We had our D&D last night and we all had great fun. The MC was great with his mimicry and acting to bring live and laughters to an otherwise staid occasion. He used the four major racial groups as the background of his games, the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians and the Others, which is synonymous with Eurasians or the English Language. One of his main acts was to play 4 different pop songs and let the participants lip sync their roles. He was great in his introduction of how to play the game and the staff was equally great to play on as guided. And he kept apologising just in case someone thought it was insensitive.
Seriously I thought it was a great evening. I believe everyone would say that too. Now I am having second thought. Would someone be hurt or felt insulted because of his/her race being on stage to be part of a hilarious game?
The Sunday Times is reproducing several letters on the horrors of UOB’s D&D that was reported last Sunday. It was perceived as a PR disaster, with critiques attacking UOB for being insensitive to the Indians in their party theme, Bollywood Night. The employees were encouraged to dress up in Bollywood fineries and with faces painted black. The whole intent and purpose was to have good fun. Many such theme parties have been organised without big problems.
Why is the UOB theme seen as being offensive and be pronounced as racism? It is all in the minds of the little racists. In many cases, the real racists are the attackers who rapped others as racists for the slightest remarks. Such people see everything in the racist line and are out watching for such violations and infringements.
I was at a scene when a guy was deeply offended when another senior guy called him uncle. The reasoning, he felt that he was younger and thus slighted. But that was not all. To be more senior than the other guy in age connotes the possibly that biology will take its natural causes earlier than a younger guy.
How would another party understand what is going on in the other person’s mind? I called many of my Indian friends ‘mama’ which is uncle if I am not mistaken. The small racist mind will think it is offensive. Now I have a different reason not to use it. No one is going to look at the intent and the context in which a word is being used, or the theme of a D&D. Would the event planner dare to plan such a theme if racism is the intent? Would a big organisation touch it with a 10 metre pole? Would the employees want to provoke the racists to attack them?
Racism and respect of other race and religion are constantly on the headlines to remind people to be aware and sensitive to other people’s sensitivities. No decent or proper organisation would skirt near such tabooed stuff. Attacking them for being insensitive and racist is uncalled for and harbours a hidden agenda.
The society must be more careful of the real racists living in our midst and going around attacking other people as racists. And we are going to face more of such rubbish as we open our door to more foreigners. Europe is starting to face the problems of immigrants wanting their way of life, to live separately, to impose their lifestyle and demanding their own private space.
While we happily and naively go about bringing in the hordes from around the world, and thinking nothing but economic growth numbers, we are intentionally bringing along all the problems associated with the different people, culture, race and religion that they bring. The silliness in this policy must be raised before it hits us real hard in the future. I think it is already too late and the tension is brewing.
There is no place for racism here. And people hiding under the guise of attacking anyone or things which they perceived as racists must be taken to task before they grow in numbers and exploded into our face. There must be no appeasement to the racist living in our midst, the kind of people that see everything in terms of racism and trying to light the fire of hatred and intolerance and trouble. The media has an important role to tell them off instead of encouraging them to go on to paint others in all kinds of unpleasant colours.