Sunday, April 17, 2005

Starting work... One step closer

One step closer to starting work, now they've given me a department! Labor Relations.. Hmm...

Some silly PSC scholar got himself publicly smashed for his racist comments on his Blog. All over the "old media" too, guess it was just an irresistable target for the ST columnists. Wonder if it's in Zaobao / Wanbao as well? Poor guy..

Why poor guy? Shouldn't I join the crowd in hammering this racist bigot? (Heh, I googled it, and the top two hits for psc racist blog singapore were other blogs, one quite strong, the other a bit more evenhanded.) Like this chap Kelvin who's really sinking his teeth in..

But then, I find myself thinking that (1) the psc scholar really has some enemy who would want him dead, going so far as to "compile a dossier" and send it to PSC, and (2) I was just having discussions with Wee Leong and Velle the other day about how racist most Singaporeans are anyway.. In the army, in NUS, even in Stanford. And I'm not saying "other" Singaporeans, even most of my good friends and myself are to some degree racist.. and even if I count people like Vijay and Subbu among my good friends (hey Vijay, I love ya man, don't take this the wrong way haha), but the general feeling is that most of the generation I hang out with has a particularly strong response to foreigners of all varieties (Indian, Caucasian, Malay, whatever). And it's not just racism, even Chinese nationals studying in NUS get ostracised, you'll notice it easily. Some (unnamed) friends of mine were just asked recently if they would ever date a PRC and the responses varied from "It depends, sometimes it's really a big cultural difference" to "No!". And alot of times it stems from (multiple) real experiences of bad behavior from them ( though they no doubt have even more examples of bad Singaporean behavior).

So maybe it's not really racism that's an issue, I think. If anything, it's more like xenophobia. Or maybe just Singaporeans who like to disparage anyone who's different, using convenient stereotypes. And you have to admit, for this Mr Chua Cheng Zhan, for the people who are scolding him now, it's far easier for them to attack the stereotype of "stuck-up, bigoted PSC scholar in a rose-tinted world" then to address the real issue: just one person who publicly made a statement about Indians in a society he's part of. Perhaps he was angry at one member of that community, maybe he was not in his right mind as he claims, maybe he IS an awful bigot. But mouthing off to the world at large seems to be just as much a hate crime, committed not against those of another race, nation, or culture, but perhaps against a class enemy. For those who wrote letters to PSC and the ST and other newspapers criticizing this d00d, would you have done the same if it were your nephew/brother/friend who made this comment? Or would you have taken him to the side and scolded him? Why did you write such a letter, what did you hope to accomplish, and why?

Anyway, rant done. Let's all try to eradicate racism in constructive ways. What constructive ways? Think about it yourself.

(Singapore Ink has a more "outside the fray" analysis of what's happening with Mr Chua.. Looks like quite an interesting journal I'll flip it every now and then for general Singapore commentary I guess.)

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