Posts Tagged ‘Multiculturalism’

Typical Chinese reaction to “brownface” ad/ Cina also can get upset

In Uncategorized on 07/08/2019 at 11:41 am

If you are familiar with the comments made (Letter to ST’s Forum) skip it and read the rest of my piece. Promise you it’s worth reading.

When I first saw the “brownface” advertisement, my initial reaction was that it was a rather interesting (and perhaps even intelligent) advert, in that it was trying to show that whether we are Chinese, Indian, Malay or Eurasian, deep down we are the same, as the same person was used to portray the different races (Why depicting ‘brownface’ characters is no joke, Aug 3).

I also thought, by using the same character, the message was that in Singapore, even though we may be of different races, fundamentally, we are the same people and, therefore, should be united and be treated the same.

It does not matter if a person is Chinese, Malay, Indian or another race. It is always possible to construe a message in different ways.

A simple statement like “this dish is interesting” can be interpreted to mean it is unique, it is something which I will not want to try again, or it is tasty.

I just wonder if the (silent) majority of Singaporeans may have thought that the advert was quite innocuous.

I also wondered if perhaps the reason the same person was used was for cost saving?

Joseph Tan Peng Chin

Above appeared in ST’s Forum on Monday

I agree with the writer and so do many other Chinese (including TRE readers) going from their commentswhen TRE used Indian lady takes issue with charge that Nets ad was “brownface”.

But I have to disagree with the writer that the casting had to do with cost. I’ll explain in another post why.

When I sent to a FB friend, he asked me what did two of these three links in article had to do with S’pore

I told him that the two showed that ethnic Chinese could be thin-skinned and as vicious as the Nairs.

Finally, from a bunch of Yale-NUS College students

In the past week, Singapore has been ablaze with controversy and debate over the brownface Mediacorp ad campaign and the police investigation into the rap video response by Preetipls and Subhas. As a community of students concerned with Singapore’s civil democracy and racial discourse, we at CAPE are disappointed by the knee-jerk reactions of censorship and blind condemnation, instead of discourse and a sincere attempt to understand and reflect upon the experiences of racial minorities in Singapore.

CAPE presents a primer of 6 infographics reflecting on racism as more than just some “western SJW thing”, discourse versus censorship, and questions to ponder with the state planning an enhancement of current judicial firepower in regulating race and religion.

(Of course they have to be PC: their grades depend on it. I’ll critick the piece some other time.)


Defining “S’poreaness”, Msian Cina can help

In Uncategorized on 27/06/2014 at 5:01 am

Last Sunday. a friend posted on Facebook,  At an Indian wedding, complete with lots of Tamil references [presumably in English as my friend doesn’t speak Tamil] and dancing, where the couple and families are Christian, and they just did a yam seng. Wonderful stuff.

Uniquely S’porean, my FB avatar commented.

Coincidentally, on 20th June, I had gone to Gillman Barracks to view “No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia is the first touring exhibition of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, a multi-year collaboration that charts contemporary art practices in three major geographic regions: South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. Presenting recent works by artists from the region, No Country introduces audiences to some of the most challenging and inventive voices in South and Southeast Asia today.”

Two photographs by M’sian artist Vincent Leong had a lot of relevance to Siow Kum Hong’s comments on Facebook and S’poreans on-going rows on what is it to be S’porean, a country where a govt-linked organisation intervened to help FTs prevent locals from cooking curry: worse it was proud of the fact, until S’poreans objected.

When the guide  (very gd BTW in bringing to live the exhibition . Sorry, I was amiss in not asking her name, though I did thank her for a job well done) asked me what I tot of the photos, I said I found the photos weird. They were familiar yet strange. One was of an Indian family and the other of a large group of people of different races. Both were done in the style of imperial British photos but were of ordinary people*.

She explained that the large group were all members of an extended ethnic Chinese family, even if some didn’t look particulat Chinese ones. In both photos, she pointed out (silly me not to have noticed) that the ethnic Indian and Chinese families were wearing Malay dress: more formal in the Indian portrait, very casual in the other.

The artist it seems was trying to explore what it was to be a M’sian, a country where hardline elements, and the ruling elite of the majority ethnic community claim to be arbiters of who is a real M’sian.

This exploration has relevance here where the immigrant polices of the govt could lead to a revisiting of a situation that one LKY once called for action to remedy.

In 1959, LKY reported that only 270,00 out of the 600,000 voters were born here, adding ,”we must go about our task (of building up a nation) with urgency … of integrating our people now and quickly”.

