A letter to our dear Singapore Chinese friends.

Dear Singapore Chinese friends,

This letter may come as a surprise to you but don’t worry, we don’t mean any harm. You see, recently, thanks to the Internet, we have come across a lot of incidents where Chinese Singaporeans are caught making racially insensitive remarks to the Indians and Malays here. This letter is to let you know that it’s okay, we don’t mind.

You see, we grew up as minorities and being that way, we have already grown accustomed to the apu neh nehs and the mat bodoh jokes. Back when we were younger, our parents had already warned us about this. They told us that on paper, we are a multicultural society but deep down, some forms of racism still linger. We already know all that, we already got ourselves mentally prepared. So you don’t have to be guilty about it. But why am I telling you all this?

Let me cite the example of that SIM Student, Joshua. He was at some party in NUS, got himself pissed drunk and his friend thought it would be funny to let Joshua ramble on and on about the Indians and Malays and then upload it on Facebook. You see, there’s a saying that a person reveals his true colours when he is drunk. We all know deep down that Joshua represents a lot of fellow Singaporeans. We are also guilty of it, we have drunk Indians making fun of you guys all the time, the only reason why it’s not reported is because we are already the minority so it doesn’t stir up an issue as huge as yours, where you make fun of the minority.

You see, we all know everybody is racist. There’s really no need to flame Josh, we understand where he comes from and we understand what he did but seriously, life goes on. We have experienced much much worse incidents than this. Our Malay friends would know how it’s like to be labelled slow and stupid even though there are many Malay professionals who are much more successful and earning much higher than you are. Our Indian friends know what it’s like to be labelled dirty, smelly and full of cheats, we grew up on that mate. It’s nothing new for us already.

We know you secretly curse the old Malay lady walking really slowly in front of you, we know you secretly cover your nose when an Indian man stands beside you in the train, we know that when you are female, and when you turn 50, and an Indian guy gets into the lift with you, deep down you will have this sense of worry that he might reach out to grab your jade necklace and pinch your backside.

The reason why we don’t ever retaliate is simple. Because we find it extremely cute that now when there are so many new immigrants from China coming in, and they bring with them really bad social ettiquette like speaking loudly, spitting all over the place, etc. It just makes you look bad. Admit it, you absolutely HATE it when we mistake you for one of them. We know you despise them because they look down on you for not being Chinese enough. We find it cute because now, finally. You are starting to get a sense of what we have been living all our lives. That’s why we never do or say anything. I say, go on with your apu neh neh roti prata nasi ayam makchik tudung hari raya ketupat jokes. Some of them can be really funny, we admit but don’t worry, we won’t hold a grudge against you.

We have, for the past few generations co-existed peacefully and we will continue to do so because even after all this namecalling, we still love you and we know you guys love us too. So let’s keep this momentum going. We all definitely feel sorry for you, having to convince people half the time that you are Singaporean and not PRC, we understand your pain but we will still continue supporting you.

So don’t worry my Singaporean Chinese friends, life goes on.


The “Other” races of Singapore.

by Sivaraj Pragasm 




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