Here ‘Singaporean exceptionalism’ refers to the notion that Singapore is an ‘exceptional country’, whether in terms of its success, or in terms of the challenges it faces. By racial exceptionalism I am referring to the idea that the Chinese are an ‘exceptional race’, to whom Singapore’s success can be attributed.
A friend pointed out that the notion of exceptionalism is also relevant in a racial context because it often the ‘exceptional’ minorities, who have the ‘right kind’ of social, cultural, or financial capital (e.g., English-speaking, goes to a ‘good’ school, has a ‘respectable’ job), that are accepted into mainstream society be the dominant race or culture. The irony is that such ‘exceptional’ people often have to assimilate themselves to the dominant culture to be considered as such. An important thing to keep in mind!