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Cultural Heritage Race 2018 Poster Gets Flak For Being Racially Tone-Deaf On Reddit

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Cultural Heritage Race 2018 Has Race Requirements And A Mandatory Dress Code

Singapore prides itself on being racially harmonious. With members of every race, living together in harmony.

However, it doesn’t hurt to take a refresher course on your fellow countrymen’s culture once in a while.

A Redditor, however, posted what some have called a racially “tone-deaf” and “controversial” event poster in the r/Singapore thread.

To make matters worse, the People’s Association (PA) and Citizens’ Consultative Committees’ (CCC) logos are displayed prominently on the poster.

Yyyyep, I can’t think of any way this could be controversial at all. from r/singapore

In case you can’t see it, here’s the poster up close:

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Team game with a catch

The poster outlines the programme for this year’s Cultural Heritage Race 2018, organised by PA and CCC.

Participants are to venture within the “Hari Raya Bazaar” and “Geylang Serai Heritage Trail” to discover “nuggets of cultural information”.

In teams of 3, with a minimum of:

  • “1 Non-Malay Local-Born Singaporean”

AND

  • “1 New Singaporean Citizen” OR
  • “Singapore Permanent Resident” (SPR) OR
  • “Employment Pass (EP)”

That’s not all

If that’s a strange requirement on a poster, or race for that matter, get this.

A few rules were listed on the poster as well.

  • If you’re a male participant, get a “songkok” and adorn it during the race.
  • If you’re a female participant, get a “selendang”and adorn it during the race.
  • Participants who don’t adorn the “songkok” or “selendang” will be disqualified from the race.
  • Bonus points for those who wear the full traditional Malay Baju Kurung, Kebaya.

Finally, all participants were required to attend the prize presentation ceremony at the end of the race.

Is it just me, or does the race sound like no fun at all?

More importantly, mandating a dress code to appreciate Malay culture based on gender, basically defeats the very purpose of the race.

Other ads for the same event

A quick search online ran up other ads for the same event.

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This post on SassyMama didn’t mention the dress-up code, but included the citizenship requirements.

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While this ad on All Events In, left out both of those caveats.

Netizens respond savagely

Responses to the poster mostly agreed on one thing — that it was needlessly categorising people and “EQ-less”.

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Some pointed out that the campaign will “die out due to lack or participation”.

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While others clarified that though the event organisers had “good intentions”, the communication could have been better.

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A netizen suggested that there could have been budget-related concerns in creating the programme.

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Or you know, KPI-related ones.

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Better luck next time

Although we’re all for promoting cross-cultural appreciation in Singapore, enforcing race requirements on a light-hearted scavenger hunt, doesn’t seem to be the way forward.

We hope the committee and organisers of this event will regroup after this attempt, to find a more nuanced and sensitive approach for future events.

Featured image from Reddit.

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Joelynn loves writing plays, poems, songs and finger-combing her two precious bunnies. She also believes that two puns are better than none.

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