racism and racial riots in SG : an email exchange with an irate Indian


I wanted to bring 3 things to your attention:

1. Burning of paper during taiost 7th month - i am currently at home instead of at work thanks to this. i had such a severe allergic reaction to the smoke from burning paper money at my workplace that i had to see a doctor and am out of action for 2 days. i'm sure you have numerous other experiences you can draw on from others and yourself and hope you'll blog about it. it's plain unust the way the singapore government sees fit to overlook the burning of offerings even though it is illegal and a health, safety and fire hazard. shows how biased and corrupted they are. i'm sure if any other religious group were to do something even half as criminal, obnixious and antisocial, they would have been detained under the ISA a long time ago.

2. i returned to singapore after a short trip to indonesia some time ago and was absolutely shocked to see a chinaman using the "Singapore passports" lane at immigration. What flabbergasted me was the fact that the automated passport reader and turnstile machine actually accepted his prc passport, and the gate opened for him. this shows how absurd singapore has become; bending over backwards for china, and giving prc citizens equal status to singapore citizens in public services.

3. the curry cooking case - you've written on this already, but i wanted to voice my opinion. this incident reminds me of my own mother, who refuses to cook curry for my father and i whenever her half-white grandchildren and daughter's white husband are around. this is yet another example of how absurd singapore has become; the natives bend over for the foreigners, pandering to their whims and fancies, while ignoring cries of injustice from their friends and blood relatives. Gopalan has also written a good piece below, he believes racial riots are around the corner. i am sceptical because singaporeans are pretty cowardly and wouldn't dare fight back even if the chinamen and india men do decide to riot.

joe (pseudonym)

Hello Joe,

Sorry for the late reply, but i don' t check this email often.  It's best you email me through ed@a2ed.com as hotmail isn't very reliable as hotmail blocked one of my previous accounts.  With the preceding address, i'll be able to direct email to any hotmail account in case they shut down this or my current email.

With regards to your mother refusing to cook curry for you and your father, i wouldn't blame foreigners.  That would be your mom's fault don't you think.  My mother continued to cook curry even though we had our 'white' in-laws over, or my brother's 'white' wife.  They were all brits by the way.  And they all love curry as well.  But i don't see why you want to blame foreigners for local inferiority-complexes.  Xenophobia?

As for the chinaman having his passport being accepted by the automated passport reader, we first have to see why he's allowed such convenience, and if indiamen/others are afforded the same convenience if they meet the same criteria before we can determine if it is a racial bias..  Not enough data here to conclude.

I'm sorry to hear about your suffering the consequences of the 7th month paper-burning thing.
  Yes.  It is most certainly a pain in the arse.  I don't see why we ought to be 'tolerant' of something that is a national health-compromising situation.  I wonder how many people die during this month because of it.  My father, for one, has increased asthmatic attacks because of this.   Ridiculous of course.  But since you are well-spoken, and write well, i suggest you start up a blog and start talking about these things. 

I don't speak up because others don't have the balls to do it.  If that is the case, they deserve the shit that they complain about.  I speak up because others aren't aware of much that i bring up; have an abstract appreciation of it; are unable to 'connect the dots' between different events to understand the bigger picture; or aren't able to articulate themselves well.

Silence is one of the means by which that which we find lamentable is delivered. You cannot expect others to stand up for justice whilst you cower behind hoping to reap the benefits of their actions, whilst being free of the risks. In your case, there is no reason for you not to do as I.  If you are afraid to speak up, then you deserve what you get and you should quit bothering about these things, just accept it, and go the chinese way by stating, 'it's like that one lah'.  Silence is one of the means by which that which we find lamentable is delivered.  You cannot expect others to stand up for justice whilst you cower behind hoping to reap the benefits of their actions, whilst being free of the risks.  If they fail, it’s because there’s too much cowering going on behind them by the free-loaders.  That's pathetic don't you think.  I'm surprised that you don't realise this and don't feel shame in your requests to put myself on the line for you and others. 

If people like yourself don't stand up and start speaking up, you only have yourself to blame when others ignore people like myself with the reason, "ahh, he's just one person.  The other indians don't have a problem because they never complain what".  I don’t really blame the previous generations much because many weren’t educated and were focused on making ends meet for their families.  But what’s your excuse.  He who is aware has none.  And he who is aware and says nothing takes a significant share of the blame for the problem.  The more non-chinese standing up to highlight these issues - which is a consequence of the oversights of everyone in the past - the more the problem is given attention. 

