Rooting Out Racism From The Roots

Rooting out racism from the roots

Almost immediately after our badge-demanding former naval officer became famous overnight, a polytechnic lecturer stole the limelight by chastising a mixed-race couple. Then, there is this gong lady who struck her gong (bought from Taobao?) loudly and repeatedly when her Indian neighbour was sounding his prayer bell. Both lecturer and gong lady are now under police investigation. The lecturer has even been suspended. But is stress due to Covid to blame for all this? Is this racism? Could gong lady merely be childishly retaliating against something which annoyed her?

The knee jerk reaction to all this is disgust. But are we really being fair to the lecturer? Are you not showing double standards?

Quote:

Mr (S.) Rajaratnam was the exponent of “we can create a race of Singaporeans”. Idealistically, I would go along with him. But, realistically, I knew it was going to be one long, hard slog; maybe we’ll never get there, but we should try.Ask yourself this question. If your child brings back a boyfriend or a girlfriend of a different race, will you be delighted? I will answer you frankly. I do not think I will. I may eventually accept it. So it is deep in the psyche of a human being.

Lee Kuan Yew

We can argue that Mr Lee was not a racist, but it’s undeniable that he did not see mixed marriages as a norm that is readily accepted in Singapore society or probably even within his family.

Rooting Out Racism From The Roots

As we ponder over definitions, there was a time when I was worried that “racism” could take on a new meaning very different from what we learned in primary school. When we complained of overcrowding on our tiny island from liberal immigration policies, scholarships being granted to foreign students who can’t even converse in English at PSLE level, we were accused of xenophobia. When we complained about nationals from a certain South Asian country dominating the banking sector and high risk arrivals from that South Asian country thwarting our Covid prevention efforts, we have been accused of racism.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the definition of racism has been somewhat cleaned up by obvious and bona fide cases trending on social media nowadays. We are getting a bit closer to the real meaning of racism, but while cases involving the majority race despising a minority race are often highlighted for all to condemn, what about instances in which the tables are turned? I’m not sure if other Chinese people had the same experience, but I had a friend who was threatened by a Malay man for dating his daughter. Can such incidents make it on social media other than the “safer” complaint about an Indian comedian pretending to be an unsavoury Chinese character?

Let’s face. In spite of the veneer of racial harmony in this country, there is and there has always been some invisible divide out there which is not removed by wearing one’s ethnic costume on Racial Harmony Day. It’s simplistic and cosmetic. The more we regard these as sensitive issues and the less we’re willing to discuss them, the more they fester under the surface. We may think that we have made bigger strides than Malaysia, but let me ask you, do you think a person like Namewee could have succeeded in Singapore? He would have been silenced from the first sentence of “Negarakuku” and be banned for life.

PN Lodged Police Report Against Namewee's Latest Movie "Babi" - Hype  Malaysia

What about Douglas Lim and his parodies? Do you think he could have survived as an a comedian cum influencer making fun of a Malay politician in Singapore? Our performers are instantly brought to task for imitating another race!

Indeed, we would be fooling ourselves to think that we have been successful in cultivating racial harmony instead of silencing racists, avoiding sensitive topics while nitpicking to comb out apparent “racists”. But what about the real instances of racism? As fate would have it, Covid popped the lid open and the worms are laid bare.

Regrettably, a lot of inter-ethnic suspicion and mistrust have their roots in our shared history. And it’s unfortunate that the history we learned from informal sources like friends and seniors, or even formal sources like mediocre educators is often incomplete or even inaccurate. Truth be told, it’s only in recent years that I found time to dig deeper and understand better.

Mao Zedong dining with Sukarno

Looking at how things are going in the world today, I fear that history may repeat itself. Before Suharto’s Pancasila, there was Sukarno’s Nasakom – negara, agama (religion), Komunisme (Communism). Yes, you didn’t misread. Communism. China was powerful and prosperous before and after 大跃进 and Sukarno was a big fan of Mao. The PKI had quite a number of seats in the Indonesian government running on Sukarno’s brand of “guided democracy”, later used by one of our leaders without raising any eyebrows because fee people knew Indonesian history.

