photo blog_head_zpsfscr4tie.jpg
More adventurous than the average bear

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians and Sangeetha's Self-Promotion

"This post is about Cr*zy Rich Asians. I've been seeing a lot of people being excited about it and I think it's because they don't know what Singapore is actually like. I understand that many in the Global North, especially Americans, have no real understanding of the complications and nuances of race in other parts of the world. So I’ll give you some context.

Singapore is a terribly racist country. The state embarked on a form of eugenics in the 1980s meant to displace its indigenous population and replace it with settler colonial Chinese people. Minorities find it hard to gain employment. Muslim women in hijabs are kept out of certain civil service jobs because of their headwear. (This is government policy that the state has openly defended). Malay-Muslims are told they cannot be trusted in the military because they are Muslims with loyalty to other states. This is really ironic when you think about the fact that Malays are indigenous to the land. Indian construction workers are killed on site due to lax labour safety laws, and instead of being sent home to their families, are buried underneath those skyscrapers y’all love so much about Singapore. Minorities are stereotypically represented or never represented. Chinese people wear Indians in ‘brown face’ and Hinduism is considered something to mimic for Halloween. Minorities are called slurs on a daily basis, and Chinese people proudly say they are racist and don’t care to be otherwise. Scholarships are reserved for the Chinese, heck, entire schools are reserved for them, and these are paid for with taxpayers money. Imagine a purely white school only for white kids that the state pays for with your money, and then tells you that these schools are necessary for the future of America. Cos the Chinese supremacist state of Singapore constantly tells us that the Chinese are what makes Singapore successful, that Malays are lazy, that Indians are violent and that only Chinese people can save Singapore.

In case you think I’m making this up, I’ll tell you a few things about myself. I am a) Singapore’s most well-known anti-racism activist. B) I have written extensively on racism in Singapore, and I coined the term and theory around what is now called “Chinese Privilege.” C) I am doing a PhD on Chinese privilege, Chinese supremacy and racism in Singapore. D) I had to run away to Australia because I was being threatened by the Singapore state with sedition for speaking out about race. (Think about the fact that Australia is safer for me than Singapore.)

So when you celebrate this movie, ask yourself who you are complicit in erasing. It is the minorities who have been told every day that we are worthless, ugly, lazy, unworthy of being represented. That we deserve to be treated as second-class citizens in our own country. You are celebrating a novel that barely made a splash in Singapore because Chinese people writing about being Chinese and rich is so fuckin' commonplace here.

What people celebrating this movie are doing is bringing a Western racial framework to bear upon a Singaporean one. Chinese people in Singapore aren’t oppressed in any way, in fact, they are the oppressors. Asians in the Global North are so happy to see themselves that they don’t care about the context in which this is happening. CRA is set in Singapore and only has Chinese people in it. This isn’t new or refreshing, this is the EVERYDAY FUCKIN LIVES OF MINORITIES. It is only diversity FOR YOU. Why should Western Chinese representation come at the expense of minorities in Singapore? Why is it that so many POCs in America, Europe and Australia lack such compassion for the suffering of minorities in the Global South?

If a movie was set in NY and it only featured white people, you’d call it racist. This is set in Singapore, a country where already Chinese people are the only ones who are visible and represented, and where Chinese people hold all economic, social and political power, a state of affairs this movie perpetuates. Yet, this is perfectly all right for many of you.

I have been triggered in so many ways these past few days seeing how little Asians in the West care to research or read the things they unthinkingly support. This is my life that y’all think should come second to your ability to be represented.

Seeing post after post on what an achievement this movie is really difficult for us because you’re doing what Singaporean Chinese have done to us our whole lives-erase us, talk over us and dismiss us.

For god’s sake, for once in your lives, think about the consequences of the things you support.

You're not the only people who deserve to be represented, and when you support this movie, that's actually what you are saying."

There's a lot to unpack here, and I'm still trying to recover from Google's new Gmail truncating 2 of my drafts and losing me a lot of data, so I will limit myself to eight brief observations:

i) Given that as cited by the Association of Muslim Professionals the Malay population has been steadily increasing (without any visible slowdown in or since the 1980s), Singapore's "eugenics" to "displace its indigenous population" is one of the front-runners, together with Israel (who, unsurprisingly she also rages about) for the prize of most incompetent ethnic cleansing in history

ii) Singapore doesn't seem to release unemployment statistics by race, but if we use the 2010 Census's Table 42: Resident Population Aged 15 Years and Over by Language Literate In, Economic Status and Sex to proxy race using language ability, the claim that minorities find it hard to gain unemployment isn't supported at all.

If we take those who speak Chinese only or English and Chinese only as proxies for being racially Chinese (likewise for Malay - I will exclude Tamil as half of Singaporean Indians don't speak it, and we know Indians are more successful economically than Malays), 63% of Chinese Residents work, compared to 60% of Malay Residents.

