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Singaporean Man Couldn’t Find a Place to Rent because His Wife is INDIAN


Singaporean Man Couldn'T Find A Place To Rent Because His Wife Is Indian - World Of Buzz 3

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Darius and his wife faced great difficulties locking down a place to stay when they decided to move closer to her workplace as she was six months pregnant. However, the reason for this difficulty was pretty shocking.

Darius Cheung is the chief executive officer (CEO) of 99.co, a property listing company that facilitates those looking to rent or buy. He was inspired to set up the company after encountering a huge difficulty securing a place to stay because.. his wife was Indian.

Singaporean Man Couldn't Find A Place To Rent Because His Wife Is Indian - World Of Buzz

Darius was confident when he started his search as Singapore had an oversupply of apartments, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find one that would suit them. But Darius was no longer just a single Chinese man looking for a place to rent.

Falling into the majority (Chinese) population, Darius has never had problems finding a place to stay.

“I began to notice something very odd as we went for these viewing, something I never encountered before, in the dozen years that I’ve been renting.” he wrote.

“On several occasions, the agents seemed eager to end the viewings quickly, sometimes without even discussing the offer. “

He would then text them after to talk about the money, but one response in particular took him by surprise. It read, “Sorry your wife is Indian, landlord won’t rent to you. Next time please indicate earlier, so we both don’t waste time”.

It was suddenly clear what the issue was.

Darius was aware of the discrimination within the country and understood what it meant, but being on the other end of it was a very new and obviously, uneasy feeling for him.

He learnt to change the introduction in his enquiries to ‘Me and my wife, Roshni’ to not leave space for misunderstandings. True enough, from the 30 properties they have enquired, 20% were rejected, solely because of her name.


Singaporean Man Couldn't Find A Place To Rent Because His Wife Is Indian - World Of Buzz 2

“In one case, after the typical vague response of “Profile doesn’t match”, I pushed harder to ask “Is it because my wife is Indian?”, and the response was a dead-pan “Yes, thanks for your understanding”.

It came down to Darius and his wife having to pay 15% above the market price just so they would have a place to stay.

Singaporean Man Couldn't Find A Place To Rent Because His Wife Is Indian - World Of Buzz 1

The incident affected Roshni so much that she contemplated if it would be better if their daughter didn’t carry her surname; since they have previously agreed on a joint last name.

“Should we drop my last name from Shan’s (our daughter’s) IC? It might just be easier for her in the future”, she asked Darius.

Determined that their lives should not be shrouded by their race and identity, he decided to proceed with the last name as planned.

“That night, I decided I could not let my daughter grow up in a society where she has to hide her identity just because “it will be easier”. Not here, as a citizen, in the country of her birth,” he wrote.

From the experience, Darius decided to tackle racial discrimination and bring awareness to the society. He wrote:

“If you google ‘No Indian No PRC’, you will find actual rental listings in Singapore in the top results. The problem is so prevalent that even BBC had extensive coverage on it some time ago.

Enquiries about rental properties often come with a series of profiling questions that includes ‘What race are you?’, ‘Where are you from?’, or outright rejection by stating ‘Profile doesn’t match.’ The top two groups of people who receive discriminatory responses are Indians and PRCs (referring to those from the People’s Republic of China).”

Starting his own company, 99.c0, he launched the REGARDLESS-OF-RACE campaign last year during Racial Harmony Day. With that, 99.c0 now provides an ‘all-races-welcome’ indicator option on their site for agents and landlords. Properties with this indication will have prominent placing in the listings.

“Our hope is that as more and more agents put up ‘All-races-welcome’ listings (and catch the attention of renters who look for these first), it will build momentum to create a more inclusive rental market and landlords will start to realise that it is not just socially unacceptable to discriminate, but also economically unviable.”

Unfortunately, racial discrimination remains, even in the 21st century. Let’s not be one of them.

Knowing how aggravating the racial issue was, Darius adds, “No Indian, No PRC” – Discrimination is real and it’s NOT OK (nor smart)”.

“This is not a new problem, and neither is it a small one.”

“You too can make a difference to oppose racial discrimination by taking your stand.”

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