I am Chinese, and I can tell you that being local Chinese confers upon myself certain benefits.

Firstly, it opens me up to more jobs opportunities due to the language I learnt in school. Of course, if a parent insisted as some of my friends did, they could have studied Mandarin instead of their Mother Tongue (Usually Malay or Tamil) but that rarely occurred.

Secondly, culturally I share more in common with other Singapore Chinese than I do with a Malay or Indian in Singapore. This association is a benefit that can be overcome by anyone of any race in my opinion, but it’s still a benefit.

Thirdly, especially for Malays, I was given opportunities in National Service that a Malay would not have been granted easily. This is one of the more discriminatory actions taken by the Singapore government and one that is slowly fading (hopefully). I can see how these opportunities make me more desirable as a employee, or allow me to make friends of certain segments prior to adult life. NS friendships and associations are one the major lifelong attachments.

Ask any Chinese and they will say there is no innate privilege being a Chinese majority in Singapore, but that’s because it’s hard to put oneself in the shoes of say a Malay minority. I am sure some Malays do feel the effects of this Privilege.


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