Even if one attributes all of this 3% difference to discrimination, it is clear that "Minorities find it hard to gain employment" is a blatant lie.

Indeed, if we restrict our analysis to males, the gap reverses, with 70.2% of Chinese resident males being employed, versus 71.1% of Malay resident males (for completeness, if one restricts the analysis to women the respective numbers are 55% and 48% respectively).

So if anything, it looks like Chinese men are actually finding it harder to find jobs than Malay men.

iii) I want to know where these mass graves of Indian construction workers are. Am I the only one who hasn't heard of them? They must be potent sites to perform black magic.

iv) What are these Chinese only scholarships and how do I apply?

I was unable to find Chinese-only scholarships - although there is a CDAC page called "Scholarship & Bursary", there is only one scheme listed there - CDAC-SFCCA Bursary which, as its name suggests, is not a scholarship.

On the other hand, when I visit Mendaki I see many scholarships reserved for Muslim students:

The Ridzwan Dzafir Community Awards
Anugerah Belia Cemerlang MENDAKI (MENDAKI Youth Promise Awards)
MENDAKI Fellowship Award
Special Achievement Award for Excellence (Non-Academic)
Singapore Airlines - MENDAKI Undergraduate Scholarship
MENDAKI-Merchant Scholarship
MENDAKI-Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (MENDAKI-ISCA) Scholarship (Accounting) - Nominations by Universities
MENDAKI - Institution of Engineers Singapore (MENDAKI-IES) Scholarship (Engineering) - Nominations by Polytechnics & Universities
MENDAKI - Dr Abdul Aziz Ali Scholarship
MENDAKI-Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce Foundation (MENDAKI-SCCCF) Scholarship
MENDAKI Scholarships (University)
MENDAKI Scholarships (Polytechnic)
Special Malay Bursary (University)
Special Malay Bursary (Polytechnic)
PSB - MENDAKI Scholarship
Yayasan MENDAKI – Dr Jai Prashanth Rao Scholarship

Even though a few are supposedly to help poorer Muslim students, being rich doesn't disqualify you from getting them - you only get a lower priority. Yes, even the ones called "Bursary" do not disqualify rich Muslims.

In contrast, for the CDAC-SFCCA Bursary, you are explicitly disqualified with "Gross Monthly Household Income (MHI) not exceeding $1,900 or Monthly Per Capita income (PCI) not exceeding $650".

I note too that while CDAC only gives you $280-$450 a month, the Muslim-only scholarships award up to $100,000 a year (and SIA gives a full scholarship with allowances on top of that which, if you study at certain overseas universities, can be worth even more)

v) It took her only three paragraphs to start blowing her own trumpet.

vi) Apparently her apology to Shanmugam was insincere. Her exact words being:

"I would like to offer an unreserved apology to Minister K Shanmugam Sc for what I had done. I had posted an article in haste. What I had posted about what he had said was untrue, and my comments were unjustified. On reflection, I am sorry for what I have done.

I have since met the Minister and offered my apology to him, which he has accepted."

Maybe she can spin this as being Chinese people persecuting her, and Shanmugam can sue her for defamation for saying he's Chinese.

vii) It is so ironic she says Crazy Rich Asians is "bringing a Western racial framework to bear upon a Singaporean one", given that she took the idea of White Privilege, changed White to Chinese, and brought it to bear on Singapore.

viii) The movie isn't even out yet, so she (like everyone else getting into the action) is bashing the movie based on its trailer.

So in conclusion Sangeetha is lying (as usual), and there is even more support for Muslims in Singapore than I realised (and Chinese men actually find it harder to get a job than Malays).

Hearteningly, the comments have some people calling out her hate-filled screed:

"I thought you might enjoy a good laugh here. She cannot tell the difference between immigrating and being involuntarily displaced."

"Malay people are indigenous to Singapore?
They are the orang asli??"

"Everytime I share my piece on indigeneity in SE Asia, racist Malay people consolidate that to assert their 'ownership' of Malaysia"

"You claim to be an anti racism activist but you are so racist yourself..."

