A young lady, Sheryl Chen posted on her Facebook page on 31 August, highlighting an experience that she encountered and wrote that she had “never felt more ashamed to be a Singaporean.”
She recalled her bus trip back home from meeting with friends on bus number 41 from Jurong East. She noted that this bus is known to be filled with a large number of Indian or Bangladeshi nationals at night as it passes a number of of workers’ dorms at Toh Guan.
She said that the start of the ride was rather normal. However, it changed all of the sudden when a Chinese uncle started shouting towards a foreign worker who was on the phone. “Fxxx can you shut up? Stop talking!”
The foreign worker replied saying that it is a public space and asked the uncle what is wrong with talking on the phone? She could not remember what exactly the uncle replied, but it was something in along the lines of how he does not like the way he talks and that the foreign worker (FW) should know his place as a foreigner. The uncle further told the foreign worker that he should be respected because he’s an elderly Singaporean
To her surprise, nobody stepped in to mediate the commotion. That was when she decided to step in by asking the old man to sit in front of her and asked him to calm down.
He did move his seat. However, he told Sheryl to stop acting smart and kept on verbally abusing the foreign worker with Hokkien vulgarities.
When the uncle was about alight the bus, he told the foreign worker to “behave himself as a foreigner. The uncle then tried to challenge him to fight off the bus after the foreign worker then confronted him about his remarks.
Sheryl and the foreign worker’s friend had to restrain the foreign worker as he was obviously riled up. “So I told the uncle that his ancestors were also immigrants and we are all immigrants” she wrote, noting that Singaporean Chinese also have their ancestors from China.
Sheryl noted that the uncle then started being physically aggressive towards her and the said foriegn worker actually physically shielded her from the uncle. Yet, again, no other Singaporeans came up to help to either of them.
Finally, the old man got off the bus. The other foreign worker and the victim had a debate about not aggravating the crazy. The victim commented that he hoped the uncle was not a Singaporean because he just gives Singaporeans a very bad name.
Sheryl wrote, “At that point I was rather emotional because I just kept thinking how shitty racist Singaporeans are, and also how I had used my Chinese privilege to stand up for something but I totally forgot about the privilege I possess as a female (and that I am really more privileged than I thought).”
“What I really wish I said to him was that I’m really sorry that he had to experience this, and it’s even sadder that I cannot guarantee that it will never ever happen again to him,” she added.
When the victim and his friend got off the bus, his friend thanked her for helping her. The victim had said to Sheryl that it was because of people like her that they (the foreign workers) still have faith in Singaporeans.
She wrote in her post, “We are all foreigners. What makes you so special than other FWs just because your ancestors came here 3 generations (or maybe 2 for that uncle) ago? Were they not foreigners too? What makes you superior?”
“Who died and made you god that you can judge and rank cultures over others? Singaporeans have a penchant for looking up to Angmohs (Caucasians) and bending their backs over just for them. I’m pretty sure the situation will be much different if it were an Angmoh talking on the phone.”
“We also love east Asia (do not get me started on K wave) and we treat them so well. But when you hear someone is Filipino/ Indian/ Bangladeshi/ PRC you immediately start looking down on them and want them out of your space. You give them so much shit on a daily basis and yet you blame alcohol intoxication for causing riots,” she wrote.
“Singaporeans, you are really so ugly.”