Personally, i can’t really say that i’ve met any singaporeans for more than a decade whom i can truly respect.  I can’t really be bothered about the Malays, Indians or Chinese as they’ve either become accustomed to the way things are, have become underdeveloped enough to not want more than that which is left to them, and hence take issue with people like myself for fussing about the need for them to have more opportunities than they've been trained to want.  But what I am focused on is the potentials of all singaporeans if they weren’t the complacent, self-absorbed, racist, xenophobic, people that they are, regardless of race, today, and as a consequence, shallow, ignorant, uncreative, unintelligent, opportunistic, mutually alienated, and short-sighted.

For now, i'm ignored not because i'm wrong, but because i'm just one man.  That is the chinese, and now, all singaporeans, style.  They go by numbers, power, and prominence, not reason.  How much are you contributing to the reinforcement of this situation?  And it's not just you.  Every Malay or Indian whom i know or don’t, and every so-called 'friend' of mine of all races, who've read my observations, and whom remain silent without comment on a2ed.com, are further presenting these observations as irrelevant and hence, not worthy of comment.  They are far more vocal about the prata or hor fun in some locality, or their problems at work, or more hyped up about some inane football season or club, than they are on these issues.  Hence, they are no friend of mine, no democrat, and not worthy of the democracy they hanker after.  Again, ask yourself, how much are you contributing to the reinforcement of this situation?

As for Gopalan on ‘racial riots’.
  He’s talking nonsense of course.  If any Indian or Malay ever thought of doing such a thing, they’d definitely get a kick in the arse from myself for the simple reason that if they weren’t as silent as they’ve been all this while, they wouldn’t have allowed things to get so bad that it requires a racial riot for resolution.

Riots, at least in the singaporean context, is often due to the apathy of the rioters prior to their feeling the need to engage in them. Riots, at least in this context, is often due to the apathy of the rioters prior to their feeling the need to engage in them.  You could say that a riot is an effort to absolve the rioters of their sin of silence in the past when they could have just started up a blog and wrote about such things to change things, along with kicking their respective ‘oppositional’ parties to do more than pay lip service to the interests of the non-Chinese.  If you think about it, riots are, oftentimes, like charity.  They are an effort to subsidise our apathy in the past.

You could even say that people riot because they have failed to get used to things which they had earlier hope to get used to.  In other words, they had known that it was a bad situation, but they hoped to get used to it, or had profitted from it, but when things got worse, or they failed to make the best of it, they riot.  Whose fault is that.  You could even say that the perpetrators of the crime are rioting because they've overestimated their ability to get used to it.  Silly of course.  All we need to do is to stand up and talk about it.  The more the talk, the more the attention.  So let’s start there.  If you aren’t smart, aren’t able to articulate yourself, i’ll do it.  If not.  Join in.



  1. I do agree with the hazards of burning "HELL" money.....for the non chinese, our health as well as the safety of our environment.., as for the chinese...do you need to say more...hello..."Hell" money....they don't even believe in God...so are we...

  2. Sorry, it should be koolkat@hotmail.sg

  3. Dear Joe,

    I'm sorry to hear about your plight. I hope that you've recovered from it by now. We ought to speak up against those who exhibit anti-social behaviour, especially from the majority during the 7th month. A good start would be to push for burning of incense paper in the temple located far from the residential areas instead of the latter. The reason why the government has overlooked this issue is that they have successfully turned this place into "another province" of China in the sense that they only favour the Qin-Chinese without significant consideration to the minority ethnic groups, which has been done to maintain the status quo and political longevity.

    As a matter of fact, the automated clearance machine can be used by anyone from all nationalities so long as s/he is a citizen/PR/EP/DP/Work Permit holder and has registered for their NRIC. You could search for more information on the ICA website.

    As for the curry cooking case, have the "whites" complained about the curry? If not, I really don't see the reason why your mother would stop cooking when they are present. As Ed has said, there's no reason why foreigners should be blamed. Even if the foreigners complained, she shouldn't give in to the unreasonable demand, unless they are really physically allergic to curry.

