Straits Times Forum, 10 July 2007
ON JULY 4, while travelling on bus service 16, my fellow passengers and I were the victims of racial abuse.
The incident was sparked by a person who boarded the bus but had no change for bus fare. At that moment, an elderly Caucasian woman came up and offered to pay the fare for that person.
She did this while raising her voice and commenting that Singaporeans will never help anyone but themselves and that all Singaporeans were money-minded.
She even went so far as to add a four-letter vulgarity before the word ‘Singaporean’ in every sentence she uttered.
At that moment, I could not remain silent any longer and I interrupted her, merely uttering the words, ‘excuse me’. It was then that her racial slurs began, referring to Chinese people as ‘chinks’ and how she hated all of them.
I then accused her of being a racist which she freely admitted to being, all the while adding again the four-letter vulgarity directed at all ‘chinks’.
She then remarked to the entire bus how Chinese people could not speak proper English, adding that she did not know how they could see owing to their small eyes.
To say the least, I was shocked and horrified by her bigotry. Being lost for words and disgusted at her deplorable behaviour, I just called her a disgrace.
After the dust had settled, I found myself utterly disappointed at how such a small and hateful person was allowed on our shores, if in fact she was in Singapore on a long-term basis.
However, I was even more disappointed in the extreme apathetic nature of my fellow Singaporeans. This racial abuse lasted a good five minutes on a bus packed full of Singaporeans who had just finished work, and no one except me had shown disapproval of this verbal abuse.
Everyone just sat there without saying a word. If we Singaporeans do not stand up for ourselves in the face of such blatant tyranny, who will? The ironic thing is that I am Eurasian and my girlfriend is German and I was the only one who said something when she went on her racial tirade.
This debacle has left me with the opinion that our Government’s drive towards attracting foreign talent needs to be approached with great caution.
More stringent checks on potential immigrants are required, which should not be solely based on paper credentials, but on their sentiments towards Singapore and their people. One bigot allowed to grace the country I love is one too many.
I think that old woman is a little off her rocker. I’m sure she does not represent all Caucasians in Singapore, whom I’ve noted are generally less bigoted than the majority of Singaporeans.
What I’m more concerned about is how Singaporeans are so averse to standing up against racism and injustice, that they just set Shaun Jalleh defend Singapore on his own. I think that is the real disgrace about Singaporeans. Perhaps it’s our education system, our political emasculation or simply our bo chap (indifferent) attitude to everything other them ourselves.