Can Speak Chinese, but Rejected for Job that Requires “Chinese-Speaking” Staff: Workplace Discrimination?

This Facebook post alleging racial discrimination at the workplace in Singapore has gone viral, with more than 37,000 views at this time.

In a video, Tharenii Muniandy says that he went interviewed for a job position that required a “Chinese-speaking” candidate.

After replying the interviewer that he could speak Chinese, and answering other technical relations to the job, Threnii said that the interviewer then asked him if he was Chinese.

When he replied that he wasn’t, the interviewer then told him that the company was looking to hire a “Chinese-speaking” staff.

That, said Tharenii, prompted his angry Facebook rant against what he deems as racial discrimination – because even if one can speak Chinese, he still might not get a “Chinese-speaking” job position because he isn’t Chinese.

Tharenii then goes on to speak Chinese in rather fluent Chinese on camera.


Many have since taken to Tharenii’s post to share their own experiences of racial discrimination at the workplace.

Said Shahrain Ibrahim:

“I feel you man. I also can converse quite well in Mandarin. Used to go for interviews & it was all Mandarin speaking, to so called prove that I can really converse in Mandarin. Then they will throw you the Death Card, ‘So you can Read & Write in Mandarin as well?’ For fark sake most of the local here have problem reading & understanding their own characters…”

Said Desiree Krishna:

“Donkey years ago, I was looking for a job right after I left high school and I was flipping through the classified section and came across a position for Data Entry. I called them up and everything was going well over the phone when she asked me if I was a Chinese? I said no , I am an Indian. And she said ‘We are in need of a Mandarin speaking.” And i said, “I can speak Mandarin…” She paused a moment and said ‘No so sorry we only want Chinese…”

Said Selvi Sarawanaan:

“Been there done that before… Actually many of us have been through that phrase. Years ago… Went for interviews and got the same crap… Very disheartening to see these crap still going on… I guess this complaint will go on and on for the next done years…”

Said Hari Rajan:

“You must be joking dude. It happened to me 20 years ago when I was sending out my resumes and employers called me with the same questions. I thought we had moved on from then.”

Others say that if a position states that a “Chinese-speaking” staff is required, then the race of the staff shouldn’t matter so long as the person can speak Chinese.

Said Marc Ban:

“As long as you can speak and understand Chinese or Mandarin , I think it’s good enough. Not unless the job states ‘must be able to read and write mandarin’, then bo pian. I’m Chinese but I can’t read mandarin , so conversational Mandarin be it any race is an added advantage. Actually, it’s a plus point with conversational Mandarin.”

Others, like Joel Yeo, say that racial discrimination is entrenched and is also felt in the army:

“Fact of the matter is that there is thinly veiled racism prevalent throughout Singapore – when i was in the army regulars were openly racist toward the non-Chinese recruits, and I guess it doesn’t come as a surprise that firms in Singapore would be prejudiced against non-Chinese Singaporeans as well.”


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. PAP has the mandate

    March 17, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    This guy should go to Changi Business Park to see what is real discrimation, it looks more like Chennai Business Park.

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