Next up in our Racial Harmony Awareness month series, we’d like to hear stories from our Eurasian peers. From facing discrimination due to their race, to advocating for more mental health support in Singapore, let’s hear what our Eurasian peers have to share about their experiences and hopes for the future. Names have been changed to protect the identity of our interviewees.
1. Have you ever experienced discrimination because of your race in Singapore? If yes, can you give an example?
Yes, in school as a student (about 40 years ago) some teachers showed favouritism towards the main ethnic group and Eurasian students were often not selected for leadership roles and were often picked on by teachers.
Yes. The discrimination is not overt, e.g I am asked, “You what race ah? You Singaporean?” Many do not know what Eurasian is and conclude that I am a foreigner. And if they know that I am Singaporean, speak to me in Mandarin, even when I answer in English.
2. How are mental health issues seen/talked about among your family/community?
In my family, we are very open with discussions about mental health. I cannot speak for the community as a whole.
Mental Health is normalised as medical conditions that require treatment. Eurasians with mental health issues are not shunned. Conditions are spoken about and getting help is encouraged.
3. What kind of support do you wish you had for your community?
I think it would be helpful to have mental health experts from our own community to provide pro bono counselling/therapy to those in our community who are struggling financially.
Apart from mental health concerns which need not be approached demographically, I think the various self-help groups do a good job trying to promote aspects of culture and contributions as well as historical data on ethnic groups. I think the only thing I would see is if the Government reflected their CMIO stance equitably. Meaning rather than Chinese/Malay/Indian/Others, they reflect: Chinese/Malay/Indian/Eurasian. Others may be reserved for new Singaporeans who become a part of our social fabric. The Eurasians have always been an integral part of Singapore even before New citizens like the Filipinos and Indians emigrated here.
4. Would you go for counselling, or what would your family think if you went for counselling?
Yes, I would go. My family would be very supportive and would ensure I or any other family members seek professional help.
I’m a counsellor so I would advocate going to see a counsellor. My family would be concerned but it wouldn’t change their perception of me.
5. What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with mental health issues within your community?
Speak to a professional. Well-meaning family and friends may not give you the best advice.
We’re all beginners when we try something new. Whether it is experiencing a new condition or trying a new activity, we’re bound to ask if we can do it and be filled with self-doubt. Having a mental health condition is like that. All of a sudden, we have a new label and we are filled with some trepidation about whether we are able to be better. Having a mental health condition is not a death sentence; neither does it diminish who you are. You’re not weak or different. You’re just challenged by overwhelming thoughts that focus on a ‘lack of’. And that ‘lack of’ contributes to us feeling bad about ourselves. Seek help. Try it. Where you are now does not describe where you will be in the next year or months ahead.
We thank our two friends for taking the time to share their experiences with us and our fellow readers 🙂
Even though they are small in number, Eurasians have left an indelible mark on many aspects of Singapore life. As one of the smallest minority groups in Singapore, it is crucial that we give them an avenue and platform to be seen, heard and included in Singapore. We hope that this sharing will inspire you to play a part in creating a more inclusive Singapore for everyone!
A Kind Place supports and is welcoming to everyone from all walks of life, gender identity, orientation, and backgrounds. If you have any questions or would like to book a session with us, feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com or WhatsApp us here.