Over the past week Singaporeans have been debating the definition of racism. Many within the establishment appear eager to define it narrowly: only crude, interpersonal racism qualifies.
So, if somebody professes the inherent superiority of one race over another, or uses a racial slur—“Kiling Kia”, “Cina Babi”, etc.—that’s racist. Anything less obvious, so it goes, does not deserve the racist label.
The desire not to call something racist has sparked a cottage industry of euphemisms: “racial preferences”, “cultural insensitivity”, “racially problematic” and so on. Racism is Singapore’s Voldemort.
Continue reading “How structural racism penalises minorities: is your HDB flat worth less?”
Lee Kuan Yew once said that he would rise from his grave if he ever felt that “something is going wrong”.
Few Singaporeans would have expected to see him reincarnated as Tan Boon Lee, a senior lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Engineering.
On June 6th, Tan is seen on a Facebook video publicly admonishing Dave Parkash, who is of mixed Indian-Filipino ancestry, for dating a Thai-Chinese girl (behind the camera).
“I have nothing against Indians, but I think it is racist for an Indian to marry a Chinese girl,” said Tan, in a statement so puzzling and prejudiced yet also so familiar to minorities in Singapore, in its inversion of racism. You are the racist, not me.
Continue reading “Don’t date other races: the ghost of Lee Kuan Yew appears”