by Rudy Irawan Kadjairi
I’ve had some time to think about that incident involving that man who felt emboldened with a deluded audacity to chastise another for going out with a woman of another race.
Yes, it was racist.
And yes, many have expressed their disgust, shock, and surprise at the nerve of the man to exhibit his sheer racist ideals onto another, and, have denounced his actions, as any decent human being should.
But here’s the thing though: why should anybody be shocked or even remotely surprised?
Have you been living under a rock or something?
This is Singapore. Yes, THIS is Singapore. Having absolute strangers throwing shade at you for being of a certain race (usually a minority), is quite a common thing. Sure, not EVERYONE does it; but there’s enough of it going around. Your insistence that “not all Singaporeans are like that”, misses the point.
Your ignorance about how the toxicity of a few can affect so many is exactly why these few are brazen enough to spew racist rhetoric at those they don’t even know. Your denials about how this country has nurtured racist platitudes is exactly why racism has been allowed to fester since time immemorial.
No, just stop denying that we have a problem. That only makes things worse.
Stop buying into all that propaganda image of a nation so harmonious in its multiculturalism, multiracialism, and diversity. It’s an image that suits us only when necessary, sure. But as a minority, I can honestly tell you that nothing about Singapore is that so straightforward.
We all know this to be true. We just refuse to admit it.
From a leadership which has ingrained into the minds of a then young nation that an entire community cannot be trusted to defend their own country of birth. To policies that saw the need to separate issues into racial categories hence seeing to the birth of self-help groups specifically based on race.
To the politically driven structuring of a GRC scheme, which enhanced the idea to all and sundry that racial representation cannot be organic because basically the majority of Singaporeans won’t vote a minority into Parliament even if they sold the best and cheapest of koyoks against the Chinese candidate who would sell the same.
Never mind that we’ve had the embarrassment of pretentiously pretending how important it was to have a Malay President that we changed our own Constitution to shut out every other possible decent candidate from other racial background to run for the post.
Worse, the one eventually given the title of President didn’t even bother to think at all that the whole process was unbecoming of the ideals of a nation held by a Pledge which disagrees with all of the shenanigans of a Reserved Presidency. Don’t even get started about the beliefs that goes on with regards to the armed forces.
All these, haven’t even scratched the surface about the DAILY challenges faced by minorities in this country trying to go about looking for a job, going about their daily routine, trying to get a loan, buying a property, etc, etc, or just simply trying to get by.
It doesn’t matter even if you believe that this recent case of that man in question who had the nerve to chastise a stranger about his choice in picking a girlfriend, was an anomaly.
Your denials of the problems of racism in this country, and your most annoying claims that Singapore does not have a chronic racist problem, or that racists are in the absolute minority, or that famous comparative analysis that there are other countries with a far much worse record with racism, et al, are, as I have said earlier, the very reason racism has festered in this country. Coz we make excuses for them.
In an environment where even your own government perpetuates what obviously looks like racism when they insist that only a Chinese can be a Prime Minister, and making excuses for it, how can you really say we that we don’t play the racism card when it suits us?
In an environment where a minority is easily shut down for raising questions about racism and accused of trying to “stir shit”, how can you not even suspect that the problem is worse than it is?
In an environment where a belief system has been so ingrained that it repulses the most decent of people, how can it still surprise you that a man had the audacity to throw racist rhetoric at a total stranger in full view of the public eye.
Who are you kidding?
We should expect it!
The problem isn’t that the man was racist.
The real problem was that he felt and believed he had the right to say what he said and did.
And he, is not alone.
This was first published on Rudy Irawan Kadjairi’s Facebook page, and reproduced with permission