Thursday 8 May 2014

No Indians, No Chinese please!

‘Singapore authorities should realize they are dealing with the citizens of two Asian giants and the two leading economies in the world, which could possibly have repercussions.’

Why do Singaporean landlords avoid Indians and Chinese?
‘Indians always cook smelly curries using too much oil and spices.’
‘Indians and Chinese do not maintain property well. They are not house-proud.’
This is what the Singapore landlords feel about Indians and Chinese. Isn’t it funny a small city state trying to irritate the citizens of two Asian giants. Remember the ultra-rich Indians are driving the global trend of global citizenship or place of residence. One in seven ultra high net worth individuals in the world is an Indian or a Chinese, according to Wealth-X report.

The bias against Indian and Chinese expatriates in Singapore is taking a vicious twist – no Indians and Chinese is becoming an increasingly common clause in rental ads for tenants, with reasons ranging from smelly cuisine to shabby housekeeping. On certain days, one can find more than 100-150 housing advertisements on the website PropertyGuru that clearly states landlords do not wish to rent to Indians or migrants from the People’s Republic of China, according to a BBC report. Many foreign workers have been affected because of the racial bias and several expatriates have described experiencing varying level of discrimination and irritation while hunting for accommodation.

Estate agents confirmed that landlords refuse to rent to Indians and Chinese because, Indians always cook smelly curries and the Chinese tenants, they believe would not maintain the property well.

Mathew Mathews, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies stated, ‘There are stereotypes that people have about different immigrant groups and how responsible they are in terms of the upkeep of a rented apartment.’ There is more to this. There is resentment among Singaporeans who blame foreigners for taking up their jobs, the increase in living costs and a spike in housing prices, even blaming them for adding to traffic chaos.

The incident of Dec 8, which triggered the worst violence in Singapore in 40 years saw several Indians deported and sentenced to various prison terms. The incident sparked strong response on social media, denouncing foreign workers without realizing the ground situation.

Ethnically a diverse nation, Singapore with a population of over five million consists of 74% people from Chinese origin, 13% Malay, 9% Indian and 3% of other groups. And 90% of Singaporean families own their homes, a significant portion of tenants are foreigners.

Singapore authorities should realize they are dealing with the citizens of two Asian giants and the two leading economies in the world, which could possibly have repercussions. I do not know about China, but as far as Indians living abroad in rented homes in Far East, Gulf, Europe, America, Canada, etc take care of the rented property as their own.

They maintain it well, ascetically decorate their homes in traditional Indian or modern style with a welcome feel. For Indians, home is not just a place to reside, eat and sleep; a home is considered sacred almost like a religious place; be it from any community. Well there may be a few who may not maintain rented property, but one cannot generalize it. And as far as cooking and smells of spices and oil, one can say the same about local Singaporeans cooking and smells. The authorities should intervene before things get out of hand.

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