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‘Nothing special about being 3 – 4 generation Singaporean’ – Woman stands up for foreign worker from PRC

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Facebook user Sheryl Chen shared an incident which happened last night (31 Aug) where a foreigner from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was scolded by a local Chinese man on the bus, for talking loudly on the phone. No one stood up for the foreign worker said Sheryl.

The incident happened on bus number 41, which passes through Toh Guan Road where there are several dormitories for foreign workers. The local Chinese man berated the foreign worker as soon as the bus started rolling from the interchange at Jurong East, just because he did not like the way the other man spoke. The local man who she described as being elderly told the worker that he should know his place in Singapore and that the foreign worker should respect him because he was older.

Sheryl said that no one came forward to support the worker, so she did. She asked the man to sit beside her on the bus and advised him not to react to the local Chinese man who continued to scold him vulgarly in Hokkien. When she asked the elderly man to calm down and reminded him that ‘respect had to be earned’, the man dismissed her telling her ‘not to act smart’.

The unpleasant incident almost ended in fisticuffs when the older man told the younger one that he should know his place in society and challenged him to a fight. The younger man had to be restrained and coaxed to calm down by Sheryl and another foreign worker who was on the bus.

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This was when Sheryl reminded the older man that his ancestors where from China as well. The man got worked up by Sheryl’s remarks and allegedly got physically aggressive with her. The foreign worker had to shield her from the aggressive man she claimed.

Sheryl said that no else came to help her and that she had to ask the old man to just get off the bus and not escalate the matter any further.

Once the old man got off the bus the worker got into a debate with the other foreigner who had helped to calm him down about engaging people who were overly provocative. The foreign worker told the other person that he got riled up because the old man was abusing a woman who was trying to protect him.

Sheryl remarked that Singaporeans are really so ugly for treating foreign workers in the manner that they do.

Just in case you can’t read Sheryl’s post, this is what she said:


Never felt more ashamed to be a Singaporean.

I was on the way home from meeting my French friends that I met while on exchange in Korea (backstory will be explained later on). People who take 41 from Jurong East will know that the bus passes by lots of workers’ dorms at Toh Guan, so it’s really common to have lots of Indian/ Bangladeshi FW on the bus at night.

The start of the bus ride was rather normal, with people just filling up the bus and taking their seats. That peace was broken as the bus started rolling out of the interchange. This Chinese uncle started shouting “Fuck can you shut up? Stop talking!” at a FW who was on the phone. The FW immediately told him that it’s a public space and asked him what’s wrong with speaking on the phone. I can’t remember what the Uncle said but it was something along the lines of how he doesn’t like the way he talks and the FW should know his place as a foreigner AND THEN the uncle told the FW that he should be respected because he’s an Elderly Singaporean (wtf dude?)

At this point EVERYONE on the bus was just silently looking at the commotion happening but no one was stepping in. I understand if the rest of the foreign workers didn’t want to step in due to fear of escalating the situation, but there were definitely other Singaporeans on the bus who could have stepped in to get the uncle to calm his giant mantits. At that point I interjected and (politely) told the uncle to calm down. He just kept telling me not to “act smart” and kept verbally abusing the FW with Hokkien vulgarities (classy).

I told the FW to come sit opposite me instead, and he took the offer. Despite this, uncle just kept going on and verbally abusing the FW and yet demanded that the FW should respect him. At this moment I had a very boss moment and told the uncle that RESPECT HAS TO BE DESERVED. Uncle’s best comeback was to tell me not to act smart again.

The bus fell (awkwardly) silent, until the uncle was about to alight and told the FW to “behave himself as a foreigner.” Oh that gall. FW obviously got dulan and confronted him about it so the uncle challenged him to a fight off the bus (LOL secondary school bengs don’t die, they just graduate from toilet fights to bus stop fights). The FW next to me and I both had to restrain the victim FW who was obviously riled up. So I told the uncle that his ancestors were also immigrants and we are all immigrants (yeah bro, your ancestors are from China. What are you gonna do about it????). Uncle started being physically aggressive towards me (and the said victim actually physically shielded me from the uncle :'< ) At that point I shouted at the uncle to just get off the bus (and yes, no other Singaporeans came up to help.)

Once that bugger got off the bus, the other FW and the victim had a debate about not aggravating the crazy. Victim commented that he hoped Crazy Uncle was not Singaporean, because that just gives Singaporeans a very bad name (ooooo I have news for you bro ?). He also said that its okay if he gets scolded, but I shouldn’t be scolded because I’m innocent and I’m female, which was why he was also physically shielding Crazy Uncle away from me. At that point I was rather emotional because I just kept thinking how shitty racist Singaporeans are, and also how I had used my Chinese privilege to stand up for something but I totally forgot about the privilege I possess as a female (and that I’m really more privileged than I thought.) What I really wish I said to him was that I’m really sorry that he had to experience this, and it’s even sadder that I cannot guarantee that it will never ever happen again to him.

As they got off the bus, the FW sitting next to me said “thank you sister for supporting us.” It was the victim whose final sentence to me made me emotional though. He thanked me and went “Because of you, I still have faith in Singaporeans.”

We are all foreigners. What makes you so special than other FWs just because your ancestors came here 3 generations (or maybe 2 for that uncle) ago? Were they not foreigners too? What makes you superior?

Who died and made you god that you can judge and rank cultures over others? Singaporeans have a penchant of looking up to angmohs and bending their backs over just for them. I’m pretty sure the situation will be much different if it were an Angmoh talking on the phone. We also love east Asia (don’t get me started on K wave) and we treat them so well. But when you hear someone is Filipino/ Indian/ Bangladeshi/ PRC you immediately start looking down on them and want them out of your space. You give them so much shit on a daily basis and yet you blame alcohol intoxication for causing riots. #neverforget

Singaporeans, you are really so ugly.

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