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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Chinese privilege 102

An article that has since been deleted:

Chinese privilege 102
by Red Pill Dude

For anyone interested in finding out more about the Sangeetha Thanapal aka batshit crazy envious Indian woman who considers herself an expert on concept of ”privilege” and how it applies to the different races in Singapore, here’s a treat for you! Someone actually interviewed her to actually seek her opinion on Chinese privilege, gender and intersectionality in Singapore. It’s funny because the chick interviewing Sangeetha is equally mental (she is the author of this delightful article: To My Dear Fellow Singaporean Chinese: Shut Up When a Minority is Talking about Race)

Instead of wadding through the whole sorry interview, I’ll lessen both your and my pain by just extracting the best bits for me to mock and ridicule.

In recent years, the number of interracial marriages in Singapore have risen. This is to be expected–after all, we are a multiracial country with a multitude of races and cultures. In 2012, one in five marriages was interethnic.

Oh really? That’s good to hear. Men should be free to women of their choosing and vice versa. Let’s mix and melt it up baby.


Singapore prides itself on being a postracial society (Ed: wtf is a post racial society?!), and within the Indian community, there has been indeed been a strong increase of Indian men dating and marrying Chinese women. And yet, the reverse is rarely true–Chinese men do not usually date or marry Indian women.

Hmm…Indian men hooking up with Chinese chicks…but why???


Hmm…Chinese men rarely hooking up with Indian chicks…but why???


:) . I keed I keed. That’s just plain ole cherry picking ain’t it. There is a reason why Chinese men rarely date Indian women and why Indian men are increasingly dating and marrying Chinese women. Personally, as an Indian guy, I find that Indian women are generally unattractive both in physical appearance and character. They tend to be overweight and have really unpleasant personalities on top of being incredibly drama prone. Did I mention they tend to have pretty severe inferiority complexes? If I had a penny for every time one of my Indian female friends bitched about Chinese girls…either calling out their lack of booty or flat chests. I always make it a point to remind them that being fat and thereby having a large ass and boobs does not make you sexually attractive. Otherwise BBW would be all the rage in the porn industry.


Of course there are some that I find highly attractive but they are few and far between.


It is also important to realize that the Indian men who marry Chinese women are by and large extremely well-educated members of the higher Indian-Singaporean socioeconomic classes. Chinese women are not marrying blue-collar Indian men, but rather those considered most eligible.

You have any evidence for this? I highly doubt so. You are probably talking out of your large bountiful ass.

Indian men who date Chinese women are desperate to assimilate. They instinctively realize the privilege of being Chinese, and unable to access it any other way, aspire to marry a Chinese woman. They do not have to experience racism as much when their wives’ Chinese privilege protects them, and it gives them access to opportunities that are usually reserved for Chinese people. They are effectively deracializing themselves.(Ed: Wtf does this mean)


Hahahahaaaaa. In this statement, you see the mental gymnastics that is taking place in Sangeetha’s mind. In the convoluted labyrinthine that is her mind, Indian men’s increasing preference for Chinese women has EVERYTHING to do with grabbing some of that valuable Chinese privilege for themselves and NOTHING to do with Indian men finding Chinese women’s slim, fair taugeh bodies and/or personality attractive. Also, by boning Chinese woman, I experience less racism and more opportunities as an Indian guy?! Who wouldn’t want to marry Chinese woman lol

Heterosexual patriarchy is also at work here.

I was expecting for the ‘P’ word to pop up sooner or later…

Women are expected to marry up wherever possible.

Women want to marry up whenever possible. So do their parents. Marrying up, in terms of status/money, would allow the woman to live a more comfortable life and provide for her kids better than she could have if she married otherwise (down or across). It’s called hypergamy and explains why women love love love high status men.


Indian women occupy the lowest rung of the Singaporean race hierarchy, and Chinese men occupy the highest. For a Chinese man to date and marry an Indian woman means to marry far beneath his status. Chinese women of a middling socio-economic class can move up a class by marrying the wealthiest indian men in the country. These Indian men, lacking racial privilege, which is itself a ‘property right’, can also move up the racial class through gaining access to their wives’ racial privilege. Chinese men gain nothing and lose everything by marrying an Indian girl, while Indian men gain access to racial privilege and Chinese women to class privilege by marrying rich Indian men.

