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Brownfacegate: Did you know Shanmugam also said this?

In Public Administration on 05/08/2019 at 11:19 am

In cyberspace, and in particular anti-PAP sites where cybernuts infest, urinate and defecate, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam’s comments on the video up-loaded by local YouTuber and comedian Preeti Nair (known as Preetipls) and her brother, rapper Subhas Nair, have been given a lot of publicity and scorn. The Nairs were superheroes, the cheering cybernuts said.

The video was said by the Nairs to be their response to an ad for a NETS E-Pay campaign tot by many to have committed the offence of “brownface”: a Chinese guy dressed up to be caricatures of the four major racial groupings. (Read this about how S’poreans got divided into four racial groupings: “Malay race” created by ang mohs, not the Malays)

He was quoted as saying, “When you use four-letter words, vulgar language, attack another race, put it out in public, we have to draw the line and say not acceptable.”

And “This rap video insults Chinese Singaporeans, uses four-letter words on Chinese Singaporeans, vulgar gestures, pointing of middle finger, to make minorities angry with Chinese Singaporeans.” (Btw, wow treating us Chinese the way he treated Christians, protecting our sensitivities: in Religious equality, the PAP way, I said Minister Shan treated equally offended Christians as the equals of easily offended Muslims by banning Watain from performing, here he treated us Chinese as being as sensitive as ethnic Indians. Fair chap, this minister.)

Seriously, he also said

Let’s say a Chinese now does a video attacking Indians, Malays using four-letter words, vulgar gestures, same kind of videos,” he told Channel News Asia. “And let’s say there are hundreds of thousands of such videos. How do you think the Indians and the Malays will feel? Would people feel safe? Would the minorities feel safe?

No alt media publication seems to report this. But to fair to alt media, the constructive, nation-building media (that alt media copies and paste from) don’t give much prominence to these remarks.

He has a very valid point about the possibility of Chinese attacking Malays and Indians verbally, hurting their feelings: or worse if they physically attacked them. Doubtless there will calls to protect them, and I’m sure anti-PAP sites like TOC (with writers based in India, not S’pore because of the cost here: TOC: A lot of bull) will say that the PAP govt is not protecting minorities.

Fyi, I have no problems with the ad or the video. Live and let live, I always say. And I’ve lived as part an insignificant minority in London, Sydney and Melbourne: those were the days when Red China didn’t allow its people out. Life was really good as a Chinese in ang moh places. Us Chinese were considered to be model members of polite society, those Hongkies and spit on pavements who cut queues excepted.

How the establishment view the ad, video and Shan’s comments: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/preetipls-ministers-religious-leaders-rap-video-brownface-ad-11766998?cid=h3_referral_inarticlelinks_24082018_cna

How s/o JBJ views the ad, video and Shan’s comments : https://kenjeyaretnam.com/2019/08/01/we-need-to-talk-about-race/

How the BBC views the ad, video and Shan’s comments   https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49205225. And in case you don’t read thru to end, I’ll post the concluding paragraphs:

The country is no stranger to satire, but the liberal use of swear words in K. Muthusamy, and its sharp, direct and caustic tone in discussing racial discrimination, is unusual and would be considered shocking to mainstream Singapore.

But a small and growing number of Singaporeans – many of them young, voracious consumers of online content that has a similar tone to the video – see nothing wrong with it.

This is a group that yearns for a franker and bolder conversation about race, and is frustrated with the careful tones of the discourse in the tightly-controlled local media. They are not content with how mainstream society and the government get to impose a certain definition of racism, and rules on how Singapore should discuss race.

The decision to censor the video and investigate Preetipls and Subhas, coupled with a perception that those who came up with the “brownface” advertisement got off lightly, may only stoke that frustration.

Related post: Indian lady takes issue with charge that Nets ad was “brownface”

  1. how will the estimated foreign 300,000 indian men (mostly from india and malaysia) currently working here view the above event ?

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