And now after having built a core citizenry, the same PAP govt is returning us to the past? Nation-building was an “honest mistake? Or Mao’s doctrine of “perpetual revolution” in action? Or muddled thinking of third-rate minds?


*The guide later explained that the photos were modeled on a colonial era photo of Malay royalty. And that the recent photos were made to look and feel old. She showed us a copy of the original photo of the Malay royals. A constructive suggestion: while her paper visual aids were effective, maybe if there is the budget, the guides should be provided with tablets (large screes pls) as this is contemporary art. Unless of course, the use of paper in plastic folders is meant to jar. LOL




The curry thickens

In Political governance on 18/08/2011 at 6:49 am

Wah lan! “Cannot eat curry when FTs are home” happened 6- 7 yrs ago. So now we know that for at least more than 6- 7 yrs,  the Community Mediation Centre has been telling locals that complaining FTs can’t stand curry. This is even earlier than the “Foreigners 1st, 2nd and 3rd; locals last” policy that was introduced by the government. I hate to think what the CMC were doing after MM said in 2009 that S’poreans were daft and lazy while PRC FTs were “the salt of the earth”.

OK I exaggerate.

But the law minister and his ministry still don’t get it.

What upsets and annoys the respectable netizens of cowtowns is that CMC raised the issue with the local family. It should have told the FT family, “S’pore is a multi-racial, multi-cultural society. Preparing and eating curry is part of everyday S’pore life. As guests here, if you can’t stand the smell, pls find another apartment.”

Instead it conveyed the complaint to the local family. And initially gave the MediaCorp free-sheet the impression that it proudly “pressured” the local family. Of course, it now denies pressuring the family. But that’s to be  expected. It would say that, wouldn’t it?

Even so, the fact that it wanted to publicise the incident of it telling the local family of the complaint, tells us that it is not willing to tell FTs that they,as guests, must be sensitive to their host.

Or maybe, the minister and ministry get it. They are just trying to throw curry powder over the issue of the insensitivity of the CMC towards locals.

I hope Lina Chiam raises the issue when parliament opens. The WP MPs will have better things to do. WP MP Pritam Singh implies that the WP wants to be in a coalition with the PAP after the next election.

Related post:

The insensitivty of an official currying FTs over locals

In Political governance on 11/08/2011 at 8:17 am

I was appalled when I read u/m in Today recently.The mediator leans on a local Indian family to stop cooking curry when their PRC neighbours are at home. Reason, the FTs don’t like the smell of curry. Now if the Indian family cooks curry at the wrong time, they can sued by the PRC couple. Do they have to knock on the PRC couple’s door to check if they are in before they cook curry? The mind boggles.

This is carrying matters too far. The PRC couple should be told that S’pore is a multicultural, multicultural place, where curry is a staple food. If they can’t stand the smell, they should move on to another apartment, where there are no curry smells to offend them.

Worse, the mediator is proud that she pressured the S’porean Indian family to accomodate this most unreasonable request. She should be ashamed of herself.

Finally. as  the Community Mediation Centre is funded by us the tax payers, are we supposed to fund the Ms Giams of the world so that they can allow FTs to lord it over us? Seriously, the centre and Ms Giam act the way they do because of the signals that they perceive they are getting from the government.

Is the message they think they are getting is, “S’poreans are daft, FTs are tua kee”?

The government should send a clear message: S’pore is a multiracial, multicultural society, where foreigners are welcomed but must fit in. Are well, pigs are likely to fly before this happen. Witness PM’s message, “Let’s not turn negative on foreigners”. How abt him telling dad not to keep sending the message that FTS are tua kee, locals are daft and lazy?

What next? S’poreans can’t eat durians or blachan because the smell offends the FT neighbours? Or Ms Giam bullying S’poreans to accept that public spitting is OK becauses FTs do it?

A family, who had just moved here from China, had resorted to mediation because they could not stand the smell of curry that their Singaporean Indian neighbours would often cook. The Indian family, who were mindful of their neighbour’s aversion, had already taken to closing their doors and windows whenever they cooked the dish, but this was not enough.

“They said: ‘Can you please do something? Can you don’t cook curry? Can you don’t eat curry?’,” said Madam Marcellina Giam, a Community Mediation Centre mediator. But the Indian family stood firm. In the end, Mdm Giam got the Indian family to agree to cook curry only when the Chinese family was not home. In return, they wanted their Chinese neighbours to at least give their dish a try.