Difference, not Discrimination, the cause for inter-communal strife?

Here’s a gem of a fascist piece from a prominent local blogger.

“The Singapore government can pat itself on the back for keeping Singapore free from the racial and religious tensions that flare up in Malaysia. But, while the government encourages religious harmony, could there be another reason why Singapore is unlike Malaysia? Look at the ethnic makeup of the two countries.

Singapore is overwhelmingly Chinese: 74.7% of the population is Chinese, 13.6% Malay, 8.9% Indian, while others make up 2.8%, according to Singapore in Figures 2009 by the Singapore Department of Statistics......

...Countries and regions where ethnic groups are more evenly split can be prone to racial tensions.....

...Of course, there are exceptions like America, where politics has not polarized on racial lines despite its ethnic diversity. American cities with black majorities have elected black mayors, states with large Hispanic populations have elected Hispanic politicians, but California's governor is the white Arnold Schwarzenegger, Americans of all colours have voted for President Barack Obama. America is different.

...There is another difference between Singapore and Muslim-majority Malaysia.

Singapore is largely Buddhist and Taoist.”

Now that’s a typical fascist/confucian view. I was quite taken aback when I read it actually. To all anti-fascists, the singaporean opposition and proposition are verifiably fascist and racist. But to constantly see this kind of fascist filth being spouted by oppositional elements, ‘new media’, and political parties, basically puts us smack betwixt the devil and the ravenous croc in the deep blue sea. Dissecting the fascism of the government was quite the task already. But now, we have to contend with the fascist democrats on the ‘oppositional’ side.

What the bloke who wrote the above article constantly glosses over is that it isn’t prominent difference that causes inter-ethnic strife, but the failure to address that which leads to strife - marginalisation. In this, such views mirror the views of the government in the past that speaking about discrimination incites violence. The logic is of course reversed as it is the existence of discrimination that founds the possibility for violence at most times. There is hardly any allusion to this in the above article and prominent difference is itself presented as reason enough for conflict.

This, of course, is to be expected from Confucians or the Confucianised, who spurn difference, worship regimentation, uniformity, conformity and subservience. Hence, it inevitably leads to one not attaining the ability to successfully contend with difference or novelty. In Piagetian terms - refer developmental psychology - confucians/fascists are well-adept at ‘Assimilation’ (considering only that which fits one’s existing formulae for comprehending things - I’ve experienced this mainly amongst the Chinese or those socialised within a Confucian milieu. They frequently discount all information that does not allow them the comfort of familiarity. Contradiction in almost all forms is abhorrent to them - be it in fashion, appearance, or perspective - except within the work arena, or when it directly impacts on self-interests. We can say that it produces a ‘face-value’ approach to life.) as opposed to ‘Accommodation’ (changing existing formulae in the face of new information - I’ve experienced this relatively more amongst the British, Filipinos, Malays, Africans, Indians who tend to process novel information ‘real-time’ or ‘on-the-fly’ as opposed to discounting all contradiction or new variables. However, the gap between the 2 seems to close the longer they remain interned within a Confucian milieu. i.e. Indian activists on the oppositional side). It is from this disability that one can begin to understand the stance taken by the opposition in the face of ‘foreigners’ and the kind of phenomena they pay attention to, or the type of solutions produced.(ref previous articles by A2ed) It is, of course, not a ‘racial’ thing, but a cultural one emerging from top-down oppression and successful suppression of popular activism. All else are corollaries of this.

The writer glosses over the contradictory case of America by simply stating, ‘America is different’ - another typically Confucian method for discounting difference and which relieves one of the tedium that comes with considering the reasons for it. Personally, i thought it was commonly known that the decline of inter-communal violence in the United States was either due to the marginalised accepting their status, or taking issue with it. (referred to as ‘house negroes’ and ‘field negroes’ respectively by Malcolm X).

Another point which was quite shocking was the implication that Islam produces violence. If this is not the implication, then the point that Malaysia was significantly Muslim, whilst Singapore was largely Taoist/Buddhist would not be a point worthy of mention within the context.

All in all, the writer implies that difference, and not marginalisation, is reason enough for inter-communal conflict. When one takes into consideration the meaning of ‘China’, which, when translated from Mandarin, means, ‘central land’; the gross nationalist pride amongst China nationals; the fact that the chinese in singapore remained largely apathetic when their culture and ‘race’ was preferred over all others; that the opposition rarely takes issue with or even notices instances of ethnicity-based bigotry; and how, even in common communication with the people of the country, one has to leave aside any incongruent perspectives and personalities to 'get along', we can begin to understand why my shocked reaction to the above article was uncalled for.

On the intellectual side of things, it was most interesting to study the fascism of the government in singapore, and now, i’m looking forward to studying how the opposition is more a product of the government’s decades-long fascist and racist policies and the society it produced as opposed to being a real alternative.




  1. I think the reason/s for higher tendency of racial tension is generally attributed to situation where any particular racial group within the society suffers from some form of discrimination or marginalisation rather than simply because of the more 'even' racial mix as suggested. We can actually cite many examples to counter that argument. To name a few, recently, there were incidents of tension among the different ethnic groups in Sydney,Australia and how about in China, xingjiang? These 2 cases occurred within societies where the racial mix aren't that 'even'.

    "...There is another difference between Singapore and Muslim-majority Malaysia.

    Singapore is largely Buddhist and Taoist.”

    Also, stating the above, the author is actually suggesting/implying that societies with a high population of a particular faith tend to experience higher racial tension within that society compared to other faiths. Still, such correlation doesn't really lead us to the root cause of racial tension and thus cannot help us to further understand the problem and to resolve it.


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