- Do you think that racial integration is important in our modern society? Why?
Ans: Well, of course racial integration is important. Needless to say, I think today’s societies are pretty much built upon this factor. We cannot under any circumstance underestimate the importance of such a thing. It’s like an unspoken rule that we all have to abide by. Seeing that today’s societies depend upon merit and teamwork, I would say that if we, as the human race are to move on in the future, racial integration would be one of the most important things to consider.
- So in that case, do you think that the current state of racial integration is adequate? Why?
Ans: This question is a little subjective. Yes, I would say that the current state of racial integration is adequate. Make no mistake, that doesn’t mean that we can all be contented and complacent, that is were the problems arise. Sure there is a lot of room for improvement, but compared with the past, I think that we have come a long way in terms of racial equality. But remember, we must never stop striving to improve on this and take racial integration for granted, or the years that we spent fighting for human rights and building a multiracial society might just be reversed.
- What do you think is the government’s role in maintaining racial harmony in a society/community?
Ans: Well, I feel that the government has quite a significant role to play. Obvious roles would be the making of laws to help maintain a high standard of racial harmony. Of course there are many other ways, and I would especially like to point out Singapore’s Racial Harmony day for that. Such nationwide events, which encourage racial interaction, are hard to come by in the average country, and I feel that the governments of different countries can greatly help just by laying down such basic yet meaningful events.
- What then, do you think you can do to play a part in the integration between races?
Ans: Well, for starters, we could be more racially gracious. This is a serious matter, but takes the least attention. From the observations I make everyday, normal people, just like you and me, go around making racist jokes. I understand that most of these jokes are just out of humor and are not meant to hurt anyone, but yet many people fail to see that what is funny to you may not be funny to others. Being racially gracious is to respect one another, and I feel that we, as individuals, have a huge role to play.
- Which of the two roles mentioned do you find more important, the government or us? Why?
Ans: If you ask me, neither of the two roles are more important, both of them are equally important. Just think about it, without the government’s promotion of racial education and laws, discrimination would be widespread; yet if the peoples do not obey those laws and learn about inter-racial, nothing would improve, so I would say that both roles are equally important in this sense.
- In your opinion, what is the most important factor in maintaining a good standard of racial integration and harmony?
Ans: I think that the most important factor would be our tolerance and understanding for each other. All things start with understanding. Different races might have different ethics, cultures, customs, etc, and if we do not make any effort to understand each other, I would say that it would be a new breeding ground for distrust.
- How do you feel about current ways of promoting racial integration, such as Racial Harmony Day? (Prompt: do you find it effective or are you skeptical?)
Ans: Well, I find that they are an extremely creative means of getting people of different races together. Despite the fact that I find these events to be meaningful and unique, I question the impact these events have on the people. One shouldn’t expect a person to be swayed just by one event, if you know what I mean. However, these events have my utmost support for at least daring to go out and try something different.
- Do you feel that the standard of racial integration in our society generally can be improved on? Can you give examples?
Ans: Well, of course our society’s standard of racial integration can be improved on. Just like nobody is perfect, we should always strive to improve the (imperfect) standard of racial integration that we have today. Proof of our current need for improvement would be the recent Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) rallies, which attempted to draw attention to socioeconomic plight of Indians in Malaysian society due to its New Economic Policy, which is a policy that gives Malays special social and economic rights. I feel that such things are living examples of why we still need to improve upon our standard of racial integration.
- Seeing the numerous racial conflicts that arose in the past, and even those in the present, why do you think such things happen? Do you think that all these can be avoided if all of us promote a racially understanding, integrated and harmonious community?
Ans: Yes, I do feel that those racial conflicts could very well have been avoided. As I said before, understanding is important, and if we manage to fully integrate the different races living in this world, racial conflicts could very well become a thing of the past.
- Based on your point of view, can you foresee any possible negative impacts of racial integration? (If yes: What would those be?)
Ans: No, I can see no negative effects.
- If you were ever given a chance to do your part for racial integration, what would you do for the community?
Ans: This is a tricky one (laughs). Well, I think I could start by going around the neighborhood during Racial Harmony Day and getting neighbors of different races to get to know one another better, you know, organize some form of get together. So that’s what I wish to do.