Hold yer horses. Firstly, you say that both Chinese woman and Indian men gain from marrying each other. Chinese woman gain class privilege aka money while Indian men gain racial privilege. You have any proof of this? That the Chinese woman are only marrying wealthy Indian men? I doubt so. From what I’ve seen, both sides are roughly at the same social status.

Secondly, you say that Chinese men gain nothing and lose everything by marrying an Indian girl eh. What about a scenario where a poor Chinese dude marries a wealthy Indian woman. Doesn’t that move them up a class privilege ladder? Why then don’t we see more Chinese men marrying Indian women?

But what about Indian women? Singapore does not break down interracial marriages by gender, which obfuscates this racist situation, but the number of people needing to marry into Chineseness shows how powerless the minority communities really are.

Really? See what you can find when you look past your (racist) prejudices and bother do actually do some research. Below is a graph of the inter-ethnic marriages in 2013 in Singapore that I managed to find within 5 minutes.


I do not even see Indian men and Chinese woman being registered in this list (Civil Marriages) at all. And why? That’s because they do not constitute any sizable percentage at all…These are statistics from 2013 but it should be fairly the same as the current situation now. So what does this all come to?

Indian women like me do not usually have access to the same opportunities Indian men have. Again, we observe the complex intertwinement of sexual, class, and race discrimination here, and the internal paradoxes and contradictions to official postracial, egalitarian Singaporean rhetoric are obvious.

What is obvious for all to see is that we have a professional victim moaning and whining about how disadvantaged she is due to her race. She goes on a long rant bitching about something she calls Chinese privilege and concludes that she is at the lowest in her imaginary privilege totem pole. So in conclusion,

So you're a professional victim that preys on people, who will feel bad for you.
Tell me again why I'm actually supposed to give a fuck?

Related: The double captivity of ‘Chinese privilege’

Good comment by Masturah Alatas:

"Others have responded critically to the line that Thanapal and Koh have been pushing regarding their work on Chinese privilege. Among the criticisms I have come across are: too many generalizations and sweeping statements, conflation of concepts, a ranting, hostile, emotional tone; denigration of Indian men and Chinese women re their choice of marriage partner, the choice of frivolous examples like beauty contests to talk about a serious issue like gender discrimination, use of terms without really understanding them etc.

Any term built on an already problematic and flawed concept like White privilege is bound to run into serious problems. Works such as Theodore Allen’s The Invention of the White Race, Noel Ignatiev’s How the Irish became White and Sander Gilman’s ‘Are Jews White?’ in his book The Jew’s Body show that there is no common or consistent understanding of whiteness as one thing to begin with. Nor is there a common sense of privilege.

It is also a language problem, what words do when they appear in speech. Of course privilege exists, some people may not be aware of its negative effects and it is useful to remind them. But the moment one drops a term like Chinese privilege into the discussion, the reaction is often ‘What does that mean?’, ‘What has ‘Chinese’ got to do with it? Many Malaysian Malays are like that too’, ‘Why not just use the term Chinese chauvinism?’, ‘Why only Singaporean Chinese…many Malaysian Chinese are the same way…’, ‘Why are academics always talking about China these days?’ and the discussion becomes very confusing, circuitous, inconclusive and unproductive.

There is good scholarship and good writing about Singapore, if you know how to recognise it. This is a challenge further complicated by the amount of material available online, on platforms that readers give credibility to.

One final thing. The interview carries the byline of its editor, Petra Dierkes-Thrun, which is unusual for an interview. We are not told how the interview, called a “conversation”, was conducted—whether face-to-face, recorded and transcribed, or via email. Lack of clarity is understandable and inevitable in spontaneous speech. But if responses were written, then edited, why is there still lack of clarity (and I am not refering to typos like “..think in terms of the language and social of the dominant group..”)? What are we to make of “…it places the blame for failure on those who did not work hard enough…” So they did not work hard enough, or they were perceived as not working hard enough? Here we have the return of the myth of the lazy native.

Moreover, why does the interviewer not ask for clarification or call the interviewee out in the face of her naive and troubling conviction that Singapore is the only decolonised state that “has a completely alien population control political and economic power, while the formerly decolonized indigenous people remain continuously marginalized”? Apart from the fact that Malays do vote in Singapore, and the Singapore government has always shared political power in a multiracial coalition, the notion of “alien population” is troubling. Are Singaporean Chinese still considered an alien population in Singapore today? When did they start to become one? And when, pray tell, will they stop? Do Native Americans still consider other Americans an “alien population”? For the record, the Chinese have been present on Southeast Asian territory since the tenth century, not just as merchants but also settling down and marrying local people.

