing a Race

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alexalex
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Choosing a Race

Postby alexalex » Wed, 02 May 2012 11:14 am

Dear Expats,

My husband and I are expecting our first child later this year. I am a British EP P2 holder and my husband is from PRC, PR holder. My husband's application for SG citizenship was recently approved and he will have completed the formalities and received his new IC in time for baby's arrival.

As our baby will be Singaporean, we are aware that we will need to choose our baby's race from the following:

Chinese
Chinese-Caucasian
Caucasian
Caucasian-Chinese
Eurasian

Other than Mother Tongue language in Primary school and HDB's ethnic integration policy, are there any other policies for which race matters?

Would my child's race influence my future PR application? (child's race is on the PR application form)

We are currently thinking of registering our baby as Chinese-Caucasian.

Thanks for your help!

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 02 May 2012 2:33 pm

I could be wrong but I don't think you get to choose the race categorisation. I'd expect your child to be Eurasian.

And that as far as I know is that.

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Postby alexalex » Wed, 02 May 2012 3:31 pm

You can choose the race since 2010:
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/ ... 42/1/.html
I think a lot of mixed Chinese / Causasian couples are choosing Chinese as their children's race since the change. Just wanted to fully understand the implications before deciding :)

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 02 May 2012 3:46 pm

alexalex wrote:You can choose the race since 2010:
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/ ... 42/1/.html
I think a lot of mixed Chinese / Causasian couples are choosing Chinese as their children's race since the change. Just wanted to fully understand the implications before deciding :)


Thanks for posting that link. Very interesting!

Interesting comments by the politicians, they all seem to be asking for clarification of the implications too.

The article ends off pointing out that what ever you choose, either yourselves or your child have an option to change the classification in future, so you always have the comfort of that knowledge.

My gut feel is that all mixed-race children are going to get treated equally from now on under a unspoken 'mixed-race' category, otherwise the various advantages and quotas etc are going to get insanely complicated (and open to abuse).

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Postby alexalex » Wed, 02 May 2012 7:31 pm

Indeed it seems like mixed-race couples have the privilege of choosing a race of convenience for their kids.

The way I understand it,
Chinese or Chinese-Caucasian = Chinese for government policies
Caucasian or Caucasian-Chinese = Other for government
Eurasian = Other for government
So basically we are choosing whether baby is Chinese or Other?

How is mother tongue at primary school determined for Eurasian or Caucasian children?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 02 May 2012 8:37 pm

Since I went to war with the MOE in 1986, if the father is Caucasian then the mother tongue will normally be English provided that is, in fact, his mother tongue (as was the case in my situation). However, that wasn't our problem. Our problem was the 2nd language. As my wife is Tamil, they tried to make my daughter take tamil as the 2nd language. I beat 'em with their own rules as they state: If the child take their mother tongue at 1st language level, they have their choice of 2nd language. Wasn't too many Western father children in the local school system back then, so they had a problem when confronted with a child who was taking English as Mother Tongue as first language. I won, and my daughter and later my son both took Mandarin as their 2nd language. While the do not speak Tamil, they understand it fluently as well but will answer in English.

The mother tongue is determined by the father's race/language. Or at least it was. With the new hyphenated races that may have changed now to facilitate a bit of fairness. :o

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Postby alexalex » Wed, 02 May 2012 10:39 pm

Thanks SMS. I've been reading up on the MOE and ICA websites and it seems that mother tongue at P1 will now be the first component of the double-barrelled race. If parents do not choose a race when baby is born, mother tongue is de facto based on the father's race (as was the case for your kids).

I know a couple (not sure if S'porean or PR) whose mother tongue is Hindi and whose daughter is studying mother tongue mandarin in P1. Maybe MOE is more flexible these days?

This is what I was looking for :)
http://app4.ica.gov.sg/news_details.aspx?nid=12443
Two changes permitted, once before 21 and once after. So we'll go ahead with Chinese-Caucasian for our kids and they can decide at 21 if they want to change their race later (along with the big decision of which passport to keep!)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 02 May 2012 10:51 pm

If staying in Singapore, the Chinese-Caucasian would work out the best as the mother tongue would then be considered as Mandarin and they could, like most, take English at 1st language level. The added benefit would be later for HDB housing as the Chinese being the overwhelming majority don't feel the effects of the racist policy of the HDB in as much as they can buy most anywhere they like. Turn it around and they become a 2 percenter where you are racially prevented from living where you would like to unless you get damned lucky.

