Singapore—A few weeks ago, Singapore’s Instagram Queen Jamie Chua found herself being called out by netizens for a post that they found to be racist. Later Ms Chua took down the post and also apologized and made donations to two organisations that help migrant workers.
However, this may not have been enough for rapper Subhas Nair, who uploaded a short video clip of a song on his social media pages in reaction Ms Chua’s original post, even as he acknowledged the amends she endeavored to make.
Beyond being just a response to Ms Chua, the rapper took her post as a springboard for social commentary.
Last month, Ms Chua posted an Instagram story of a cup of coffee with the following caption, “I’m sooooo tired today. Woke up at 3.47 am from a disturbing nightmare, dreamt of the Indian workers dorm and they were all rushing into my house. Been so affected by the recent cases, I’ve been suffering from mild anxiety.”
This post was taken down later, and when Ms Chua apologized, the photo of the cup of coffee was uploaded again, simply captioned “Self-isolation.” However, many netizens had taken screenshots of the original post by then.
Mr Nair offers a commentary on the issue with a song called “Mada Sambrani” which, according to this website, is Tamil for “bumbling idiot,” “cantankerous empty vessel or a blabbering dolt” (Ouch!) The song features fellow artist Dnl.
The lyrics are:
Swimming in your monies
Woke up groggy got you clumsy
Spit things out so bluntly
You can have a big house, big car, BIG everything
Pockets so deep
Momma made a print machine
10K square feet void of sensitivity
To those who build a safe place to cry in
I’m so, so tired today.
Woke up at 3:47
No lyin’ today
Man I already told y’all
Since NETS E-pay
That the double standard’s crazy
How y’all get away?
Thinking to myself
Should I reply or not
She the type to see the resilience budget and say
Eh eh, this one I qualify or not?
While people wonder if this month
They get by or not
Why you had to call my lil sister for advice
She the only brown person you know in your life
Glad you took her recommendation
You look real nice
Another lesson learned
While we paid the price
She’s really Singapore’s MLK
Cos she had a dream
Put it in front of our screens
Quick get that coffee
Before you get that gastric
Can you still recycle even zero-use plastic?
In the caption to his post, Mr Nair wrote, “no influencers were harmed during the making of this video.”
In the lyrics, Mr Nair referred to a controversy that he and his sister, YouTuber Preetipls were involved in last year. The two made a video criticising a NETS E-Pay advertisement which had featured brownface, which had sparked a national conversation about racism. In their apology for the video, which was also found to be racist, they wrote, “Behind the music video is an initiative to provide greater consciousness to consumers, corporations, and the many faces of Singapore.”
Mr Nair also makes a reference to his sister in his new video, since one of the beneficiaries of Ms Chua’s donation had been Preetipls’ campaign for migrant workers on the give.asia platform. —/TISG
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