Mao Zedong with Sukarno in Beijing

Also warmly received by Mao, was DN, leader of the PKI, Partai Komunis Indonesia. After an important meeting with Mao, Sukarno suddenly opposed the formation of Malaysia. The Tunku ignored his protests and went ahead. Sukarno then instigated the invasion of Brunei by a Kalimantan militant force and wanted to whole of Borneo to be Indonesian territory. The British came to our rescue. Even though China successfully tested its own atomic bomb in 1964 and Sukarno had already pre-ordered it, the Indonesian armed forces were not ready to fight the British face to face.

Mao Zedong with communist leader Aidit

Indonesian troops then unleashed Konfrontasi on Malaysia in 1964, conducting sabotage operations and stirring ethnic tensions which resulted in racial riots. Then, a “hero” emerged. He was an anti-communist general by the name of Suharto. His counter coup against the PKI’s military coup in September 1965 (apparently to turn Indonesia red for good) put an end to Konfrontasi – a Communist insurgency (with blessings from you know who) often misinterpreted as an ethnic war. Wary that China’s influence would eventually destroy the values that Indonesia holds dear, he deposed Sukarno, cut ties with China and went on a witch-hunt to purge the country of its communists.

What followed is commonly known as 排华 from the ethnic Chinese perspective, but the original intention was to weed out Communism. Regrettably, Suharto enlisted the help of local militias and religious zealots and all hell broke loose. Over 2 million people were killed according to latest estimates, many of them innocent Indonesians. Contrary to popular belief, many times more non-Chinese than Chinese people were killed in that horrific massacre.

Suharto also placed Christian officers in key military appointments to balance the Muslim influence. If Suharto were truly anti-Chinese like some of seniors would have us believe, Indonesian Chinese people would be begging on the streets. Chinese people in Malaysia (which included Singapore) who were not communists were caught between a rock and a hard place. Suharto’s massacre made us angry but without Suharto, we could well have become a part of communist Indonesia. Also regrettably is the fact that many Chinese people of my generation have been brought up with the mistaken impression that there is only one race in Indonesia, they are all Muslims and they have 排华 tendencies.

Will history repeat itself? Well, we should keep an eye on the Indonesian leader and his relationship with some powerful Northeast Asian country.

May be an image of 1 person and standing

Finally, allow me to share a video which looks a lot deeper into the recent anti-Asian rhetoric and violence in the USA. In the video, Mr Fang revealed that churches in America give out free food to the poor and homeless. As long as you’re not Karen Carpenter, you won’t starve. I’ve also seen similar charitable acts in China, but the free food is usually in the form of plain porridge and preserved vegetables. Perhaps they are not as generous as the American donors. Perhaps, they understand the potential for abuse and exploitation which gullible Americans don’t.

Chinese people who could well afford to buy their own food plundered these food distribution centres in America, something behaving entitled and sometimes reselling the donated food items for personal profit. And I’m ashamed to admit that I won’t trust many of my own kiasu, kiasi and gian png people not to behave the same way.

I’ve encountered some form of racism or rather racial prejudice in Australia myself. When my sons and I stepped out of a shop without buying anything, the security guard checked our bags. On another occasion, a shopkeeper told us (in very slow and laboured English) that we had to put the items back on the shelf after browsing even before we picked anything up. But over 90% of social interactions we had with Australians had been positive in all our visits. In fact it’s even more positive than our experiences in Singapore. Why did these suspicious and presumptuous people at the shops behave that way? Is it only because of our skin colour? Or does our skin colour remind them of previous bad experiences?

Yes, it’s important that we call out instances of racism. But what’s more important, is to realise that a lot of racist behaviour is not instigated by skin colour alone. Taking a shallow view of racists makes us just as shallow. I’ve mentioned before in this blog, not just the biggest threat to our racial harmony, but also a threat to our sovereignty is something which Prof Tommy Koh called Chinese chauvinism – something which we pay a lot less attention to compared to religious radicalism. Allow me to highlight a recent encounter. An intellectual from China said “We had our era of humiliation. The period under British colonial rule was your era of humiliation. Why do you still use English as your official language? Why not use Chinese? You could be closer to China.”

