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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Not Everyone was Pleased by Joseph Schooling's Olympic Gold

In view of the elation over Singapore's First Olympic Gold, here is a sobering counterpoint from the mouth of the inimitable Sangeetha Thanapal:

"I really don't give a fuck about the Chinese people or Eurasian people or whatever people with state, societal and monetary support in the Olympics.

She's the ONLY thing from Singapore who is worth anything to me the Olympics (sic) this year

‘Unbelievable’: Singapore rower Saiyidah Aisyah on historic Olympic qualification - Channel NewsAsia"

Some possible takeaways (some of which we already knew or suspected):

- She hates Chinese
- She hates Eurasian people (perhaps Schooling's type of Eurasian in particular, since he is of predominantly white and Chinese descent, so he "benefits" from both "Chinese privilege" and "White privilege", which makes him doubly evil)
- She hates people with state support (given that Schooling's parents sold their house to fund his training, I'm not sure how little state support an athlete would have to get to receive her imprimatur)
- She hates people with social support (i.e. who are popular)
- She hates people with monetary support (i.e. rich people)

Given that Saiyidah Aisyah Rafa'ee won the Sports Excellence Scholarship (spexScholarship)*, that her mother didn't sell her house and that Sangeetha proclaims that all non-Malays in Singapore are immigrants**, one suspects that Sangeetha's support of her might be due more to the former's being "first Malay Olympian since shuttler Zarinah Abdullah competed at the 1996 Atlanta Games" than to her supposedly lacking state support, or any of the other factors she gives.

* - As a non-Chinese Singaporean sports commentator comments, "Saiyidah also has state and monetary support. SSC covers her expenses, make-up pay, facilities, diet guidance and medical help. She gets everything"

Of course, she has since removed the post from public view, which we could (perhaps) take as a tacit mea culpa. But then, the lack of a retraction (to say nothing of an apology) suggests that there is neither remorse nor sorrow on her part.

Though, more than her, I am worried that (at least) 116 people liked the post.

** - Sangeetha on Malay indigeneity:

On this Singapore National Day: I think about all the Indian people who have been called slurs and who have had Chinese people move away from them on public transport. I think about all the dark skinned women made to feel ugly and worthless. I think about all the minorities who knew better than to aspire, for they knew they will never have access to half the opportunities Chinese people have.

I think about all the Malay children who weren't born because of this country's eugenecist policies. I think of all the Malay boys in NS who are discriminated everywhere they turn but still do their duty to their land. I think about how this is Malay land, but Malay people are treated as outsiders and told to go back to Malaysia if they talk about racism.

On this National Day, I affirm that this always was and always will be indigenous land- belonging to Malay people and other indigenous peoples of the Nusantara. I affirm that we are here on their sufferance, and the rest of us better start remembering this.

I am also grateful to be far away from the overly fawning and facetious expressions of nationalism from people who lack empathy on a normal day. I am happy to not be on the receiving end of false advertising telling me to be grateful to live in this multi-racial country.

And if this makes me unpatriotic, if this makes me anti-national, then I welcome this label, for it puts me in the same company as one of the greatest men this country ever knew.


"Anti-National", they said
Lo, here is the proof.
Is this truly so?
To destroy the colonialists
To oppose to the end the imperialists
To eliminate oppression
To liquidate injustice
... this be "Anti-National"
Yes, I am Anti National!
To entomb the system of
All injustice all servitude
And bury feudalism
... this be "Anti-National"
Yes, once again my declaration is
"yes" and it's true
I am Anti-National!


[Ed: This is "Poem from Prison" by Said Zahari, 1963]
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