Singapore—Responding to a recent uptick in racist comments, particularly anti-South Asian prejudice, after last week’s incident with the “sovereign” woman, writer Sudhir Thomas Vakadeth re-posted a thought-provoking video on YouTube calling for citizens to end racism, as politicians, he claimed, cannot be trusted to do so.
Mr Vakadeth made the point that even statements such as “Eh, why Indians again ah?,” could be damaging in the long run. But more overt types of racism have emerged lately, such as the doxxing of an innocent woman, as well as personal stories that were shared to him by some Indians. In addition to this, he has noticed that the “usually moderate Chinese” have been silent on the matter, perhaps due to our common preoccupation with the ongoing pandemic, and that “there seems to be more anti-Indian sentiment coming from some Malays online” than in the past.
He also noticed that the video where he tackled racism, which he published last year on Facebook after the brownface/Preetipls incident, had been shared again among Indians over the past week. People have reached out to thank Mr Vakadeth for the video, which contains some important points concerning racism in Singapore’s particular history and context.
On Monday, Mr Vakadeth posted his video, entitled ‘Race in Singapore: We can’t trust politicians; people need to step up,’ on YouTube.
Mr Vakadeth sought to explain the reasons why South Asian prejudice has been on the rise: “I believe, in a nutshell, that there is a conflation of some anti-migrant worker sentiment and the more recent anti-sovereign sentiment, set against the backdrop of long-standing anti-CECA feelings.”
He adds, however, that there are those who would posit that the country’s leadership would welcome this kind of racism as a distraction from the current crisis, but says he doesn’t ascribe to it, although he is keeping a close eye “to see how authorities handle online abuse, among other things.”
“No doubt, Singapore’s politicians have repeatedly in the past used race and religion as tools to further their own agenda, as I discuss in the video,” Mr Vakadeth added.
Many people agreed with the writer. One pointed out the hypocrisy of Asians who called out racism in western countries during the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, but participate in racism back home.