I’m sure you know what the standard Singaporean reply would be. But the Chinese intellectual’s reply to that reply was also quite standard – only that many Singaporeans are not aware of it:

“You are the majority. Our minorities have to use Chinese.”

© Chan Joon Yee


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Sinovac- the proudest & loudest vaccine

Sinovac is the proudest and loudest coronavirus vaccine plaguing Singapore now. A Chinese netizen working in Singapore (@xiaoqige567 on TikTok) has audaciously mocked what he believed to be our self-sabotaging foreign policy and rejection of China’s vaccine diplomacy. I shall do an intellectual dissection of his video which unfortunately comes with very poorly translated English subtitles – which is why I’m reluctant to share the video itself.

But first, let’s go back a bit to 23 February 2021 when we first received a shipment of 200,000 doses Sinovac from China. This vaccine was ordered last year in anticipation that the complete results from the trials would be released soon. Unfortunately, what the health authorities anticipated from China was not forthcoming. Do we continue to wait? No, the authorities decided to approve it with caveats. It was not till 2 June 2021 that China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine can be administered in Singapore under the special access route after it was approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, use of Sinovac is not covered under VIFAP.

If Sinovac is safe enough to be allowed for use, under the Special Access Route (SAR), why is it not part of the national vaccination programme and covered by the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (VIFAP)?

MOH:

These are two separate decisions.

For vaccines to come under the national vaccination programme, it has to go through a rigorous evaluation of its safety and efficacy. From global and local data, both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines met these criteria. We are still awaiting some outstanding data on the Sinovac vaccine to complete our evaluation

In the meantime, we will put the Sinovac vaccine under the Special Access Route, so that private providers can draw on our existing stock to administer to individuals who wish to have it. 

“However, since the China-made vaccine is not part of the national vaccine programme, those who choose to receive it will not be eligible for the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (VIFAP).”

Now, let’s dissect the video. Before I begin, I need to point out that though the translation in the subtitles is somewhat inaccurate, the Chinese language at this level can be subtly provocative. The title audaciously warns us not to choose the wrong side and end up foregoing a watermelon for a sesame seed. Here goes.

“There is finally news about the vaccine that we’ve been waiting day and night in anticipation.”

热烈欢呼全国第四届人民代表大会胜利召开宣传画POSTER OF WARM CELEBRATION FOR THE SUCCESSFUL OPENING  OF THE 4TH NATIONAL PEOPLES CONGRESS by Shandong Exhibition Studio on artnet

“I’m not sure if you have watched Mr Lee’s 24-min speech. The message he intended to convey was roughly within my expectation. There are several very noteworthy points about the news concerning Chinese vaccines. Firstly, Singapore is going to roll out, apart from what has already been done for Pfizer, Moderna and other vaccines that WHO had approved for emergency use, Sinopharm and hitherto unapproved Sinovac Biotech vaccines which will be administered by private institutions. The bad news is, we have to pay for our vaccinations. That’s right, you have to pay for it yourself. The actual cost will depend on what these private institutions charge. I believe it’s not going to be cheap.”

“Apart from that, if you develop any adverse effects from the administration of Chinese vaccines, the Singapore government will not be responsible. I’m not sure whether to celebrate or to lament. For me, I can’t find enough words to describe how I feel. I can only chuckle sardonically. I just want to get a made in China vaccine. Why must it be so difficult? Vaccines are just vaccines. Why must they be treated so differently? Is it a cost factor? Or is the constitution of Singaporeans more suited to vaccines made in USA?”

