The dust has settled on all things National Day, but while we were reveling in patriotism, a socially-minded arts collective made up of young Singaporeans called Unsaid conducted a social experiment to start a conversation about privilege—not just on the racial front, but all aspects of it in Singapore.
This social experiment, entitled The Privilege Walk, is meant to show what privilege is in a more visual way. It’s a topic that people don’t really talk about here in Singapore (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter), unless something related to it is reported in the mainstream media. Meritocracy and equal opportunities are two things that are always championed in Singapore, but this experiment shows the clear disparity that still exists here; something that’s often overlooked and rarely discussed.
After seeing different forms of the experiment conducted in various schools and communities in the United States, Unsaid decided to run a Singaporean version of it. They gathered 16 people between the ages of 21 and 26 from various racial, religious and family backgrounds, who would start at the same line, and move either forward or backward, depending on their answers to 35 questions on privilege and disprivilege. Hard-hitting and bold questions about feeling unsafe to confront a situation where they’re uncomfortable about a joke or a statement related to race, gender and appearance, and being bullied or discriminated against based on their country of origin, were asked.
One of the participants said after the experiment, “We are all Singaporeans, so I expect[ed] our ending positions to be roughly the same. But in actual fact, it defers by quite a bit.” See the results in the video below: