It beggars belief that an interracial Singaporean couple, both of whom are of mixed-race backgrounds, could be accosted in a downtown street in today's multiracial society by a Chinese Singaporean man who told them that they should only be dating people of their own race. There is nothing in the video of the incident that went viral to suggest that the couple did anything to attract the public rebuke and unwanted attention of the individual other than by being where they were - on a pedestrian pathway in Orchard Road. Yet, they were essentially chastised for having overcome racial and other barriers to friendship and companionship - barriers that some in society have erected out of prejudice and bigotry.
This cannot be right. Needless to say, the man who confronted the couple does not represent the majority of Singaporeans. However, the fact that he could make such in-your-face racist statements openly raises deeply troubling questions about the racial sentiments in Singapore, and whether racial tolerance and harmony we enjoy has been taken too much for granted. It is well and good that most Singaporeans believe in the multiracial and multicultural reality of this country and embrace it daily in the everyday aspects of their lives, from the food consumed and the clothes worn, to the different mother-tongue languages spoken and the practice of religious beliefs.