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Postby Splatted » Fri, 04 May 2012 2:04 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:If staying in Singapore, the Chinese-Caucasian would work out the best as the mother tongue would then be considered as Mandarin and they could, like most, take English at 1st language level. The added benefit would be later for HDB housing as the Chinese being the overwhelming majority don't feel the effects of the racist policy of the HDB in as much as they can buy most anywhere they like. Turn it around and they become a 2 percenter where you are racially prevented from living where you would like to unless you get damned lucky.



Though this is off-topic, sometimes it works out financially better to be a 2 percenter.

Yes, Chinese are the overall majority, but COV prices go through the roof on Chinese owned HDB (great if you are the seller, not so great as the buyer)

It's in the 2% (other) category that you often come across better COV prices if you're the buyer.

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Postby carteki » Fri, 04 May 2012 8:58 am

Splatted wrote:Yes, Chinese are the overall majority, but COV prices go through the roof on Chinese owned HDB (great if you are the seller, not so great as the buyer)

It's in the 2% (other) category that you often come across better COV prices if you're the buyer.


Other than the penchant for holding out for insane prices your comment above doesn't seem to make sense (but then in my mind COV is a policy generated fallacy that just serves to make housing unaffordable).

This is how I'd understand the situation: If you're a chinese buyer you have a number of apartments to chose from, so as a buyer you can chose the one that gives you the greatest value.

If you're an "other" you are essentially limited to purchasing apartments from "other" sellers so as not to upset the cookie-cart. This means that you have less choice and the seller has more option to charge a higher price.

Other thoughts?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 04 May 2012 9:30 am

I'm with Kim on this. This is exactly why there are Indians who have gotten PR who are paying such high COV's. These are the ones who are being accused of driving up the prices. But what to do. So many buyers, so few eligible sellers if you are a minority.

Or, you don't get to live where you would like, due to the dearth of places for sale by minorities of your flavour.
Last edited by sundaymorningstaple on Fri, 04 May 2012 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 04 May 2012 9:32 am

carteki wrote:
Splatted wrote:Yes, Chinese are the overall majority, but COV prices go through the roof on Chinese owned HDB (great if you are the seller, not so great as the buyer)

It's in the 2% (other) category that you often come across better COV prices if you're the buyer.


Other than the penchant for holding out for insane prices your comment above doesn't seem to make sense (but then in my mind COV is a policy generated fallacy that just serves to make housing unaffordable).

This is how I'd understand the situation: If you're a chinese buyer you have a number of apartments to chose from, so as a buyer you can chose the one that gives you the greatest value.

If you're an "other" you are essentially limited to purchasing apartments from "other" sellers so as not to upset the cookie-cart. This means that you have less choice and the seller has more option to charge a higher price.

Other thoughts?


I interpret it two ways, one logical, one illogical. They also both partially inter-relate:

A) Logical - anyone can buy from anyone, as long as quotas aren't full. When the Chinese quota is full at a specific property, the pool of potential buyers is much smaller, so they can't charge as high of a COV since the demand is lower.

B) Illogical (a.k.a. Kiasu): The Chinese are more likely than other racial groups to pay and charge (and hold out if no one is willing to pay) outrageous COV due to cultural "values".

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 04 May 2012 9:41 am

This would make sense. Assuming stable race quotas, you would expect no divergence in $/COV. So, in the case of Indians say, where their proportion has increased in recent years, you would expect the price of their quota to have increased due to relative scarcity.

But, this shrinks into insignificance against the fact that if SG wanted to control property prices it could.... and all they have done to date is the equivalent of tossing an ice cube at Fukushima.

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Postby alexalex » Fri, 04 May 2012 12:39 pm

How does it work if a mixed-race Singaporean couple buys a HDB together? For example, if a Chinese / Indian couple buys resale, are they considered Chinese or Indian for quota purposes? Just curious!

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Postby beppi » Fri, 04 May 2012 4:21 pm

As far as I know, mixed couples could buy into both partner's quotas.
And my wife's limited research (in her now abandoned attempt to buy a resale HDB) showed the Chinese (her) quota much more often filled than the Other (my) quota.


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