Lively discussion on race relations at YSA’s seminar

 

More than 50 members from the Sikh and non-Sikh communities gathered to discuss race relations at a seminar organised by Young Sikh Association (Singapore) at RELC Singapore on 20 March 2004.

 

Themed “Appreciating Ethnic Differences: Are We There Yet?”, the event provided the participants with a more in-depth understanding of the importance of and the means to maintaining strong ethnic ties in Singapore.

 

The panellists, political scientist Assoc Prof Bilveer Singh, Mr Zulkifli Baharudin, a former Nominated Member of Parliament, and Dr Kwok Kian Woon, a sociologist, spoke on a wide range of issues, ranging from the challenges facing Singaporeans in ethnic relations and the categorisation of the ethnic groups to the importance of the home in promoting racial understanding and the impact of globalisation on race relations.

The presentations were followed by a lively question and answer session lasting close to one and a half hours. The speakers and participants shared their thoughts on a host of issues, including: the impact of September 11 on race relations in Singapore; the so-called glass ceilings; the lack of interaction among young Singaporeans of different ethnic groups and; identifying the ways and means that would bring Singaporeans together so as to create a more united and cohesive community.

 

Speakers and participants alike felt that such seminars were good platforms for bringing members from different ethnic groups together so that they could share their views about their own community as well as gain a better understanding of the other communities. One participant, Reena Kaur, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar. The views expressed by the speakers and the participants were open and frank.” Likewise, Amarvir Singh, a visitor from India, stated: “It is good to discuss such issues as openly as possible as they help towards greater understanding and appreciation of the different races and religions.”

 

Judging from the excellent presentations by the speakers, the entertaining question and answer session and the feedback from the participants, the seminar certainly helped in the further appreciation of ethnic differences in Singapore.


 

 

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