“Can’t bear to look mighty China in the eye? Or pandering to America’s whims and fancies? Or are you waiting for tens of thousands of Chinese workers to return to China and leave all the job vacancies for Singaporeans? I don’t think this is a price that Singapore can afford to pay. As a foreign worker in Singapore, I can accept unequal treatment. But I cannot accept such a cavalier attitude towards the feelings of tens of thousands of Chinese people. I believe there are many “stories” behind Singapore’s choice of vaccines. Working in Singapore, Chinese people more or less do contribute to Singapore’s GDP. I hope Singapore’s talent in being an opportunist and fair-weather friend does not apply here. Just let the issues of vaccines be purely an issue of vaccines (untainted by other factors). I’m Xiaoqi, speaking on behalf of tens of thousands of brothers and sisters working in Singapore.”

lihailewodeguo图片大全_lihailewodeguo图片在线观看- 梨子网

Well, what do you make of it? Xiaoqi’s language is subtle. The translation is laughably awful and presumptuous, but that’s more to do with the translator’s emotive response and not his lack of knowledge. He had added a lot of salt and pepper, but on the whole, there are only a few minor inaccuracies. His interpretation of Xiaoqi’s warrior wolf attitude behind the subtle language is not far off. Xiaoqi had every intention to deride and insult us.

If you look closely, Xiaoqi’s pompous speech is a bag of contradictions. “Can’t bear to look powerful China in the eye?” sums up his bottled feelings of superiority. I know more than a few people from China who had gladly taken the free Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (without making an issue of it or waiting for Sinovac). Could Xiaoqi be ranting because he has to pay for showing patriotism? Well, who doesn’t? Our NDP cost taxpayers $40M.

If paying for it is such an issue, why couldn’t he have just quietly gone for Pfizer and Moderna? Because he is a 网红 who is obliged to set a good example for other patriotic Chinese nationals? Or is he just a 网红 wannabe trying to become famous by garnering support from fellow patriots? Well, he might want to know that many of his 领导 actually waited day and night secretly in anticipation for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

More contradictions. He complained about our government not taking responsibility for adverse effects. But why would he need any support in this area if Sinovac were really a superior vaccine? I believe he trusts Sinovac, but he thinks it’s an insulting move and he thinks it’s personal. He thinks it’s political in nature because from his perspective and upbringing, every decision not in favour of or deference to hegemonic China is political, foolish and immoral. With his mindset still stuck in a society that is even more intolerant to alternative views than Singapore, he cannot see any other reason why we would treat Sinovac differently apart from his belief that we look up to the US and not to China. But what do the numbers tell us?

Outside the great firewall in Singapore where the internet is minimally censored, Xiaoqi climbed back behind the wall to read all the propaganda and censored news. It’s such an irony that he said that we should decide on vaccines by looking at them purely as vaccines. That’s exactly what we have been courageously doing. And if he is capable of looking at vaccines as just vaccines, why not just take the American vaccines? Why should patriotism come in if he practised what he preached?

We received Sinovac in February. If we had been afraid of trade sanctions or the kind of boycott which Xiaoqi had suggested and that we afford to face, we would have meekly approved Sinovac and used it straight away. I’m proud that we didn’t. The dead silence from other Chinese netizens to Xiaoqi’s video is also mind-boggling. If a fellow Singaporean had made a racist or insensitive remark on social media, you can count on other Singaporeans to call him/her out. The silence from other Chinese netizens can mean several things. They may agree with him – that Singaporeans are a bunch of fools. The fact that we dare to treat Sinovac with so little “respect” (faith and deference) shows that we fail to recognise China’s greatness and choose to lean against a superpower in decline instead of an upcoming one.

He is a modern day 义和团/红卫兵. These are faith-driven zombies who can’t be reasoned with. It may surprise some people who think highly of China but Xiaoqi could be regarded as hero for challenging our foreign policies and threatening us with labour shortage. Remember 2007 when the late Taiwanese president Lee Teng Hui was visiting Japan, a man from China threw a bottle at him. The attacker was released without charges and for his act of hooliganism, he returned to a hero’s welcome in China. I won’t be at all surprised if the same honour is now being bestowed upon Xiaoqi. Even if we had chosen a sesame instead of a watermelon, does Xiaoqi think that we’re really that stupid? Maybe we just don’t share his values?

_DSC3305 -- Terrex AFV

Back when we insisted on caning Micheal Fay, there was a lot of rhetoric from America. Determined not to be bullied by America, we went ahead and meted out the sentence. More rhetoric, but America took no retaliatory action against Singapore. In contrast, our Terrex were swiftly detained in Hong Kong after the ruling on Scarborough Shoal against China made by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (which has an office in Singapore). While China is a member of the PCA, there is absolutely no assurance that they would abide by any ruling not in their favour! This is one difference between watermelon and sesame which Xiaoqi seems totally ignorant of.

