Racism And Xenophobia In Singapore

There is increasing underlying unhappiness and resentment towards overcrowding and job competition ascribed to foreigners. ‘Unbridled immigration’ is now the source of sporadic and excessive bursts of cyber fury. Even with very rational people we know, they can be surprisingly one dimensional in their attacks. And their views can border on the senseless, their rant can express outright ethnic hatred crossing the line to foul abuse. The celebrations plans by the Pilipino Independence Day Council Singapore have now been cancelled for the first time in 20 years. But I see what the signatories say in their civil society statements as a turning point. They noted that the economic frustrations felt by Singaporeans should be directed at policies and structures which “were not instituted by migrants and will not automatically disappear if the migrant population decreases”. I am presently working on a movie, ’1965′ for our jubilee celebration next year, premised on the fragility of racial harmony. How we can, if we are not careful, be racist ourselves without knowing it. Given the present societal climate, I am more convinced and motivated to tell this story.

After The Rain

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I think we all know at least one person. I know of more than one. They can be quiet, even timid, very polite and civil, but their personalities are transformed online. Almost unrecognisably. From tone to topic, they are loud, uninhibited, and they can be rude, using expletives never uttered when they are talking in person, one to one, or in a group. They literally become keyboard warriors. From a nation of people who are apathetic and needing a strong push to speak up, when have we become a nation of online advocates? More importantly, abrasive online advocates. Alarmed by episodes such as the collective condemnation of expatriates including Anton Casey, the strident objections to holding a Philippine Independence Day celebration here and an emerging trend of blaming foreigners for any social ill, several civil society groups issued a joint statement last week against the surge in racism and xenophobia…

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