Singaporeans are not angry about “people looking different” from us. They are angry that punishment for flouting social distance rules have seemingly not been evenly meted out!

Reading reports of what Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu has said, it may be fair to say that she has very little understanding of what irony means. Besides, wholly missing the point and misunderstanding public sentiment, she also sounds completely dismissive of the feelings of average Singaporeans.

She says that certain locals have a “visceral reaction” to recent reports of foreigners gathering at Robertson Quay, drinking and flouting social distancing rules and stressed Singapore’s social fault lines and increased tensions between foreigners and locals. Has she considered that this isn’t at all about disliking foreigners but rather about how our government may appear to treat well heeled foreigners far better than how it treats its own citizens?

Pretty scary that she has chosen to view potential unfair treatment as local xenophobia instead of attempting to address the apparent unequal treatment.

Singaporeans are not angry about “people looking different” from us. They are angry that punishment for flouting social distance rules have seemingly not been evenly meted out! Singaporeans have a “visceral reaction” to unfairness! Not to people looking different!

Facebook user Lectress Pat and DJ Jade Rasiff had previously posted on social media that there appeared to be less enforcement officers in areas frequented by affluent expatriates and tourists as opposed to in heartland areas. Whether or not that is a coincidence is anyone’s guess.

However, it is this potential difference in treatment that has caused outrage. Fu, in making it about race and xenophobia is dismissive to say the least. Either that, or she has zero empathy for the average Singaporean. Neither scenario is particularly reassuring.

Besides, it sounds pretty rich for a member of the government that has (unwittingly or otherwise) enabled the spread of the coronavirus amid our blue collar migrant workers through its inaction in February when migrant worker infections were first made public and its policies which enabled exploitation and poor housing of our migrant workers to turn around and imply that the general public is racist?

As of now, the figures of COVID-19 transmission in Singapore within the dormitories remain high. There have also been much unfavourable news coverage (both locally and internationally) about how the migrant workers in Singapore are being treated. The fact that a senior member of the government that is behind the policies of how we (mis)treat our migrant workers can imply that the general public is racist is frankly baffling!

Clearly Fu has no understanding of what the term “irony” means.

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