Having said that, Xiaoqi is absolutely correct to infer that we are overly dependent on foreign workers like him and without them, Singapore can’t be as prosperous at the top as she is now. But 90% of us are nowhere near the top. Some may not even aspire to be there if it means sacrificing our dignity and submitting to bullies and hegemony. Nevertheless, fighting corruption in China simply means arresting a bunch of corrupt officials and replacing them with another bunch of corrupt officials. Xiaoqi and his gang may not be as indispensable as they think they are.

A classic statement made by a China woman on a dating show in China: “宁愿坐在宝马车里哭,也不愿坐在单车上 被人笑”. Better to marry someone rich and abusive than someone poor but nice. Do we share the same values? I can’t speak for Singapore’s property tycoons eager to see their mansions being snapped up by China’s tycoons, but I certainly do not.

Brainwashed folks like Xiaoqi will just keep blowing his trumpet and ignoring the facts. Being a well-read person with access to both China’s 大外宣 and the uncensored world, I know for a fact (even though I seldom agree with our government) that our vaccine policies are purely scientific. It all boils down to the science which is unfortunately impotent against the apocryphal perception that China is always underrated by the West. If you were to ask me whether Sinovac is safe, I would say that it probably is. But if you want me to guarantee that it’s safe, I would be extremely hesitant. China may be able to give you their guarantee, but history tells us that when something happens, they are much better at covering up the news and silencing whistle blowers than actually compensating victims. Those who bring up the issues are accused of 唯恐天下不乱.

Unfortunately, Xiaoqi’s vaccine chauvinism has infected many of our own people. This is one epidemic which cannot be curbed with a vaccine. The brainwashed Singaporeans who think that 中国的最好 are probably just as difficult to counsel as their counterparts in China due to their racial/cultural bias (not to mention readily available CCP propaganda on social media). Below is a screenshot of an official media report quoting Prof Gao Fu, head of China’s CDC, saying that China-made vaccines are currently less effective than mRNA vaccines. The good prof was immediately forced to retract his statement.

There has been a conspicuous spike in the number of videos educating us on vaccination and encouraging us to get it ASAP. The actual workings of mRNA vaccines are also explained to assure the public that it’s not a devious act of mind/body control by Western imperialists. All this is getting a bit awkward (seeing Dr Leong Hoe Nam’s face all the time) but necessary. That’s because 敌在暗,我在明。It’s not a fair fight. They block and censor all major news channels and social media from 1.3 billion people, some 18.47% of the world. We do nothing to prevent CGTN, China Daily, Sina, Weibo from spreading embellished information to the rest of the world.

It’s quite harmless when only our 傻逼 are duped into embracing the superiority of the proudest and loudest vaccine without understanding that our policies vis-a-vis vaccines are based on science and not politics. Yet true to form, all the 小战狼 react to “unequal” treatment like a vindictive spurned lover. It gets really worrying when even our medical profession starts subscribing to CCP propaganda, but what can we do? It would hypocritical to block access to all that pompous rhetoric and propaganda, but in an age of TikTok and one-liners, the battle to win over the shallow majority with boring facts and reason will be an uphill struggle.

© Chan Joon Yee


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Influencers & Foolish Followers – Kiara Kitty

So what’s new? Influencer and live-streamer Kiara Kitty has just made a police report, accusing someone of making a fake audio recording of an “imposter” confessing to pulling love scams on gullible men and to avoid having sex with one of them, the alleged imposter even audaciously claimed that she has been raped by her own father! In response to this widely circulated “fake video”, Kiara Kitty had just made a police report against the imposter. She added that “I am often misunderstood but I give no fuck, those who are real will stay.” I wonder what she means by “real”.

OK, who is Kiara Kitty? A sweet and innocent XMM? Apparently not. Below are some of her recent Instagram pictures, all publicly available at @kiaraakitty. While beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and what you see may not be what you get, these images (enhanced or otherwise), do look like they have what it takes to bait 120k followers; and that’s how many followers she has on Instagram. Also, she had 29.1k followers on Twitter (last tweet 3 weeks ago). Who would want to follow a writer, adventurer and homecook like me?

