How are you doing in heaven? I hope you are doing fine. I first read about you in secondary school when browsing my CD encyclopedia. I was attracted by your “I have a dream” speech. Your charisma drew my attention and fueled my interest to read up more about you. I suppose children in America study about you and your work at early age. But children in Singapore weren’t given this chance to know more about you. You weren’t on our textbook. I was a history student. I spend 1/4 year studying about the history of America. We study about the great depression and World War 2. Sadly, the ministry of education didn’t include Martin Luther King in our syllabus.
Sometimes I wonder if I would have known you if not for that encyclopedia of mine. I must say, your vision and courage inspired me greatly.
I’m not sure how bad things were back in the day when you made that speech on August 28, 1963. But inequality and racism still exist, not only in America, but all over the world. Singapore, despite being a multi-racial society, also has its share of racism and inequality. Last year, 3 racist blogger were brought to court and received their punishment for posting racist comments. But they are just the tip of the ice berg. Racism still exists in this tiny dot of South East Asia.
Last month, a Singaporean was attacked and robbed in Johor Baru, Malaysia and require several stitches on his head. Yes, the robber is wrong. But what follow was a bunch of racist comments by my fellow Singaporeans against our neighbors. Is it required? Maybe the crime rate at Johor Baru is higher than Singapore, but does that mean all Malaysians are criminals?
During New Year Day countdown, there was a big party along Orchard Road, Singapore’s downtown and shopping district. There were few female bloggers who claim that many Indian foreign workers use spray foam to blind their eyes and molest them while blinded. Some call for the banning of foreign workers to such New Year Day party in the future. But the problem is, it is not just the foreign workers who are behaving rowdy. Some locals are also behaving in a disorderly manner. But why did everyone target the foreign workers? I guess it is because of the colour of their skin.
Racism exists in every part of the world. People just couldn’t stand another different race. I admit making nasty comments about other races sometimes, but I don’t have any ill intentions. Perhaps those were just words of frustrations. But the situation in Singapore is not as bad as other parts of the world. We don’t have racial riots like the one that took place in Australia beach last month. We only have people who make nasty racist comments. Most people in Singapore still live in harmony with friends of other races. Maybe it is just a few black sheep that is making us look ugly.
Sir, it has been nearly 40 years since you had that dream. I often told my friends that someone had a dream 40 years ago and it is still a dream now. Your dream of one day where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” is still, sad to say, far from reality. Perhaps until one day when humans are being threatened by another alien race will we finally be able to put down our differences and stand together as one united front.
Sometimes I wonder if this dream will ever come true. But it is a good dream. It is a good dream worth working towards.
Happy Birthday Sir. May your dream come true one day.