2/19/2012

Pleasing the small racist mind

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.

28 comments:

Matilah_Singapura said...

Aiyah, I think everyone should lighten up about this "race" thing.

For starters, there is no significant genetic difference between what humans see as various races. As a species we are all the same. "Race", as most see it, is a matter of "cultural differences". Cultures also tend to mix up with each other.

E.G. Singapore native English speakers have cultural differences to say, Jamaican native English speakers. Singapore Chinese have cultural differences to mainland Chinese from China. Indians in Hong Kong are culturally different from Indians living in South Africa.

This is because cultural elements (memes?)mix up with aspects local culture, and what results is an expression of INTEGRATION.

OK, Freedom Principle #???

No one has the right to have their feelings protected, as to do so would interfere with free speech and expression. "Politically correct speech" is nothing more than an attempt by the Thought Police to control how you use your brain and the mouth you have to express your brain's "creations".

Next freedom/ rational principle:

The charge of RACISM (as something immoral or "evil") lies squarely on INTENT.

Are you making a joke to make everyone laugh? Then you are probably not a racist, and those who are "offended" should be bitch-slapped immediately ;-)

Are you being mean, showing power, or allowing base animal instincts to rule, turning you into a bigoted asshole? Then you probably are a racist, and people should "unfriend" you on all the social and real world networks.

So relax and have a laugh about your race and others, and how races interact. This kind of good-natured humour actually brings people of different cultures TOGETHER as humour has a nice way of busting down taboos, social barriers and anything else which irrational in our species.

Laugh. It sure beats the alternative.

Matilah_Singapura said...

References (aka Hard-Core Science):

1. Biological differences among races do not exist, WU research shows

2. RACE - The Power of an Illusion

No such thing as "race". So go ahead and make all the jokes you like. If challenged, cite the hard-core science. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Society must be on guard against small groups and minorities trying to impose their small minds on the innocents. Often they claimed to be victims and launched frivolous attacks at others on the ground of their rights being violated.

It is normal for the one who made the first complaint to appear right and the victims ended having to defend themselves when the aggressor or provocator is the complainant.

Bullies have taken their victims to courts and accused them of being the bullies. And the poor victims ended helplessly trying to defend a frivolous charge.

Attack first and make the victim looked like the bad guy. An age old strategy.

Anonymous said...

Some quoted Darwin to say the fittest survives. To some extent, it is scientific, though nature had it this way before Darwin existed.

If Siamese fighting fish is a race in the world of fish. The Human Race behaves no differently from the Siamese fighting fish. The only consolation is that most humans have got some rationality compared to the lower intelligent species.

patriot

Matilah_Singapura said...

@patriot. Ah, I'm glad you brought up Darwin.

The point I make is how the majority of (non-skeptical, unscientific) people misunderstand, or just don't understand established scientific fact and use those facts completely out of context, to come up with the most ridiculous ideas.

One of the more famous valid scientific facts is "survival of the fittest" which is almost always misquoted, misinterpreted and just flat out WRONG.

Wikipedia

ed said...

One can afford to be magnanimous and 'understanding' about such things especially if one has profitted from the institutional, social, and economic racism that is part of 'singaporean' culture. When one is in the lead, one wouldn't mind laughing at oneself as much as if one has been deprived of fair play. Even after having the mick taken out of one's race, one still knows that they rule, or don't have to suffer the discrimination that others have to.

In that, whilst we all sit and laugh at each other and ourselves, it is the relatively disadvantaged whom are thus further depressed. Even if everything is equal on the stage, it is its absence in socio-political arena that makes it unequal on stage. Go think....further.

ed said...

The 'tension', or at least, the consequences, have been brewing and spilling over ever since the country turned confucian and pro-chinese without the old 'hordes' and bloggers saying little about it. Now you're just facing the consequences of being self-absorbed. If you can't take 'foreign' cultures and peoples, that is because you have become adept in ignoring the difference around you for quite a bit of time.

As for the 'small racist minds' amongst us, it takes a small mind to not appreciate that we ought to go by evidence as opposed to assuming everyone who shouts 'racism!' is a racist. That is a self-serving and basically illogical approach.

Anonymous said...

Race is more than skin deep. You have to mention "pig" and you see some faces going from yellow to pink to purple.

That would include the supposely hilarious comedian. For him every one else is negotiation, except his own kind.

I take most comedians who even borders on race as mentality nearly dry.

Anonymous said...

Lack of full cream mother's breast milk can lead to racial slur.

