Ruling party politician sanitises public housing lifts Every day Singapore’s leaders make great sacrifices for the people. The Honourable MP Low Yen Ling (middle) is seen spending a Saturday guiding a seven-person team through the intricate task of cleaning an elevator. To the Honourable MP’s right are three South Asian workers. They are wearing imported sneakers that their cousins working in Qatar cannot afford. They … Continue reading Singapore leads the world in coronavirus fight
“Do you think that the hatred Singaporeans feel towards foreigners is because of an identity crisis, as you suggested, or because the government has failed to provide sufficient basic services, like housing and transportation?” a young Filipino journalist asked at last week’s book launch (see here).
The crowd released a collective gasp when they heard the word “hatred”. I was shocked. I mentioned in my reply that it was too strong a word to use. Regardless, the fact that she said it bothers me, and has prompted me to share some thoughts.
These are casual observations and musings that build on the one serious analytical piece I’ve written on race, Chapter 8: Colour Matters, in Floating on a Malayan Breeze: Travels in Malaysia and Singapore.
As such, please treat each of my main statements below as postulations, to which I invite discussion and debate. Any thoughts and responses are much appreciated.
Note: Though racism and xenophobia are somewhat distinct, they often get conflated in contemporary Singaporean discourse. I will therefore sometimes discuss them collectively.
1) In Singapore, the moderate voices far outweigh the racists and xenophobes
In the immediate wake of the Little India Riots, there were some anti-South Asian racist and xenophobe rants. However, there was an instant backlash from voices of moderation. Same thing with the furore over the mooted celebration of the Philippines Independence Day in June this year. In both instances, I was heartened by Singapore society’s collective rejection of racist and xenophobic strands.
The Singapore government today banned the “69” sexual position following police reports that many residents in the posh Spanking Condominium complex have been engaging in the sexually unproductive act.
The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) had called for the police investigation after observing abnormally low fertility rates at Spanking Condominium. According to the NPTD, the expected total fertility rate of Spanking residents is 0.1, which means that the average female “Spanker” has almost one child less than the average Singaporean. Continue reading “Government bans “69″ sexual position”