    Hey anyway Ed,

    I'll leave some comments to some recent articles as well as the mail that you've sent by the end of this week, which is close to the start of an one-week term break. Lately I've been very busy with my school work. Having a tough semester right now as I find myself having to do a lot of catching up of my work.

    Thanks anyway.

  4. Hey Kool Kat, I have to correct you. The chinese do believe in Gods. All kinds of Gods. Kitchen gods, kopi tiam gods, wealth gods, etc gods. Same as the Indians who have a ton and a half of Gods. Interesting stuff. But what's pretty telling when it comes to their faith is that Heaven is generally a place for those whom were Kings on earth whereas the rest of them generally go to a lesser heaven or the 'underworld of the yellow springs' which can be seen as 'hell'. The point here is that the notion of equality is pretty much eradicated given that one doesn't have equal rights to heaven as do kings and powerful people. When people are made to think that equality doesn't exist even in heaven, they wouldn't really fight inequality here on earth and spend more time trying to put up with evil than get rid of it. That is why justice is a rare thing in chinese society. Only power and position. Very bad culture that.

    Buddhism steps in to bring about some semblance of equality. But it is pretty much tainted by confucianism and taoism and hence the chinese couldn't really be taught the concept of equality. That is why their culture is so focused on money, i.e. CNY, rituals for the dead, etc. Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and aspects of Hinduism, however, can be seen as the antithesis of Chinese religion and culture.

    I don't get to see you email address when you sign in to post. But thanks anyway. Mine's 'to.ed@live.com', but send all emails to 'ed@a2ed.com' as that redirects all mail to my current hotmail even if i change it.

  5. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the info on the ACM. I suspected as much. Pretty good isn't it. In the UK, 'V' has to go through the usual lengthy passport queue and be questioned before being allowed in - even though she has a government-issue 5 year visa. Feel like slapping these people some times. 'Why the damn questions? Can't you see the permit?' Is what i feel like asking sometimes. After one long flight, and feeling terribly jet-lagged, i was distracted at the immigration checkpoint and was distracted. The oversized officer actually spoke to me like i was a 5 year old kid. I got pissed off and semi-yelled at her with an, 'have you heard of jet-lag? Perhaps i'm suffering from it!' She toned down after that. Well, i'm glad to see that those working in SG can get through easily with the ACM.

    That said, i never ever got checked by the customs people in the UK from the 90s to the present, but i ALWAYS get checked in singapore. I suppose in a personality-devoid style-less monocultural state like the singapore of today, an Indian with unique style will always get checked...haha. That's what you call a 'double minority'. Yup. I know it is random. But it isn't random if i get checked every single time. How many drug traffickers are going to dress and fashion themselves in a way that makes them as conspicuous as myself eh. Do these people ever think beyond their biases. What a shitty country. Forgive the rant. Back to your points...

    Your question with regards to the curry cooking thing is certainly apt. I don't see why the mom should cease to cook it herself. But it's something about local inferiority complex - especially the non-Chinese. Inevitable, given their acceptance of their 2nd class status. Perhaps that is why the whites in singapore are often taken aback in conversation with myself as i come across as atypically analytical, and confident in my speech and manner - some of them don't like it as they are accustomed to the locals kow-towing to them. Anyway, I wouldn't bother if my curry offends the 'sensitivity' of people. Not because new foreigners or locals have to get used to the way things are in our 'native-born' land, but because they should open themselves to difference just as i open myself to it whether it is of local or foreign origin - so long as it doesn't require or make me stupid that is.

    No worries man. Take your time with regards to your response. I know how uni-work can be tediously time-consuming. I don't know if it helps, but my strategy in uni was to always stay a chapter ahead of my class. And i never stick around for lectures but just get the reading list at the beginning, and leave immediately after that to get the stipulated books in the library and do my own studies. Perhaps it is a bit different for your course as it isn't a 'reading-based' course like mine in the past. Good luck with your work bro :).

  6. Damn....ya lor...gods of gambling oso hap one...hahaha....thanks man...slipped up there....

  7. Our Gods of choice tells us a lot about what we might become. No prob man. Thanks for the input.


Post a comment

The Inquisitive venture is a collaborative one. Let's collaborate.

Ad hominem is fine so long as it is accompanied with an argument, as opposed to being confused for an argument. In the latter case, deletion will follow.

Popular posts