I have lost a country to images, it is as simple as that.

Excuse me, are you Singaporean?

I did like the bit about the guy who seemed genuinely torn between having to decide between his American nationality and his Singaporean one, and the Ghanian/Chinese Singaporean kid seemed pretty funny.

But really, seriously, I hated a lot of what this article chose to be.

First, there was the vapid, messy equation “ethnicity = nationality”. ER, HELLO…..

The amount of facepalm cannot be measured…

Then, there was the cherry picked nationalities. Why was it necessary to have 3 Chinese + white families? The interviews with the families that weren’t Chinese + white were also lot more negative. Although, to be honest, I can see that being genuinely the case. Most Singaporeans still have the idea that white = better looking, and trust me when I say that racism is alive and well in Singapore. I had a classmate who was Singaporean/Australian ChIndian and who had a Chinese boyfriend. Because she looked Indian, she got a lot of racial abuse in Singapore (mainly in Mandarin, because they didn’t think she spoke Mandarin. But she does.) basically around the theme of “Damn dirty Indian girl stealing a nice Chinese boy”. And you know, this isn’t that uncommon. Chinese people who mainly have Chinese friends (whole other topic) think it’s uncommon, sure, but minorities in Singapore? It’s a regular thing. Which might also be why Chinese Singaporeans (like white Americans… Also a whole other topic) are a lot more shocked by racism overseas. It’s totally outside their world view. Whereas for minorities, we’re pretty used to it. I’ve even heard some people (minority Singaporean in Australia) prefer the racism THERE instead of HERE. Because at least there, they understand that they are different, they don’t fit in, they are foreign, but here… there is the emptiness of acceptance without the possibility of understanding or reprieve.

Back to the topic.

Also, there were no Singaporean Indians or Eurasians represented. Seriously, lazy-ass reporter, what the heck… I mean, come ON, Eurasians are the original mixed families in Singapore, okay.

And you know what? How about this, instead. How about actually asking mixed Singaporean families about what THEY think about ethnicity in Singapore? Chinese/Indian, Indian/ Malay, Malay/Chinese? Was this considered too controversial? Because, oh you know, we do want perfect babies here…

SG, I am done with all this “regardless of race/language/religion” crap. I still love you, okay, in a totally toxic, desperate way, but even the fact, this fact that I feel I have to reassure you is totally not cool. You need to get your act together and stop lying to yourself. Fix it, okay, or if you can’t fix it, at least talk about it. That’s all I’m asking.

“Singapore I am on trial.
These are the whites of my eyes and the reds of my wrists.
These are the deranged stars of my schizophrenia.
This is the milk latex gummy moon of my sedated smile.
I have lost a country to images, it is as simple as that.
Singapore you have a name on a map but no maps to your
This will not do; we must stand aside and let the Lion
crash through a madness of cymbals back to that dark
jungle heart
when eyes were still embers waiting for a crownless
Prince of Palembang.”

– Excerpt from “Singapore You Are Not My Country”, Alfian Sa’at, One Fierce Hour, 1998

One thought on “I have lost a country to images, it is as simple as that.

  1. Critical, yet true. While prejudice lingers on, there are people who have put down the bias frame, Especially the younger ones, or so I hope.

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