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Foreign student faces backlash over claim it is not racist to make slit-eyes gesture

School says discipline committee will deal directly with the student in the coming days




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Singapore — A foreign student has drawn intense backlash over a photo she has posted of herself making a slit-eyes gesture and for claiming it was not racist since there are Chinese who undergo eye enlargement surgery.

The student, Instagram user @louisepzn, is believed to be a French national studying at the Essec Business School. She had published a photo of herself in a cheongsam, with her fingers pulling the skin around the eyes to make them look smaller. The photo appears to have been taken on the other side of the Singapore River from the Supreme Court building.

Instagram user @beforeik.o exposed the student’s post online on Friday (Dec 4). Stating that she was going to keep screenshots of the post public until she received an apology, @beforeik.o wrote: “We welcome you to our country, but if you’re going to act like a racist a!@hole about it, kindly f!@# off and unfollow me.”

@beforeik.o also says this is not the first time the student has published racist posts online. The netizen posted screenshots of another Instagram post the student had made, in which she used the term “ching chong” — a racial slur about Asians.

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In a post published during Chinese New Year 2020, the student wrote: “New year ching chong with my gow sure!” The post drew 135 likes, with one follower commenting: “So chong!! So coronavirus!!”

@beforeik.o reached out to the student privately, explaining that her post was racist. The student, however, claimed that the picture was taken for fun.

She said: “I am clearly not racist what is wrong, it is just a picture for fun. Chinese people make surgeries to have European eyes and this is racism !??? I don’t think so. If we are in a world where every pictures or answer is turned into racism, it is no living anymore.”

Using the hashtag “ExpressionPower”, the student also called on @beforeik.o to be open-minded.

The netizen replied: “I don’t want to spread hate, trust me; but please go and educate yourself (especially if you’re living in an Asian country). If you had any respect for the Asian community and if you were smart enough, you’d remove the post and just apologise before this whole thing blows up.”

The student refused to apologise and said that she did not need advice since she had a master’s degree along with a diploma from the University of Harvard about ethnicity at work. She added that those who reacted negatively to her post were stupid and without knowledge.

She added: “Apologize from what? To wear Chinese dress because it is look pretty. Because I like the culture.”

@beforeik.o wrote to Essec Business School to highlight the student’s behaviour.

Attaching screenshots of the student’s post, the netizen wrote in an email: “I’m extremely shocked that these acts of racism is still happening till this day, especially in your school.

“I’m sure y’all don’t condone this immature, racist and xenophobic hate crime. I expect a public apology and statement from the student responsible for this hate crime on the behalf of Singaporeans and Asians alike.”

Essec Asia Pacific’s Director of Academic Affairs, Ms Kentia Boulay, replied to the netizen  and thanked her for bringing the student’s post to the attention of the school.

Promising to handle the matter through the school’s discipline committee, Ms Boulay wrote:

“We agree that the student’s post is inappropriate and not in line with the multicultural spirit and values that we strongly uphold at ESSEC. The school’s discipline committee will be dealing directly with the student in the coming days.”

The student subsequently told @beforeik.o that she would publish a message on Sunday, although it was unclear what it would be.

It is unclear whether the student has published this message, since her account is now private.

Meanwhile, @beforeik.o’s post on the student is going viral on social media. It has drawn more than 21,300 likes on Instagram. The post was also shared on Instagram page, @sgfollowsall, where it received an additional 11,755 likes. /TISG

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