Race won't go away.
Today being the last Sunday of the First (and Last?) Singaporean Circuit Breaker, I'd wanted to talk about wildflowers, and hope, and happier things.
But there are things that sit so heavily in my heart. There are infernos burning away, after having smouldered so long.
I feel at once intensely connected and disconnected from the world's suffering: helpless to stop the heart-ache, the climate-change, the slippery-slope.
I don't have the words, nor the stamina. But I figured i must try to say something, even imperfectly.
Because we must not pretend as if Wuhan, or Hong Kong, or KL, or Minneapolis, are faraway galactic dimensions. There are powerful threads that join us to them too. And so as Citizens of Singapore, and of this Planet, we must try: to read, to feel, to connect; to try.
And so, I try:
There are deep faultlines and fissures here, too. There are layers upon layers. There are turtles, all the way down. And dolphins, and krill, and jellyfish, and whales, too.
We must not sweep these fissures under the carpet. We must not pretend shadows, strikes, sorrow, cannot materialise here.
Race won't go away, in the same way you can't scrub away your gender, or religion, or histories, or upbringing. All of us experience Singapore differently because we are made of these complex different angles and aspects.
So maybe "THE solution" isn't a silver bullet, or a Panadol pill. Maybe the Work we have to do will be painfully slow. Maybe Race is actually a marathon, a tapestry that must - like love, and bread, and kueh - be made and remade again.
Maybe a solution is to listen. To learn how we all experience SG so differently, painfully.
Why? Because we Singaporeans rarely know how to deal with difference. We are used to neat boxes: Left/Right, Non/Communist, CMIO, JC/Poly. We learn nuance quite late.
But maybe we can start now. Maybe we can experiment with diversity.
Maybe we can start drawing new lines too, gently but firmly. Uncle, you cannot say this. Auntie, perhaps...?
Race won't go away. So maybe we must learn, once again, to sit with it. To learn its moods, and shapes, and weave a better story, together.