Is Tolerance Anathema to Fascists? - the case of singapore"The unnerving irony of it all is, when fascists are rightfully banished to the periphery, it is for their efforts to promote racial supremacy and incite racial hatred. But when fascists occupy the halls of power, it is those whom oppose them whom will be deemed to be guilty of inciting racial hatred. For that is when fascism, through socialisation, takes on the term of 'culture' whilst being associated with a particular race, and henceforth, all critique will be deemed as insensitive and racist." ~ ed
To my British comrades, the reason why I tend to speak much about Singapore, and Confucian/Legalist culture, is that the former is what I deem to be one of the few, if not only, successful post-fascist states – imagine the United Kingdom having been ruled by the BNP for half a century, and you have Singapore – and the latter is a non-gaseous version of Nazism.
Don’t be fooled by the ‘opposition’ or their ‘democratic’ bloggers and writers either for they are, to the core, abject fascists themselves ‘regardless of race, language or religion’ – as the phrase goes in the national pledge of allegiance. The litmus test of this alleged condition is very easily found in their passing off as insignificant that which would see the empathetically-inclined in the United Kingdom kicking up quite the furore via placards, headlines and upturned fingers historically used to add value to the longbow.
The best defence that Singapore has afforded the oriental brand of neo-Nazism is having it associated with racial identity and ‘culture’ and affording it the protection of cultural tolerance. In other words, the fascist perspective was not promoted as an external philosophy that had to be taken on for the upliftment of oneself, but as part and parcel of one’s history, culture, and therefore, race. In this sense, it is worse than Nazism as even they could form an axis with the Japanese and Italians whilst appealing to Nazis across the western hemisphere – today, that identity has been taken on by the global capitalist elite. With Confucian/Legalist fascism, it was strongly identified with ‘race’, ancient culture, and even physical similarity. And for the information of the British reader, ‘China’, in Mandarin, translates as ‘Middle Kingdom’; there is a historical understanding that difference is barbarity and that all civilised people would naturally follow a cultural and political centre; and that a ruler is deemed to posses the ‘Mandate of Heaven’ if he can maintain his rule by any means necessary – and which quite explains Chinese behaviour in Tibet and Xinjiang. Historical replicationism and cultural perpetuity is part and parcel of the Confucian/Legalist scheme of things. As one Chinese historian once stated proudly in a documentary I watched years ago, ‘Chinese history is past, present, and future’.
In this, the Chinese whom migrated to other lands were yet again chained to the fascist ideology of the 2000 year old Confucian/Legalist philosophy by their rulers. I’ve often pitied them. Having left China for other lands, having had the opportunity to become Chou again and reinstate popular intellectual individualism reminiscent of the period in Chinese history known as ‘a 100 schools of thought’ through integration with and appreciation of difference, they had the following Qin system of thoughtlessness thrust upon them yet again by ‘enlightened’ statesmen who appealed to their insecurities in a foreign land or a changing socio-cultural epoch by affording them the ‘feel-good’ boost that comes with identification with a historical lineage of ancient and proud times. And in going back to a past borne of cultural and racial singularity – of which the Great Wall and the Forbidden City are quintessential illustrations of – they were led to shun all in the present that didn’t fit with the past for the sake of economic progress. In this, they were spared the tedium of thought that accompanies ‘accommodation and adaptation’ (considering new information and modifying one’s pre-existing formulae for making sense of reality) as opposed to ‘assimilation’ (which enables one to make sense of things with pre-existing formulae, and which leads to discounting of all phenomena that can be ignored with impunity).(refer, Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development). Hence, in the face of the novel, they could just ‘get on with it’ by simply leaving politics in a globalised milieu in the hands of ‘the professionals’ – as it always had been in China. In this, the forcibly Confucianised and Legalised Chinese set the stage for the discounting of more information as was afforded by a globalised experience. And their economic success served to further validate this exclusionist perspective and its relevance on a global stage where previously it was only relevant within China. That is why, for instance, the dichotomy between ‘western democracy’ and ‘asian democracy’ began to make increasing sense amongst a people whom had learnt to see no sense in difference and reduce cultural validity to its economic utility. Hence, because they were taught to appreciate themselves as nothing other than the Qin version of ‘Chinese’, they could not but see all difference as nothing but a discountable and dispensable ‘minority’.
