False charges of xenophobia and racism

I refer to the 28 May 2014 Straits Times article “Nasty comments mar Filipinos’ Independence Day preparations”.

The Philipino Independence Day Council Singapore supposedly cancelled this year’s Philippines Independence Day celebration due to unavailability, inaccessibility or capacity constraints of alternative venues. But one alternative venue, Labrador Park is much larger than Ngee Ann City and is served by the Labrador Park MRT station. There are also other open spaces located away from public eyes like Pearl’s Hill City Park just behind Outram Park MRT and Fort Canning Park near Dhoby Gaut MRT. The organisers have no one else but themselves to blame when so many alternative venues are available to them.

Sociologist Paulin Straughan worried that those who protested against the event will see this as a victory. Ms Straughan was unduly worried, the protestors didn’t gloat over their success because right from the start, their purpose has always been for the country rather than against anybody so there is no one to gloat against. Ms Straughan believed most Singaporeans do not share the protestors’ sentiments. Ms Straughan has been misinformed; the protestors wouldn’t have achieved success without sufficient groundswell. Ms Straughan urged the so-called silent majority to speak up so that this does not come across as victory for the protestors. Ms Straughan should not assume that silence means consent, she should not begrudge an outcome that many Singaporeans fought hard for and she should not behave like a sore loser. The subsequent voicing out by various groups including 12 civil society organizations shows just how ‘majority’ or otherwise the supposedly silent ‘majority’ is. Together, they represent only a tiny segment of the Singapore population, nothing like what you’d see at Hong Lim Park.

Civil society statement on racism and xenophobia

I refer too to the statement on racism and xenophobia by 12 civil society organizations and 20 individuals. Without proof, the groups condemned Singaporeans of racism and xenophobia not realizing that their noble efforts will come to nought if their one-sided accusation of racism and xenophobia isn’t backed by evidence. Unless they come up with clear, irrefutable evidence, their arguments will always rest on hollow grounds.

The groups insist that injustices will not disappear even if migrant population were to decrease. But we know injustices should decrease as migrant population decreases. They refer to widespread use of racist or aggressive anti-foreigner rhetoric or language on social media and public space without ever proving so. Quite often, what they refer to as racist rhetoric or language is what Singaporeans normally use on one another day in day out. It can’t be that Singaporeans arguing with one another is seen as okay but Singaporeans arguing with foreigners for specific reasons is seen as racist and xenophobic. We would end up with this strange situation where Singaporeans are compelled to treat foreigners much better than they treat themselves.

The groups reject the notion of “true blue Singaporean” as a prejudice no different from the prejudice against race, class, skin colour and so on. They also reject the elevation of the pink IC or National Service as sacred emblems of entitlement. Should they try to shove their rejection down the throats of Singaporeans, they will soon realise who the silent majority is.

What message was police sending over Filipino event?

I refer too to the 29 May 2014 Today letter “What message was police sending over Filipino event?” by Singapore scholar Daniel Lim Shao Qi.

Daniel expressed disappointment with the Singapore police for failing its duty to protect law and order. Actually, it is not law and order that needs protection but people. Law and order needs upholding instead.

Daniel vilified and maligned protestors of the Philippines Independence Day event as intolerant bigots. Daniel couldn’t have been more wrong for no one was ever against the celebration of the Philippines Independence Day, only of its celebration in Orchard Road. The rationale isn’t one of intolerance but love for one’s country for quite clearly, it is against the law and honour of Singapore for the Philippines Independence Day to be held in clear view of the public. So contrary to what Daniel insisted, the police was actually upholding the law of Singapore, specifically our National Emblems Act, when it rejected the event.

The message to the Philippine government and to foreigners is not that the police is unwilling to protect Filipinos or foreigners but that Filipinos and foreigners must obey Singapore law, specifically the National Emblems Act, in Singapore.

Don’t let xenophobia take root in Singapore: Arthur Fong

I refer too to the 30 May 2014 Today report “Don’t let xenophobia take root in Singapore: Arthur Fong”.

MP Authur Fong described the furore over the Philippine Independence Day celebration as a shot across the bow that should prompt Singaporeans to examine themselves. No Mr Fong, it is a shot across the bow for you and your PAP colleagues and a gentle reminder that our National Emblems Act should not be taken for granted nor desecrated in the name of xenophilia.

Mr Fong’s worry about xenophobia is misplaced for no one was ever against the Philippine Independence Day celebration, only of its being held in Orchard Road. The kind of Singapore we will have is one where the hospitality of Singaporeans towards foreigners is reciprocated by their commensurate respect for our laws, specifically the National Emblems Act.

Mr Fong warned against destructive politics without realizing that locking up political opponents without trial, bankrupting them for innocuous comments, monopolizing the national narrative through the press and television have been destructive to Singapore politics for the past 50 years that have driven 40% of the populace to cynicism and hopelessness. Gridlock is not the worse evil compared to the tyranny of absolute power.

Singaporeans should speak out against racism

I refer too to the 31 May 2014 Today report “Singaporeans should speak out against racism”.

Mr Wan reasoned that when individuals representing civil rights groups make a strong statement against racism and xenophobia, it is not an imaginary monster created by the government. One of those individuals is Ms Teo Soh Lung. If Ms Teo speaking up against racism and xenophobia means racism and xenophobia are real, then Ms Teo speaking up against the evils of the Internal Security Act and Operation Spectrum means the ISA and Operation Spectrum are also truly evil. In that case, would Mr Wan be so kind as to champion the abolishing of the ISA and the restitution of all those who were unjustly taken away during Operation Spectrum? Or does Mr Wan only recognize the work of civil rights groups when it runs along government agenda but disapproves their work when it runs in contrary?

Mr Wan blamed Singaporeans for being unkind to foreigners but that’s not true, Singaporeans are kind to foreigners, only this time they are insisting that their sacred right as enshrined by the National Emblems Act be respected.

Mr Wan doubted most Singaporeans are xenophobic or racist and urged this silent majority to step forward. Mr Wan is right in that the majority of those who protested against the Philippines Independence Day celebration in Orchard were neither xenophobic nor racist. They are the silent majority who will always step forward to refute Mr Wan’s false accusations of xenophobia and racism.


4 Responses to “False charges of xenophobia and racism”

  1. Realist Says:

    Please lah – a cursory glance at forums like on hardwarezone.com will reveal that Singapore is really home to many xenophobes and racists. This kind of thing cannot bluff one.

    Our only consolation as a nation is that such people are in the minority. But if the govt persists with their socially divisive policies, the situation can only deteriorate, not improve…

  2. GG Says:

    If foreign managers give jobs to their own people in preference to Singaporeans , is that racism ? If so, then such racism is pervasive. More so, it’s is conducted on our own soil. In which country do you find such things ? Singapore has many strange firsts.

  3. Singapore boy Says:

    Singaporeans are kind and open people. Not xenophobes or racist.

  4. Francis Says:

    Xenophobia and nationalisms can be confused something, what we are having is not xenophobia, if the government don’t realise it, sooner than later, they will fail.

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