on the Racialising of the outcome of this 'Singapore Idol' thing

ed’s comment on ‘Musings from the Lion City’:

If anything, and especially since the 90s, 'singapore' has been generally partial to those socialised to be 'chinese' as opposed to 'singaporeans'. So, perhaps, the 'chinese' of today aren't used to taking a backseat in just about anything, and hence, the fuss.

Anyway, the Malays are quite advantaged when it comes to singing as they have an added training that the chinese are unfortunately deprived of - reading the Quran - which is quite a boon to training one's voice control and intonational fluidity, amongst others - this also advantages the Arabs, amongst others. The chinese language, however, is relatively constricted, and like their perspectives, quite 'angular' as opposed to 'circular' or 'fluid'.



What i deem unfortunate is that the Malays are still doing well in the ‘Malay thing’ as they were in the past and this has not passed on to prominence in other arenas. We’ve always known that the Malays are quite the animated group of people, individualistic, passionate, fun-loving, curious in the face of difference (more so in the past than present though), amongst others. However, it seems that the canvas upon which this is allowed full expression, given the overarching ‘chinese’ regimented status quo, has served as a Great Wall of sorts penning in differences that aren’t allowed expression across traditional aspirational enclaves given the predominance of a singular and relatively dispassionate and conformity-inclined mindset.

Are people keeping to their allotted place in a racially ordered scheme of things? Are there a disproportionately large number of Indians in the legal profession, or Malays in the song-and-dance arenas? To what degree has the collapse of egalitarian multiculturalism led to, on the one hand, people keeping to what they were doing well in the past, or doing less because of the ceiling imposed by cultural partiality on one’s sense of self-efficacy? What I want to see is a true fusion of cultural perspectives such as the critical and multiangular thinking styles of the Indians, the vibrancy of the Malays, and the within-sight pragmatism of the Chinese as opposed to any of the above being developmentally stunted by the predominance of any one perspective. Well, this does bring to mind how ‘Serves you right’ a racist local ‘comedy’ presents the chinese as professionally versatile whilst the Malays and Indians are obese rockers, parking attendants and cornershop proprietors. How has this served as a cap on the full development of Malay and Indian cultures whilst imposing the developmental ceiling of ‘the majority’ as the overarching cap? When we speak of such matters as this ‘singapore idol’ thing - which i personally don’t bother with and deem a preoccupation of idle minds globally - we have to take into consideration the overarching variables mentioned above. The racialisation of the outcome of this event, in a sense, indicates the degree to which cultural fusion has failed in singapore, and perhaps, why some Chinese might, having been accustomed to being given prominence in just about everything, aren't used to taking a backseat in anything - and which also explains the stance of many in the face of the cultural differences of 'foreigners'.

Of course, the solution is simple enough. Just become more of each other instead of trying to be more after making less of each other.




  1. You make lots of sense Ed! Since young I have always felt united with other races here in Singapore. Even during those days when one particular race dominated an event or competition. We all felt united and proud as Singaporeans, regardless of our ethnicity. Let me give u examples, such as Ahmed Daud, Anita Sarawak, Singapore Presley and the Quests. Every Singaporean happily enjoyed listening to their serenading, soothing to their ears. No single race felt biased then.However when this Mandarin crap came into prominence here, the situation also took a turn with each individual race. Thus began the beginning of segregation in Singapore. The Chinese became very Mandrino, Stylo, Milo, whereby not integrating with the Minority races and having a false sense of superiority over other races.Even those days no one questioned our national soccer teams, dominated by one particular race who were good at it. Today there are lots of questions raised as to why is the soccer field dominated by one particular race. For worst they are not getting the kind of support required and rather doing badly on the field. Who can we hold blame, the management run by another ethnic group or the crowd that supports only their ethnic majority group? - hawky

  2. Ah yes Hawky,

    You speak of times i recall as a child. You're right, come to think of it. There was quite a bit of integration back then. I too recall Anita Sarawak, Matthew and the Mandarins, Jacintha Abisheganathan, amongst others. And i remember Sundram Moorthy, Fandi Ahmad, etc. Their names were renown and there was much recognition of each other's value. Now, the value is simply RMB.;)

    You have posed a valid question in the closing bit of your observation Hawky. But i doubt anyone is going to bother answering it. The privileged rarely question their own status. The opposition is a good case in point. When they sport the same oversights as the majority, that is when all is lost and its time to pack the bags.



Post a Comment

The Inquisitive venture is a collaborative one. Let's collaborate.

Ad hominem is fine so long as it is accompanied with an argument, as opposed to being confused for an argument. In the latter case, deletion will follow.