Social activist Sangeetha Thanapal has jumped to the defence of the People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai. Murali had been recently criticised by some in the Indian community for sinicizing himself, especially with the shortening of his name from ‘Muralidharan Pillai’, to ‘Ah Mu’, to endear himself to the Chinese-majority voters of Bukit Batok.
Writing in her Facebook Ms Thanapal said, that Murali had to resort to sinicizing himself because Singapore is a country that actively encourages assimilation into ‘Chineseness’.
She asked if any Chinese candidate ever had to change his name to make it sound more minority-like, and ascertained that it was simply not necessary for them to do so.
She said regardless of SDP’s candidate Chee Soon Juan not being a racist, he will benefit from ‘Chinese Privilege’, in this instant by mere virtue of being Chinese, and that Murali is merely trying to make up for that in these misguided ways.
She further said that Murali was “desperate to be seen as more Chinese” because of how racism manifests itself in Singapore, “to make up for the disadvantage of (him) being born Indian in a country where Indian people are called racial slurs everyday.”
Ms Thanapal got into trouble last year for suggesting that the Law and Home Affairs Minister, Mr K Shanmugam was an ‘Islamophobic bigot who thinks Malay-Muslims are a threat’. She later apologised to the Minister for her comment when he threatened to make a police report against her for the false comment attributed to him.
Ms Thanapal has also received criticisms for her views on racism and ‘Chinese Privilege’, a term which she claims to have coined.
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