The family owning the unit has reached out to TISG to clarify the matter:Hi, I’m the daughter of the owner of the flat mentioned in this article and wish to clarify the issue:My mother is in her 80’s and communicates mainly in Hokkien and Mandarin. When we seek a tenant, we need someone she can communicate with as she is the only occupant/owner there. That is the only reason she told the agent that she could not take on an Indian tenant.She does have friends of other races, but they don’t live with her and if they have any difficulty talking, at least their exchanges are usually only about food and simple things. With a tenant, however, there are practical day-to-day matters where a common language is needed. Previous experience with other tenants has made this a decision we had to hold to.The person who was in contact with Adeline, was someone who took on the role of agent. He clearly has poor communication skills and failed to expand on the reason why my mother could not entertain Adeline’s request to check out her rental property. I can understand Adeline’s dismay and frustration on receiving this rude and, apparently, clearly racist-sounding, rejection.When we got wind of this news that’s been going around social media, a few hours ago, we immediately got a hold of the “agent”, to clarify the issue with Adeline. I enclose a screenshot of her response. As you can see, she accepted the reason for her rejection and also apologised for “causing such an inconvenience” to the agent and the owner (my mother).As far as we are concerned, the matter is over. I would appreciate your publishing this as an update on the issue so that the public stops reacting to it and the matter doesn’t blow up any further than it has already.Please note that my mother is recuperating from 2 fractured arms and really does not deserve to have to deal with any visits from anyone who may have gotten a hold of our address, because of this piece of news.
Update: The Facebook seller has responded to TISG, explaining that the elderly flat owner is a woman who is around 80 years of age.
“She is Chinese and can’t speak English very well—only dialects and Mandarin.” Given this, it was the owner’s preference to find a tenant who would be able to communicate in the same dialects or language. Therefore, in order to avoid a “communication problem,” the listed seller said “Other races (were) rejected.”
He further highlighted that when it comes to the elderly, their preferences have to be understood. “Some tenants work in hospital(s) or healthcare, (and) it’s also very hard for them to accept. They have the right to choose who they want to rent out to—not just anybody who wants to rent their room.”
A screenshot showing a registered SGH nurse being denied a flat rental on the basis of her race has recently been circulating. Thousands have expressed their outrage over this alleged incident.
A Twitter user on Tuesday (Jul 6) shared her jaw-dropping experience looking for a flat. The rental, located in Queenstown, is posted on Facebook Marketplace and advertises a common room for one female tenant.
According to the description, currently living in the flat are two females — the owner, whose nationality is listed down as Chinese, and another tenant, whose nationality is listed down as Malaysian Chinese.
At the bottom of the listing is a note that advises people to report the post if it is discriminatory.
In the Twitter post, a screengrab was shared of an inquiry made to the flat’s listed seller. After introducing herself as Adeline, she gave some of her background information, saying she’s from Malaysia, has a work permit, and is registered as a nurse at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
In response to this, the Facebook seller is seen to have asked for her race.
After replying that her ethnicity is Indian, the listed Facebook seller’s curt response was “Tks (Thanks), owner rejected your race.”
Taking her sentiments about the situation to social media, Adeline wrote, “(I don’t know) about the rentals in Malaysia, but in Singapore th(ough)…it’s f*cked up.”
Hundreds rallied behind Adeline, some expressing their sympathies and others sharing their own similar experiences in solidarity. One Twitter user pointed out, “For all the good things in Singapore, racism is still a huge problem.”
TISG has reached out to both parties for comment and clarification.