Anonymous said...

hey aren't you all "dogs"...

Anonymous said...

revenge is not Godly, just follow the golden rule "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them"

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi ed, welcome to the blog. You are right to say that those who are benefitting from a system will tend to be blind to the system and the sufferrings of those affected by the system. And those who are adversely affected by the system can react in many ways.

During the days of colonialism till pre independence, the ruling class were the colonialists and their English speaking imports from the East India Company. They were the elite and enjoy all the perks of high society and appointments. The rest of the residents were left to mug around and find their own way out.

But there were no racist demonstration against the privilege class. The marginalised went on to find the best way they could to make a living. They don't go around pointing their fingers at anyone for being racist or discriminatory.

Today, or the latest outcry is about a company theme event. There are many events held on the theme of gangsterism in Shanghai or even the colonial themes and no one is crying out loud.

Why is this Bollywood theme so sensitive and deserving so much attention in the media? Everyone involved in the event, from the company to the event organiser are respectable and decent people and surely have no intent to embarrass anyone.

To adopt the Bollywood theme is actually an adoration of Bollywoods's success. It also proves that many of them are tuned to the Bollywood movies and are fans of Bollywood.

Now, what is so offensive about it compares to glamorising gangsterism in Shanghai?

Anonymous said...

The dark Indians should be proud of their dark skins. They are born that way and nothing to be ashamed of.

Who is saying that dark is bad?

Anonymous said...

Getting uncomfortable just because some blend into darkness easily?
What about those accusing others of similar Race sinning for no rythme or reason?
And of course there are many who just think that they are of superior breed though they are of the same species?

Science does show that some are born weaker physically, intellectually, spiritually and more importantly status wise.

So, be ever ready to accept discrimination of all sorts in the real world.

patriot

ed said...

"But there were no racist demonstration against the privilege class. The marginalised went on to find the best way they could to make a living. They don't go around pointing their fingers at anyone for being racist or discriminatory."

Chua makes it seem like a bad thing in 'go around pointing their fingers at anyone for being racist or discriminatory'. Perhaps he thinks that the blacks in the u.s. ought to have just shut up and stuck to cotton-picking and carpentry instead of demanding equality. Anyway, that approach is most typically confucian. The chinese are under the illusion that they make it globally because they 'work hard' and are 'practical'. But the fact is, they only make it because others do not behave toward the chinese as do the chinese toward others. If it wasn't for the relative openness of the west, the chinese themselves would have just stuck to maintaining the railroads. The chinese didn't take part in any significant emancipation movement in the west, but they certainly profited from the hard work of the black there.

ed said...

"To adopt the Bollywood theme is actually an adoration of Bollywoods's success. It also proves that many of them are tuned to the Bollywood movies and are fans of Bollywood."

Sorry mate. But that is pure BS. How many chinese do you see tuning in to tamil films? Most times you see them in coffeeshops throughout singapore slurping away at their dumplings and noodles whilst staring expressionless at chinese programmes in their local coffeeshops.

The tamil language, culture, names, and community as a whole is either made fun of or marginalised. Within such a state of affairs, the bollywood theme would be more inline with 'bear-baiting' or having fun at the expense of that which the chinese can't understand and appreciate to any great degree because it isn't chinese. If one was to think about it, the chinese have always - or at least post-221b.c. - engaged in name-calling when it comes to other races as opposed to other races. They have terms like 'black ghost', 'foreign devil', etc, etc, and the two major national wars in china were against foreigners (the Mongols and Manchus...not for being more oppressive than their own rulers, but because they were foreigners). The chinese have a juvenile and reprehensible aversion to difference and either make fun of it or ignore it, which also accounts for their lack of creativity and being unable to think out of the box as opposed to just copying or following - that's been my continuous experience for a few decades (media, government policy, oppositional self-absorption, friends, family)....but you'll have to be a 'blackface' to appreciate that.

The cultural and political state of affairs in singapore proves it beyond doubt. In such a context, are we supposed to believe that a 'fun event' like the 'blackface UOB' event was simply 'fun' and not racist? Personally, i don't find a problem with it. However, it is within the aforementioned status quo that it does become a problem. I've been called 'or lang', 'mama', 'gandhi', 'kunta kintei' by enough chinese to know what such an event means, and what sort of mind(lessness) with which the chinese 'appreciate' such an event. How would you feel if the chinese were presented as rabbit-toothed, bad-english speaking, in 'queue' or 'cue' hairdo in a state where the chinese are 'less preferred' than others in a fun 'Yellowface UOB event'?

ed said...