Personally, I’ve associated with numerous Chinese in school, the army, the workplace, and social and familial arena, but when applying the aforementioned litmus test, It served, without exception, as an indictment as opposed to an exoneration, of the fascist character of every single one of them. My only egalitarian and democratic experience in Singapore was confined to experiences in Church in the 70s and with Indian gangsters in the 80s – the former was, at that time, quite westernised as the government had yet to begin their pogrom against western values and difference, and the latter seemed to reflect the democratic and inclusive ethos of India. But the question I was forced to ask thereafter, was how is it that given that everyone I knew was a fascist, I was still able to get along quite well with them. The short answer: I knew my place as ‘a minority’ and didn’t expect that which was deemed to be the right of a race-defined ‘majority’. This perception was also complemented with, and founded on, ‘being tolerant of other cultures’. When both are put together, it can have the effect of keeping one silent and even unawares of ultra-right wing attitudes and policies – ‘I’m a minority, so I cannot expect equality but I must respect all cultures, so it’s alright for them to prefer themselves as opposed to me’. And if this wasn’t enough, there was also the threat of ‘detention without trial’ if one was to ‘incite racial hatred’ by speaking about ‘sensitive matters’. Looking at how things have turned out, this translates to ‘inciting frustration by speaking about bigotry’. Biases were thus institutionalised the culture of a ‘majority’ defined by ‘race’ and all critique henceforth became ‘racist’.
This set the stage for the refinement and institution of a wholly fascist brand of tolerance. We have to be tolerant of different others. We must not be critical of the culture of others. So, in other words, if the Chinese were to be taught to prefer to saturate the media, beauty pageants, jobs, top positions in all industries, with ‘one of the majority’; prefer to work with ‘mandarin-speakers only’; if the government excluded all non-Chinese from the premiership, brought in Chinese from the mainland to maintain a racial ‘balance’ in favour of ‘the majority’ because they were ‘pragmatic and hardworking’; amongst a myriad of other instances, the people had to be ‘sensitive’ to these cultural proclivities because it was part of their culture to prefer themselves. And if one was to criticise the intellectual stupor that is a scientifically verifiable corollary of monoculturalism, it would be deemed ‘racist’ – and the intellectual deficiencies of a people suffered a monocultural experiences are indeed quite brow-raising. All deficiencies were given the whitewash of ‘being a Singaporean trait’ as opposed to being a Chinese one emerging from decades-long top-down association between ‘being Chinese’ and being ‘Confucian/Legalist’. This cultural stance and ensuing consequences were thus rendered impervious to critique out of ‘respect and tolerance of other cultures’. And as this became the overarching culture, it became a self-fullfilling prophecy that did indeed, and eventually, turn it into a Singaporean trait ‘regardless of race, language or religion.’ – contemporary Indians are intellectually and creatively a far cry from the Indians I knew in the 70s and 80s and from the Indians of south India. Putting it simply, the rulers taught the Chinese people to be monocultural and thus made it the culture of the Chinese. Hence, all criticism against monoculturalism and its consequences became ‘racist’ or could be accused of ‘inciting racial hatred’. In this, the Chinese became victims who simultaneously serve as the Great Wall against critique of monoculturalism.
Tolerance, in this sense, becomes the means via which racial supremacy can advance with impunity. And those whom have been incorporated into this Qin version of ‘Chinese’ cannot be accused of being intolerant of difference either, since they impose no proscription on the cultural expressions of others. They just simply pay it no mind whilst being overtly mindful of their preference for their own. And if the government did curtail others’ cultural expressions or calls for integration and equality, it was always for the sake of economic prudence or ‘integration’ – such as forbidding the Malays and Indians from studying Mandarin because they had to be versed in their own language for the purpose of engaging in entrepreneurial ventures in Malay and Indian speaking countries; or forbidding the Malays from wearing the hijab/tudung/Islamic headdress in schools for the sake of integration whilst promoting only one culture without. All good was thus applied paradoxically and the masses were thwarted from appreciating its significance by being simultaneously incorporated into the mindset that significance was rightfully the reserve of a race-defined majority. In fact, seeing a similar approach across the causeway in Malaysia where the Malays did unto the Chinese and Indians that which the Chinese did unto the Malays and Indians in Singapore fed the pervasive notion that it is natural that a race-defined majority behave in such a manner – thus the personally oft-heard defence of racism, ‘everywhere also like that what!’
So thus, overtime, biases were institutionalised as culture, whilst this culture was made a part of a particular ‘race’. This afforded the fascist state of Singapore the protection of ‘cultural tolerance’ whereby the critique of fascism became simultaneously the critique of the practices and perspectives of a ‘Chinese’ who’ve been taught to view difference as anathema and China’s culture as definitive of ‘civilisation’. Thus, in respect of cultural tolerance, all critique, and the propensity to even be critical of it, was muted, and this delivered ‘racial harmony’ where the Chinese argument for racial and cultural supremacism is stated with a simple and arrogant, ‘we majority what!’, whilst the others became apologists with a, ‘they majority what!’.
Thus, today, Singapore is a highly ‘tolerant’ society with great ‘harmony’ between the ‘majority’ and the ‘minorities’ whom have all accepted the racially-ordered hierarchical status quo as God-given, or aptly, Heavenly-Mandated. Of course, all that the west sees is this ‘harmony’ and the absence of an Asian version of western skin-headed boot-boys, confederate flag-flying rednecks, or cross-burners in their pointy headed bed sheets, since the most obvious example of the intolerance of difference takes these forms in the west. But what if the fascist cause can be advanced without these blatant examples of aversion to difference? Singapore is quite the text-book in that respect.