Are You Racist or Just Culturally Insensitive?

Diving into semantics and paving the way forward.

Victoria-Marie
ILLUMINATION

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Photo by Duncan Shaffer on Unsplash

The last month has been an exhausting one for all Singaporeans. Apart from having to cope with rising cases of Covid-19 infections, there were several bizarre incidents happening on the ground that were overtly racist. A property agent, Tan Beow Hiong, was taking videos of commuters on the MRT and asking them directly about their education experience. If they did not give a response stating that they were from one of the top schools in Singapore (Ms Tan was apparently from Hwa Chong Institution), she would make a caustic remark — “Malay, is it? Okay no wonder”. Apart from Ms Tan, a Polytechnic lecturer directly approached an interracial couple saying that it was a “disgrace for a Chinese girl and an Indian man to be together”. He even accused the Indian man of “preying on the Chinese girl”.

It might be tempting to think that these incidents are one-off events, and we may be inclined to excuse such behaviour as erratic, alluding it to possible stress from the pandemic. However, another event made headlines — this time, from a government-related institution.

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Victoria-Marie
ILLUMINATION

Linguist. Writer. Mum. Currently navigating life with intense sleep deprivation, and learning how to still do what I love - teaching and parenting.