Even her abandoned Facebook page has 38,541 followers. She also has a YouTube channel with some 33.3k followers, not particularly impressive, but miles ahead of me. Of course, photos are easier to edit and manipulate than videos. We can peel away that layer of enhancement and check out a more authentic Kiara Kitty in the YouTube video below. Yep, another subcerebral presentation with the equally influential Jade Rasif. What were they talking about? Yes, sex and guys with big dicks and hearts. Meanwhile, the folks at AWARE are fighting for the insensitive men in this country to change their … mindsets.

I’ve always been curious how Jade Rasif could be a mum who aspires to quit showbiz and go into healthcare could still have time for trivia like this. Sadly but not surprisingly, she is rather scant on details, even on the “boring mum stuff”. I don’t have time to go through all the videos, but I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that I’m not a follower and all this information comes from last minute research and I’ll only highlight some “indicative” material like the video below. Sorry, YouTube doesn’t allow embedding. It’s adults only. If you don’t want to watch it, it’s a live-streamed pool party with lot’s of raunchy antics and responses to lewd questions and remarks. They collected $232.75 at the end of this video (with 12 hours to go). I’m not sure what the final amount was, but Kiara Kitty claimed that she paid $1000.

A bit like Rebecca Chen’s Siew Lup, this is another example of “lame porn” that is neither here nor there. Siew Lup is a horror flick that only goes half as far as some HK Cat 3 movie of the 1980s. I don’t know how many guys would drool over this pool party video and gladly open their wallets, but suffice to say that there are far more titillating stuff out there. Of course, I understand that this is Singapore and there is a limit to how far the girls can go and this is not to say that I have anything against tasteful sensuality. It’s just that if you can’t go all the way, why not just do something more meaningful?

Now let’s get to the YouTube “video” (actually an audio recording of a phone conversation) between Kiara Kitty and some foreign guy. Without her face shown in the actual conversation, Kiara Kitty can deny that it’s her. The whole rationale of making the police report is to stop the “video” from going viral. I’m not sure if it’s going to be removed, but I’m sure that unlike Leong Sze Hian, I won’t get sued just for sharing it.

I don’t know Kiara Kitty, have not met her and I have never even had a phone conversation with her. I can’t tell you that I recognise her voice and I won’t know if it’s an imposter trying to defame her. It’s tough not to take notice and I would be glad to write her story if she decides to confess.

Interestingly, we hear about a case in which she got suckered into being used by a loser (paying for his FB marketing and so on) and another a few cases in which she managed to get back by tricking and manipulating gullible, diffident nerds into giving her money. It reminds me of one of the stories in my book, Spellbound in Chiangmai. It also reminds me of a tattoo model I’ve once worked with. While I knew that she was happily married (with no children), she adopted the totally fictional persona of a single mother who was constantly abused by one boyfriend after another. The result? She had hordes of sympathising followers who sent her presents and money to console her.

Real stories of fake suffering like the letters from Thai bargirls compiled in Hello My Big Big Honey date back to the 1980s (before some of our influencers were born). Typed or hand-written by ghostwriters, letters about sick mothers, dead buffaloes and imprisoned brothers, no money for school fees etc successfully solicited funds from gullible Farang men who fell in love in Thailand. Interestingly, almost 40 years down the road, a high tech, wide-reaching version of this “sob story scam” has taken over not just in Thailand but apparently in Singapore as well. Personally, I have more respect for people who charge a fee for their services than those who keep an open relationship to cast an illusion of romance and milk their clients for more.

While we can’t say for sure if Kiara Kitty had been a scammer, knowing what it takes to be an influencer here (and how broke some of them are in reality in spite of all that flaunting), it is only too tempting to harness social media to haul in the gullible, emotionally vulnerable folks. There are certainly more than a few of them among the tens of thousands of pathetically bored (boring) guys. Just another facet of these prosperous yet tragic times.

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© Chan Joon Yee


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