Singaporeans not racist in opposing pinoy I-Day

I refer to the 23 Apr 2014 TR Emeritus article “Opposing pinoy I-Day event isn’t xenophobic, it’s racist!” by Susu Besar.

Mr Besar used the examples of the public celebration of Mexican National Day in US, Italian flags supposedly flown ‘everywhere’ in New York’s Little Italy and the public display of the Taiwan KMT flag in New York to justify the public celebration of the Philippines Independence Day in Singapore.

The following are examples of Mexican National Day celebrations around the world:
• 2006, Jamaica New Kingston Knutsford Boulevard, Hilton Kingston Hotel
• 2008, Vietnam Hanoi, Melia Hotel
• 2008, Indonesia Jakarta, Four Seasons Hotel
• 2011, New Zealand Wellington, Te Papa Museum
• 2011, India, Hotel Lalit
• 2011, South Africa Pretoria, Embassy of Mexico in South Africa
• 2011, Indonesia Jakarta, Pacific Restaurant & Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton
• 2012, Indonesia Jakarta, Mutiara Ballroom Gran Melia
• 2012, Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, Renaissance Hotel
• 2013, Ireland Dublin, Clade Court Hotel
• 2013, Kenya, Zapata Restaurant

Not one of them was held in public. Can Mr Besar explain why Singaporeans should adhere to his one and only example of public celebration but not countless other examples of celebration in private? The fact remains that most national day celebrations in foreign lands are held in private, not in public.

There are so many Little Italies around the world (, has Mr Besar been to all of them? Does one Little Italy having Italian flags ‘everywhere’ (even if it is true), means all Little Italies must have Italian flags ‘everywhere’? Does Mr Besar also recommend having Indian flags flown ‘everywhere’ in our Little India, Chinese flags in Chinatown, Arab flags in Arab Street, Dutch flags in Holland Village and so on?

Is Mr Besar also recommending that the Taiwan KMT flag be flown in Singapore? How about the American Democratic and Republican flags or the Malaysian UMNO flag? Nobody gives a damn about Taiwan KMT flag in America so nobody should give a damn about Taiwan KMT flag in Singapore? But a Taiwan KMT flag in Singapore contravenes the Singapore law. So how not to give a damn?

Mr Besar also accused Singaporeans of being racist because we didn’t make noise when the Irish celebrate St Patrick’s Day at Clarke Quay or when the French celebrate Diner En Blanc (in public) or when the Japanese celebrate their Emperor’s birthday at Orchard but we make noise when Filipinos want to celebrate at Orchard.

Diner En Blanc may have been started by a French 25 years ago but it is certainly not a celebration of French independence or sovereignty. It is a celebration in white, not a celebration in red, white and blue.

The following are the locations of the celebrations of the Japanese Emperor’s birthday by the Embassy of Japan in Singapore:
• 2007, The Fullerton Hotel
• 2011, 78th birthday, The Fullerton Hotel
• 2013, 80th birthday, The Fullerton Hotel

Unless Mr Besar has evidence to the contrary, based on the three examples above (would have listed more if I could find more), the Japanese do not celebrate their Emperor’s birthday in public in Singapore.

Finally, the Irish St Patrick’s Day is a celebration of St Patrick who brought Christianity to Ireland. It is a celebration of Irish Christianity, not a celebration of Irish nationality or independence. Nevertheless, there are two photographs showing the Irish flag being displayed in public during St Patrick’s Day celebration in Singapore:

Irish flag 2

Irish flag 1

Going by the letter of the Singapore law, these should amount to infringements on our sovereignty. Nevertheless, our minister has the power to waive such transgresses so you wonder why have a law that upholds our sovereignty yet include a provision to waive its use?


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