By Joshua Simon
I propose a challenge.
Go to town. Ion, 313, Orchard Central, Wisma, Takashimaya – any mall in town. I want you to count how many Malay/Indian men and women featured on the posters.
Ok now out of town. Wherever you go in Singapore now open your eyes to it and really count.
On the bus. On the train. On the commercials before the movie starts. On the newspapers. On the magazines. On the tv commercials.
Are you cool with that?
Because it seems to me the ‘Singaporean Look’ is a skinny Chinese girl with long hair and a big smile! Yay and her boyfrend smiling right behind chasing after her is a slim fit Chinese boy with straight hair and a big smile! Tee-hee!
Are you cool with that? Seems to me we are. Because if this was the US we’d bring this up and talk about it.
Really, talk about it and fix it. But Josh this is Asia! And this is the Asian look! Ah, see that’s the problem right there.
As a young kid growing up in Singapore, I’d never see someone of my skin color rocking ads and headlines unless it’s Singapore Idol Season. I couldn’t entertain my first ambition of being an actor coz every role (although said open to all races) would go to the man with the Singaporean Look.
I do music, I do radio. I’m behind a microphone. If I had a dollar for every person that has come up to me saying “OMG I didn’t know you’re Indian!” I’d be able to afford a down payment for an HDB flat.
In the industry, I’ve had peers get turned down gigs because they were too “ethic looking”. I don’t watch Channel 8 or Vasantham but… off the top of my head, I can name you 10 Chinese local celebrities (includes Rui En). Is it just me?
Maybe there isn’t enough talented Indian and Malay celebrities. Or maybe we’re not given a chance to see them.
Who’s stopping them? Who’s saying no to these people? Who’s decided what the Singapore Look is?
I’m not celebrating Racial Harmony in Singapore till I get my answers and see some change. It’s 2016. Do not get complacent. I represent the next generation that isn’t gonna just keep quiet and nod my head and say it’s all okay.
Racial Harmony isn’t just about us getting along. It’s equal opportunities. Equal chances to shine. I wanna see diversity.
I can smell the smoke and tell that something ain’t right. Now I wanna see people move. Share that spotlight.
This was first published on Joshua’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission.