It took me while to recover from the horror described in the letter below.
I'm even more stunned by how this Singaporean (Shaun Jalleh) who has lived in Singapore all these years can be surprised that Singaporeans sat quietly as abuse was hurled against them by a tyranical racist. This Singaporean is also upset that Singaporeans did not stand up for themselves and was disappointed with the apathetic nature of his fellow citizens.
I want to assure Shaun Jalleh that it is not the fault of the Singaporeans on the bus that they did nothing nothing as abuse was hurled at them. Standing up to tyranny just doesn't pay in Singapore, it is better to remain silent and mind your own business. Singaporeans have been conditioned over long periods of time to accept various abuses - be it companies raising prices by abusing their monopolistic positions or the detention of men who were infected with alternative ideas - speaking up always proves to be useless and changes nothing. It is more economical to sit quietly and pretend nothing is happening.
July 10, 2007
Tirade of racial abuse aboard bus and no one bothered to act
ON JULY 4, while travelling on bus service 16, my fellow passengers and I were the victims of racial abuse. The incident was sparked by a person who boarded the bus but had no change for bus fare. At that moment, an elderly Caucasian woman came up and offered to pay the fare for that person. She did this while raising her voice and commenting that Singaporeans will never help anyone but themselves and that all Singaporeans were money-minded.
She even went so far as to add a four-letter vulgarity before the word 'Singaporean' in every sentence she uttered. At that moment, I could not remain silent any longer and I interrupted her, merely uttering the words, 'excuse me'. It was then that her racial slurs began, referring to Chinese people as 'chinks' and how she hated all of them. I then accused her of being a racist which she freely admitted to being, all the while adding again the four-letter vulgarity directed at all 'chinks'.
She then remarked to the entire bus how Chinese people could not speak proper English, adding that she did not know how they could see owing to their small eyes.
To say the least, I was shocked and horrified by her bigotry. Being lost for words and disgusted at her deplorable behaviour, I just called her a disgrace.
After the dust had settled, I found myself utterly disappointed at how such a small and hateful person was allowed on our shores, if in fact she was in Singapore on a long-term basis.
However, I was even more disappointed in the extreme apathetic nature of my fellow Singaporeans. This racial abuse lasted a good five minutes on a bus packed full of Singaporeans who had just finished work, and no one except me had shown disapproval of this verbal abuse.
Everyone just sat there without saying a word. If we Singaporeans do not stand up for ourselves in the face of such blatant tyranny, who will? The ironic thing is that I am Eurasian and my girlfriend is German and I was the only one who said something when she went on her racial tirade.
This debacle has left me with the opinion that our Government's drive towards attracting foreign talent needs to be approached with great caution. More stringent checks on potential immigrants are required, which should not be solely based on paper credentials, but on their sentiments towards Singapore and their people. One bigot allowed to grace the country I love is one too many.