And yes calling indians 'mamas' is racist, and deserving of a smack, metaphorically speaking, if done to one's face. Let me put it this way, if you call an indian road sweeper and a highly qualified indian artist/musician/intellectual a 'mama', it basically implies that it doesn't matter what you are or what you do, how smart your are, or how creative you are, you are still a 'mama'. And the fact that the term originates from the term used to address Indian cornershop proprietors, and that this is still common knowledge, and to still use it one Indians whom are not cornershop proprietors, shows the tendency to pigeon-hole an entire race in a relatively diminutive capacity compared to the other professions held by the Indians. And given the grossly-racially biased status quo in singapore, that can easily be verified by any sociologist worthy of her/his mettle, the racist connotations, despite its literal meaning, of the term 'mama' becomes all too obvious except to the self-serving or superficial mind.

That is why the term 'nigger' is also frowned upon. And that is why i also know the local chinese-produced 'comedy', 'serves you right' to be grossly racist as it takes the same approach toward those whom are not yellowfaced in appearance and outlook. If anyone was to call me 'mama' to my face, they be well-advised to have a crash helmet on first, metaphorically speaking.

Veritas said...

Hi Ed

Are you nuts? Everything under the sun is racist against Indians.

////
I've been called 'or lang', 'mama', 'gandhi', 'kunta kintei'
////

These are fabrication. Local certainly do not call Indians by these terms.

You need a checkup in IMH.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Veritas, thank you for saying it so plain and simple.

Hi ed, from the drift of your comments,everyone can see where you are coming from.

The Chinese in early America were victims of the European American racism and exploited on racial grounds. All kinds of outrageous racists laws were passed to confine them to a few trades like railway workers, cooks and laundrymen. And you think they are really stupid.

The emancipation and opening up of China is a testament that they are not a dull people. They cannot be the world's second superpower if they are only good enough to be railway workers and without creativity. The 21st century will see a rennaisance in China to your disappointment. No need to feel inferior and no need to feel aggrieved or wronged if they do better than you.

The daft Sinkies in Singapore is an aberration. They are truly like you said, lack of creativity and only have one solution to all problems. Fortunately the Chinese civilisation has more than 1b people to fall back on.

As for the UOB event, it was a Bollywood Night and not a black face night as the racists would want it to be called.

The govt and the media must be careful and responsible to guard against the real racists that go around calling other people racists. These are the real trouble makers in the guise of angels. A responsible media will have to think carefully before blindly report on such attacks.

'The tamil language, culture, names, and community as a whole is either made fun of or marginalised.'

Really? Would SR, Tharman or Shanmugan go quietly if this allegation is true? You think they are dumb and unthinking?

Come one, please remove your blinkers. 'orlang', 'mama', 'gandhi', 'kunta kintei' are derogatory terms? kunta kintei is never a vocab of the locals. Where did you come from? Is Gandhi a bad word? Is mama a bad word? Please, have some respect for Gandhi.

Or lang is just the commonfolks term for someone with dark skin or ang moh for red hair. They are not in the same category as niggers. You want to be offended by the commonfolks, just too bad. But you can feel hurt if you want to with anything you perceived to be hurting you.

Anonymous said...

ed, this whole world is against you. Life must be very hard on you huh. Take it easy.

Anonymous said...

This bum will be proud if he is called Hitler or George Bush. He is ashamed of being called Gandhi.

Anonymous said...

Redbean, you have a racist here calling everyone racist.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Dark clouds over India's Kingfisher

This is the heading of an article in the ST about the Indian airline's woes.

Ed, is such a title racist?

Anonymous said...

Oh, be merciful, be merciful!
From being racist, someone will say why so much personal attack?
He/she may just have inferiority complex. That is about it.

Anonymous said...

Are the folks here aware that some NUS Crusaders are avenging persecution of X-tians that happened thousand years back, somewhere in a place call Egypt?

So, what that called? Religious Clowns?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Race and religious issues are often highly charged and the person affected would not be able to think clearly. Their thinking will be so warped that they nonsense into something they believe made sense. The non involved in the sideline could see how disturbed they are but can do nothing about it.

They will keep feedin themselves with crazy ideas and get emotionally charged.

Ed could have some bad racist encounters and could not get over it.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Some of the best jokes are based on race and religion.

Both race and religion are illusions...phantoms of the mind. Race and religion should be ridiculed wherever and whenever possible.

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