If Adeline Koh chooses not to react because she is following her own advice to “shut up when a minority is talking about race”, then the question is: who is damaged in the end by this approach?"

Comments on The double captivity of ‘Chinese privilege’ – Masturah Alatas - The Malaysian Insider:

Masturah Alatas: "Does Alfian really think that mental captivity is simply about ‘borrowing imported concepts from the West’ and not about how
we borrow and use them? Does he really, seriously, believe that anybody who uses a ‘Western concept’ is a captive mind? How could S.H. Alatas have written the captive mind essay, let alone his books, if he himself believed in such an absurdity? Why would I have discussed Emerson and Du Bois together to make a point about creatively borrowing ideas and literary modernisms (see the New
Mandala site where my article originally appears)? Aren’t Du Bois and Emerson both writers who were located in that geographical, spatial entity we call the West? So doesn’t this show that captive mind theory isn’t only simply about borrowing “from” the West, but also about borrowing and exchange within the West?

Secondly, the phrase ‘borrowing imported concepts from the West’ appears nowhere in my article. So here, once again, we have confirmation of double captivity, of theory in action, as 801008’s sharp comment about framing discourses in one’s own notions of ‘white superiority’ also confirms. Alfian sees the West everywhere and brings it into the discussion even when there is no need to or, more importantly, it could have been done in a different manner.

Thirdly, it doesn’t matter if Alfian or others find the term ‘Chinese privilege’ useful to talk about meritocracy and other important matters. Good for them. The point is theoretical and political.
It is about claims to the radical work that the term can do.

What does all of this tell me? What I have known all along, so I have not discovered that boiling water turns into steam. Once again, I can confirm that even the members of the so-called Singaporean literati are not reading S.H. Alatas closely and carefully, otherwise perhaps they may have found interesting, not embarrassing, ways to critique his work. And why should they? Why should they see utility in his work? But my question is, why would anyone want to publicly admit this?

Clive Kessler sees bebalism as “the commonsense self-congratulatory pragmatism of the mediocre in their moments and from their improbable positions of power.” He sees bebalism as a form of careless mindlessness, about doing without envisioning how your actions reflect back on you. It is about thinking big and building big and then “Eh, apa ni?...” It is about building a ten star hotel with luxury bathrooms and finding the toilet paper holder in the shower.

It is fine if Alfian Sa’at considers bebalism to be less productive as a concept than Chinese privilege. Is there a contest between the two? But what is embarrassing is that we have an attempt on Alfian Sa’at’s part to diminish Syed Hussein Alatas’ contribution to knowledge. By the way, Alatas said that bebalism is transcultural, transpatial, and transtemporal. So the concept is so trans it has to do with more than just ‘native’ production of knowledge as Alfian asserts. I wonder why Alfian takes a dig at Alatas, what value he sees in this. Is he just being mindless?

In closing, one final reflection. Liew Meng speaks about working honestly to earn a livelihood. S.H.Alatas would have liked that because it is a simple statement against a very big and pervasive
problem: corrupt practices to get ahead.

The same kind of honesty, in theory, should also apply to intellectual work."

801008: "In any society, the majority race will almost inevitably exercise some form of social and cultural hegemony. Not necessarily economic dominance (minorities can control economic activity) but in Singapore, that too.

It cannot be denied that Singaporean culture is much more sino-centric. Mandarin, Hokkien, these are the de facto lingua franca in Singapore. Whether or not this translates to notions of "Chinese privilege" or, Chinese superiority/entitlement is arguable. I think at the very least, there will be some (and perhaps more than some) who hold on to ideas of Chinese privilege in Singapore. Can they be faulted? Are these notions "unnatural" in the context of Singapore's racial and cultural demographic and also its history?

This author does bring up an interesting point though. Would Rachel Yeoh have felt the same self-conscious notions of physical inferiority if she was in an African country? Or even, say, an Indian country? Would she have felt "not as good" as the majority? I am not so sure.

I suppose the question is this: When we complain about Chinese privilege (or any other non-white privilege), do we frame those complaints in the context of our own notions of white superiority? In simple terms: Do we feel that the Chinese in Singapore consider themselves to be "superior" because we self-consciously (and perhaps sub-consciously) consider white people to be superior and therefore simply mirror or superimpose those notions onto a Singaporean context? How much of Sangeetha and Adeline's views on Chinese "privilege" are informed by their own notions of white people?"
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