“How about spent some time discussing about those way larger and more populated countries like Malaysia and Indonesia and their strong discrimination against non-Muslim people. It is within their law”
"If we are going to look at Chinese privilege as a whole, why not expand to the rest of SE Asia?"
"This is her platform you don't get to tell her what she should focus on" [Ed: Ironically, liberals always demand what others should focus on, e.g. the film industry needs to improve "representation"]

"I think this political school of thought that argues about chinese privilege in Singapore has only started to recently emerge in the past few years. More specifically it started gaining traction when I left... from my own experience growing up through highschool there, chinese, malays, and indians got along together just fine... Overall, I don’t think Singapore is an explicitly racist society, everyone gets along and respects each other in harmony... I re-read the post about job discrimination towards malay-muslims. I’m not too sure if that is true because the current Singapore president is a Malay woman wearing a hijab. Singapore is pretty fair for job opportunites. Its a meritocracy."
(anti-racists will try and dismiss this, but it was posted by Matthew Rodriguez)

"In any case, it’s a fiction? Surely, it perpetuates certain stereotypes but hey i dont watch harry potter and believe there are some magical beings flying the skies of UK."

"She was shitting all over the place. Someone had clearly wronged her in the past, and like any given fool she decided to stereotype, which is the easiest coping mechanism"

""I am S'pore's most famous anti racism activist." Self proclaimed of course. Truth is this is your only way to get the attention you desperately crave Sangeetha Thanapal."

" You had me until you blamed American people of color for this travesty. Way to generalize us as not only ignorant of your issues (I've visited Singapore twice and am not) but apathetic and complacent. We, the people being gunned down in the streets by law enforcement, being denied homeownership or employment, having our history erased by gentrification, being snatched up by ICE, and hearing from the White House how this is not really our home, all while being unable to escape it all by moving to another continent, are the LAST people you should be coming after. Try edification sans blame next time, hmm?"

"I bet you didn't know that a certain racial group enjoys free education.
And that group isn't the majority."

"Isn’t having the money to study and live overseas a privilege"

"honey the movie is called crazy rich asians, not crazy rich south asians or crazy rich indians. perhaps you can travel back in time and ask the author to change his book. and while you're at it, why don't you go to your motherland of india and fix the caste system at the same time. indians are the most racist against their own judging by the amount of discrimination against the lower caste untouchables. and do fix the discrimination against women at the same time too so it wouldn't be nicknamed 'rapeland' all the time."

"Isn't the president of Singapore a Malay Muslim woman who wears a hijab? And the deputy prime minister a person of Indian origin?"

"Um... if you are hating on chinese people, arent you racist yourself???"

"I'm also looking for school that is entirely reserved for Chinese"

"She claims to be anti racist but yet is racist to us ethnic Chinese? Blaming my entire race for a few handful bunch of racism she experienced? I experienced racism from minorities too but do u blame their entire race? No..because an idiot will be an idiot no matter the colour of your skin."

"I'm Indian, born and bred in Singapore. And I don't speak Mandarin well, other than knowing the basics.
If you wanna champion rights of the minorities, this isn't the way to go about it. Too many exaggerations will put off balanced readers such as myself. If you can work on being less biased and not constantly attacking the Chinese (which, ironically makes you exactly what you claim to be fighting against - racist), some people might actually pay attention to you. For now, I find your rants just coloured with biased hatred. Cheers!"

"Workers killed on site, and you blame it on Chinese... Wow Ms PHD candidate!"

"So I know what racism is like and I received it from not just the whites but also the African Americans and Latino Americans. Been pelted with milkshakes, vegetables and almost run down by a car cos they thought they were running me out of the USA. But if I let it fester, it would only make me angry and belligerent. I do not want to waste my time hating, I spend my time reaching out with sincerity. Anger only perpetuates and exacerbates the situation. Why do we always see another race and think racism? Why don’t we give them the benefit of doubt and just leave it as they do not understand my race and culture and feel uncomfortable around me in case they unknowingly offend me. I always try to make them feel comfortable. If they don’t feel judged or any aggression, they will return the courtesy. Sometimes the harder we fight back the worse it becomes. This is where Sun Tzi’s Art of War comes into play. The rule of thumb I follow is to know my place if I am in a foreign country. I know of people who go to another country and act arrogantly and obnoxiously and that creates racism. I can’t expect everyone to love me or hate me. If I feel a negative vibe, I move on."

Depressingly, some foreigners are taking her rant at face value instead of finding out the truth. And there're people adding on to the hysteria:

"huffpost n guardian are liberal mouthpieces. they support "progressiveness" within an assimilationist, capitalist, white supremacy framework. they are in effect, politically centrist.
Sangeetha's views come across to me as far more radical, intersectional leftist, and for media outlets such as guardian and huffpost, these views, are too "extreme""
(this is the person who blocked me when, after she claimed that FTF [female to female] individuals did not exist, I pointed out that Cornell University disagreed with her since "Some transwomen reject being seen as “MTF,” arguing that they have always been female and are only making this identity visible to other people (instead, they may call themselves “FTF”)")

Incidentally, it takes a good deal of hubris to quote yourself in your Cover Picture (with byline):

"Whether you're poor or rich, being Chinese gives you a leg up in Singapore ... They are beneficiaries of a system of racial superiority."
blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes