1 Jul 2006

CMIO categories are just labels: Tarmugi

From TODAYonline:

Derrick A Paulo
derrick@newstoday.com.sg

Should it be the Chinese, Malay, Indian and Others (CMIO) model? Or should it be the Singaporean model?
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Put another way, should the Government encourage Singaporeans to address the state through their ethnicity more than as individuals?
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For some youth, the answer is clear: Strengthen the Singaporean national identity.
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The issues of multiracialism and nation building were raised at a dialogue on Friday between Speaker of Parliament Abdullah Tarmugi and participants in this year's National Youth Forum (NYF).
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Speaking to the media later, they indicated that while racial harmony may be just as important to the youth as the Government, the approach could differ.
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"Mr Abdullah doesn't see anything wrong with the CMIO model ... My take is that it doesn't take something to be wrong to change it … if there are people on the ground who feel that it matters to them," said Mr Joshua Teo, 26, an architecture student.
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"When the Prime Minister said that we want to be a more open and inclusive society, then some of these small issues would go a long way to encourage people to speak up and play a bigger role."
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Ironically, one concern among the 90 participants is how the state discourse on race affects Singaporeans of mixed heritage.
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Mr Abdullah has Malay and Chinese parentage, and is married to a Chinese Singaporean.
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He told reporters later that the CMIO categories are only "labels".
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"To me, it's not important what you call me. And I told my son not to be bothered if people call him Malay or Chinese. What's more important is how you feel as a Singaporean," he said.
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It was Mr Abdullah who broached the subject of multiracialism and he believes that the NYF participants — and by extension, Singapore youth — "really want to find ways to enhance racial harmony".
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"They will be the leaders of the country. If they feel it serves them better for the sake of building national identity and racial harmony to do away with the CMIO (model), then so be it. To me, the purpose is more important than these labels."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is typical of paulo's writing, a thousand words of waffle, and no message. Please, oh please when is singapore going to discover any real journalists.

Matilah_Singapura said...

What's this? An actual belief that the INDIVIDUAL actually exists?

Spectacular!

Does that mean that we can make racist jokes and post pro and anti religious cartoons soon?

Ah...one can only dream...

Anonymous said...

"To me, it's not important what you call me. And I told my son not to be bothered if people call him Malay or Chinese. What's more important is how you feel as a Singaporean,"

So it's not important what you call James Gomez?