'My classmate told me I'm brown so I'm not S'porean': Father of girl, 5, shares her experience with discrimination

She is happier and stronger now.

Fasiha Nazren | June 05, 2020, 12:41 PM

As the Black Lives Matter movement is gaining attention all over the world, some Singaporeans have also used the opportunity to bring about awareness of microaggressions in our own country.

On June 2, one Lijesh Karunakaran shared his five-year-old daughter's experience as a citizen in Singapore.

'Am I not Singaporean?'

One day, his daughter, Mayuki, approached him and asked:

"Am I not a Singaporean?"

When he asked why she asked such a question, she told him that a classmate of hers had told her that.

"Because my classmate told me I am brown, so I am not a Singaporean," she said.

A few days later, a similar incident happened.

In Mayuki's school, students are paired up with a buddy and are told to hold hands and help one another.

Her buddy in school refused to hold her hand as he was afraid that he would "become black" if he were to do so.

After she recounted the incident to her father, the young girl asked: "Why did he say that?"

Initially, Lijesh didn't know how to reply to her question.

After a while, he could only explain that perhaps her buddy didn't know that skin colours do not mix.

Too 'dark' for rainbow dress

Another time, the family went shopping when Mayuki spotted a rainbow dress that she liked.

However, the dress displayed was not in her size.

Before Lijesh could ask for another size, a salesperson allegedly passed them a pink dress in Mayuki's size.

When he asked if she had the rainbow dress in her size as Mayuki preferred it, the salesperson apparently said:

"We have it in her size but pink is nicer for her.

Rainbow colours are very vibrant. Your daughter is dark. Take this pink one, this is nice for her."

Lijesh then retorted: "I have told you that my daughter like the rainbow coloured one. You don't have to tell me which colour is good for her."

Before walking out of the shop empty-handed, he advised the salesperson to not make such comments in front of a child.

The family then went to another shop to get the same rainbow dress for Mayuki.

Photo from Lijesh Karunakaran's Facebook page.

Stronger and happier

After getting the dress, Mayuki pondered and asked her father if the pink will look better on her.

He poignantly replied:

"All colours look great on you. Pink, blue, white, black... All colours look good. But the rainbow colours look perfect!"

Thankfully, all these incidents which happened a few months ago have made the young girl "stronger and happier".

Lijesh added in his post that he has used these incidents as an opportunity to give her a lesson on race and nationality and that "skin colour doesn't define us".

You can find his full post here:

Top image from Lijesh Karunakaran's Facebook page.