SKM invites viewers to ruminate on the issues of religious discrimination and xenophobia
Singapore, 27 June 2016 – How do individuals’ experience of living in multireligious Singapore differ based on their religious beliefs? Today, the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) launches the first of a two-part video series, titled “Have You Ever?”, that sets to explore this question. The video features seven participants responding to a list of questions from what is quipped ‘the tennis ball test’, to find out if each of them have observed or personally experienced religious discrimination in Singapore.
In line with SKM’s 2016 theme of “Kindness, It’s Up to Us”, “Have You Ever?” offers a fresh and safe way to talk about sensitive issues that are otherwise difficult to broach, to encourage open and honest discussions of these issues. The second video in this two-part series will tackle the thorny subject of xenophobia, and SKM hopes to prompt viewers to think about the discrimination that still exists in Singapore, despite it being a generally peaceful multiracial and multireligious society.
The “tennis ball test” consists of 25 questions. It invites people to examine their personal experience in relation to xenophobia and religious discrimination, and to get a rare glimpse of how an individual from a different racial, religious or cultural background may have completely different experiences from them. The first part of the test is concerned with negative experiences of discrimination, where participants remove a ball from a canister filled with tennis balls if they have had negative encounters; the second part deals with affirmative action, where participants replaces a ball into the canister if they have had a positive experience.
Participants taking the “tennis ball test”
In Singapore, although people from all walks of life coexist peacefully, discrimination expressed in the forms of derogatory remarks and negative stereotypes is still a day-to-day reality for some, while blatant hostility rears its ugly head ever so often. Unhappy sentiments towards foreigner presence have been brewing for a few years. The fear of religious extremism breeding within Singapore have also misled some into generalising and discriminating against entire religious groups. In light of these issues, the Singapore Kindness Movement believes that it is essential for us to take action to address such harmful sentiments.
General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, Dr. William Wan, says, “When quiet prejudices are swept under the carpet, they are bound to deepen resentment and animosity. If left unchecked, this may potentially tear apart Singapore’s social fabric. These videos demonstrate thorny issues can be discussed and addressed in an open and constructive manner.” SKM hopes that both locals or foreigner, religious or the nonreligious, the people of Singapore will learn to embrace its racial and religious diversity and strive towards creating a more inclusive society.
Have you ever witnessed or experienced an act of religious discrimination? Take the tennis ball test with the Singapore Kindness Movement.