The year is 2018, and still, folks seem to believe that it’s perfectly fine to dress up as ridiculous caricatures of people from other races. A Facebook post has being shared around in horror has claimed that a Chinese man — described as someone who’s an executive — put on a fake beard and a makeshift turban to entertain guests at a Deepavali celebration. Even more damning is that the party allegedly took place for employees at Sport Singapore, an actual statutory board under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
We’ve reached out to Sport Singapore for verification, but if what Facebook user Joel Tan says is true, what a shitshow. A source who described the incident to Tan mentioned that the unknown man played the part to the point of stereotypical buffoonery, bursting out in Tamil randomly, bobbing his head, and handing out kacang puteh to guests.
Tan also makes an astutely woke call out to his fellow Chinese Singaporeans and their attitudes towards casual racism.
“People like to think racism doesn’t exist in Singapore, but it really does. Not even badly disguised racism: just flat out, balls to the wall insensitivity and grotesque tone-deafness. This is what happens when we collectively agree that “race” is not a Singaporean concept. Or that our multi-racial harmony is well and alive because we don’t talk about race, don’t acknowledge the racist behavior of Chinese people, and dismiss those who call out this kind of behavior snowflakes, shit-stirrers, and ‘racists’ themselves. Seriously we Chinese Singaporeans are some of the most consistently racist, racism-denying, and racism-defending people I’ve ever met.”
It’s not as if this would be the first case of a Singaporean Chinese individual caught in an appalling moment of cultural insensitivity. Back in 2016, an episode of a Mediacorp original comedy series was deservingly slammed for featuring a plot that involves a Chinese actor donning blackface for laughs. A year before that, another Chinese actor posted a selfie of himself on Instagram with a fake moustache, a turban, and darkened skin, to make a Deepavali greeting.
“Please nobody come to me saying their intentions were good and this was good natured fun in the spirit of cross cultural exchange; or that it’s an act of endearment,” asserted Tan in his post.
“And please let’s take a good hard look at this photo and try to square it with the society we think we live in.”
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