Why link the war on diabetes to race and not to the socio-economic status of patients?


TODAY’s article, “Getting Malays and Indians to change their eating habits may not be easyIs an absurd report which only reinforces stereotypes.

Journalists simply spoke to a few Indian restaurateurs, a few other Malaysian operators, and a taxi driver who likes to jump when he’s not driving before finding “anecdotal evidence” that there is a lack of healthier food choices for everyone. Malays and Indian communities.

For my part, I eat roti prata maybe twice a month and I visit an Indian restaurant maybe once a month. My diet consists mainly of ‘Chinese’, ‘Western’ and ‘fusion ‘dishes – Singaporean dishes in fact.

PM Lee conveniently pointed out that six in 10 Indians and half of Malaysians over 60 have diabetes, compared to 2.5 out of 10 for the Chinese.

But why give us statistics on diabetes based on race and not on the socio-economic status of the diabetic patient?

It is common knowledge that local Indians and Malays remain somewhat stratified in terms of class compared to other ethnic groups in Singapore. It’s a fact that low-income Singaporeans face challenges in eating healthy, which in turn could make them more vulnerable to diabetes.

If we look at China and India, we see that more Chinese are living with diabetes than in India (11% China, 9% India). Does this mean that the Chinese are more predisposed to diabetes than the Indians?

I think absolutely not!

In addition to socio-economic status, there are other factors, such as genetic predisposition, which must be taken into account in order to properly tackle the disease.

Putting on a racial lens to look at disease is no use. We will lose this war on diabetes if citizens do not receive the right information from those who have it.

Edited and republished with permission from Ravi Philemon’s Facebook post.

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