TR: Arrest of three youths for posting “racist” remarks on Facebook: Who is a greater threat to social harmony? - comment


“A more appropriate and sensible response would be to send the three youths for counselling and let them off with a stern warning rather than to ruin their futures altogether with a conviction – the potential threat to social harmony in Singapore is so low that it doesn’t warrant criminalizing it.”

Oh my. That’s not right. So should emancipation movements worldwide have been criminalised because of the ‘potential threat to social harmony’? There is quite the difference between an act that is criminal in itself, as opposed to an act that pisses people off. I bet the feminist movement, or the NAACP pissed lots of men and ‘whites’ respectively and created the potential for social unrest. But they were addressing deficiencies in the practice of egalitarianism. So we ought to leave aside the potential for unrest and law and order problems if the Cause is worthy one. The biases of the masses, whether they are used to it or not, ought not to be taken into consideration when determining the value of a Cause.

It’s too bad that this article came without an author’s name and was just presented as ‘opinion’. If not, we could have done something about getting the author’s fees refunded from her/is kindergarten school teacher for negligence.

“After fifty years of nation-building, most Singaporeans have come to see themselves more as Singaporeans than ethnic Chinese, Indians or Malays. We are Singaporeans first and ethnicity comes a distant second.”

That is because just about everyone have become culturally chinese - beginning with the those of chinese descent, and thereafter, others...the chinese are victims here as well, though they have the advantaged end of the stick. Ethnicity doesn't matter when there is none other.

And where the nation has been associated with ‘Chinese culture’ and the Chinese, whether it is by turning the Singapore Flyer in the right direction upon the advise of Chinese Feng Shui masters; or LKY stating that in 2 generations ‘Mandarin will be our mother tongue’; or Tamil being removed from signboards at the airport; or that ‘shopping, eating and gambling’ is perceived as ‘national pastimes’ when they aren’t the national pastimes of India or Malaysia/Indonesia/Brunei but quite the event in China/Hong Kong; or other cultures are kept to their traditional enclaves whilst Chinese culture is celebrated nationwide; or the last night of ‘River Hongbao’ this year being organised as ‘National Integration Night’ for new immigrants; and where all culturally produced difference is marginalised whether in the working or social milieu; and when all this had gone on for a couple of decades and all difference is eradicated in sound if not in sight, then we can say that we all feel singaporean after everyone has become Confucian.

There is a simple test one can do to see people see themselves as singaporean as opposed to chinese. Just try to be a real Indian with the Chinese and study the response. I've done that in the UK and Singapore. There was engagement and learning in the former, ignorance or allegations of being 'chong hei'(long-winded) in the latter. So, for the sake of 'harmony', I just keep my multiculturally/Indian-induced personality at home. That way, our dinner table, though multiracially endowed, conforms to the dominant mindset. Hence, and over time, people can begin to think that Indians and Malays are the same in quite a few respects, and then move on to asserting that this is 'singaporeans culture' where it would be more true to say, 'singaporean culture post-assimilation'.

If you want to see a people whom really saw themselves as singaporean and not OIMC (others, Indian, Malay, Chinese), take a trip back to the 70s to the English-speaking sector in singapore. They were the product of multiculturalism, not despite it - which describes the people of today, and that short-sighted and self-absorbed person who wrote this almost nonsensical article - i’m in agreement with the writer that the 3 chinese who posted racist remarks ought not to be arrested but censured by the empathetic majority, if you can find them that is.

“Though the PAP government must be credited with maintaining social, racial and religious harmony in Singapore....”

It’s quite easy to maintain ‘social harmony’ when you maintain a racial balance in favour of a majority defined along racial lines as opposed to nationality, promote their culture, dilute all others, and threaten action if anyone says anything about it. With time, all others, fragmented by the HDB quota system, would have adapted and accommodated their culturally-gifted personas out of existence - though I’m happy to see that the Malay’s are maintaining themselves given their communal nature - something we could all learn from.

“Some policies are also deemed discriminatory to the ethnic minorities and can well sow the seeds of distrust among them. For example, the influx of large number of new immigrants from mainland China who cannot speak English may cause some discomfort to our fellow Malay and Indian Singaporeans.”

The ethnic minorities don’t have to complain about that. They were already complaining, all those whom I knew, prior to that with the ‘chinese preferred’, and thereafter, ‘mandarin speakers preferred’ vacancies, along with media underrepresentation/misrepresentation, the SAP school system, the policy to maintain a racial balance in favour of the Chinese, etc, etc, etc. The influx of PRCs was yet to be at that time. It seems that the relatively advantaged members of the majority in the opposition, feeling the strain that the ethnic minorities have been put through for a couple of decades, are now attempting to enlist their support for their own benefit. Not much was heard from them about the position of ethnic minorities prior to the influx.

But what is going to be interesting, albeit predictable, is that the comments section following the above article is not going to indicate much awareness of all the points brought up above. That is telling, and not just of the writer of the article.

Empathy from the Chinese. Is that too much to ask? All they have to do is to be as vociferous about that which affects the interests of others - like the British do - and i’ll be able to focus on other matters.