Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is There A Racist In The Room?

"Was that you talking, or the Newater in your drink?"
There's this lingering suspect that Lee Kuan Yew's retraction of his offensive allegation about Muslims being last to integrate into the multi-racial milieu of Singapore society is less than sincere. It has to do with his half hearted press statement and his unusual reticence to show his face in the aftermath of the outrage. George Yeo could provide valuable clue when he told a religious conference yesterday that "Satanic Verses" was banned while "Last Temptation of Christ" was allowed because - brace yourself for the aftershock, folks - "Christians are less likely to riot."

Talk about throwing a monkey wrench into the works.  Now that should go down well in his Aljunied GRC.

George Yeo was positing that maintaining racial harmony is a "daily struggle for Singapore", at the dialogue attended by religious leaders from eight countries in Asia. The way he painted it, riding the MRT is a time-bomb, with closely packed commuters seething with bottled up racial under currents, ever ready to tear at each other's throats at the slightest provocation. Whatever he's got in his cocktail glass, none of us want to drink of the same poison. Call us daft, call us whingers, but please don't call us Singaporeans closeted racists.

Besides the Salman Rushie / Nikos Kanzantzakis illustration, Yeo also aired how the Government allows Punjabi Sikhs to wear turbans to class, but forbids Muslim girls to wear headscarves in school. Outsiders might see this as selective social engineering, dividing the minions to justify the subjugating hand. Like the Brits used to do in the bad old colonial days. The Belgians did it in Rwanda too, favoring the Tutsis over the Hutus, with catastrophic consequences. Yeo likens the citizens to plants in a garden, claiming that Singapore is beautiful because it is" all the time being interfered with." He got the last part right, but conveniently omitted the bit about peasants being treated like mushrooms, always kept in the dark and fed with bullshit.

Whatever happened to "one united people, regardless of race, language and religion"? One theory is that a united people will scare the pants off these genetic supremacy adherents, like how the sight of Falungong followers doing morning exercises unnerved the Chinese Communist Party. "The day we stop worrying, the problem may get out of control," George Yeo claimed. He shouldn't lose sleep over imagined ghosts, the real worry is about the dilution of the Singapore identity by the influx of foreigners. That plus affordable housing and the widening income gap.


  1. that "Satanic Verses" was banned while "Last Temptation of Christ" was allowed because, brace yourself for the aftershock - folks - "Christians are less likely to riot."

    Isn't this true?

  2. Some "christians", tell lies and use the name of God to justify invading a country and killing thousands of innoncent civilians (Bush in Iraq). I dont know which is worse: rioting or wrecking a country.

    I am a cbristian and Christ is at the centre of out faith. Not all of us give our lives to politicans or flawed leaders, be they secular or religious. We dont need politicans to use us as a comparison to Muslims. There is no need to play of one religion with another.

    Stop playing on people's fears of each other. I wish George Yeo would retract his statement and stop comparing Christians with Muslims. I have never claimed moral superiority over Muslims.

  3. Lenox,

    This is double standard. Do you really think Muslim Singaporeans will riot over "Satanic Verses"? I believe many Muslims would disagree even if they find the book offensive to their faith. On the other hand, the State refuses to ban "Last Temptation" even if it is offensive to people's faith. It is the State, like LKY, that demonstrates its prejudice.

  4. Dear Tattler,

    Is there a link to George Yeo's entire speech?

  5. Minister Georgy speaks like a philosopher
    behaves like a religious fundamentalist.
    He is a christian after all.

  6. Anon @9:58 PM,

    Am keen to read the whole speech too. Following bit is from CNA:
    "Some people think that when people of different religions live together, their common space is at the expense of my personal space. So if we have a common space in Singapore that means you have to be less Muslim, less Buddhist, less Catholic, less Hindu. That's not our view. Our view is our common space is our space of overlap," said Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo.

  7. I share the sentiment that Muslims are really less accomodating when it concern their religion. If you think it is double standards, it is also true but the risks of allowing the book "Satanic Verses" and leading to instability is there, I am sure even Malaysia and Indonesia will stage demonstration to protest against Singapore.......

  8. If they banned "Satanic Verses" because they are worried about regional conflicts, they should be explicit about their rationale and deal with the consequence. In the age of Wikileaks, there is no reason to point finger at local Muslims otherwise.

  9. Well, the decision to ban the book is better than toying with the consequences...... If you deem it double standard, it is! Therefore, I also support the ISA...... I do not wish to see racial riots, or for that matter, any riots......

  10. Racial riots in most situation is triggered by politicians wanting to capitalise on the situation. Go read the British archive records and there is blatant proof of cunning leader offering to create a riot to fulfil his own agenda. The ISA when used legetimately is good but in the hands of morally corrupted politician is a dangerous weapon used to supress his opponent. Very idiot knows that

  11. Anon 3:31:

    Sadly, to many Singaporeans the very thought of the ruling party becoming corrupted to the extent that the ISA becomes dangerous is ludicrous. Most people are complacent and think that as long as they don't engage in 'politics' their lives will be peaceful and unaffected by the ISA.

  12. Lenox,

    Egypt was a country with "ISA" and tightly controlled speech. They did not have riots. They had a REVOLUTION.

    Any country, Singapore included, where speech is suppressed, is susceptible to the same fate as Egypt.

  13. my pleasure to quote Pericles, 430 BC !

    "just because you do not take an interest in politics, does'nt mean politics won't take an interest in you"

  14. the average sporean is fearful and easily intimidated

  15. If nothing else Lee Kuan Yew's statement that Christians are less likel to riot is TRUE!

    After Egypts coup, Christian's have been beaten, their Churchs burned.

    Anyone find news reports of Christians rioting in the Vatican demanding death to the perps in Egypt? None, nothing and no where have Christian's rioted.

    Meanwhile the religion of peace and whining aka " when we are in the mood ", continues to show no respect for Christians or other Faiths.

    While the truth may be unsettling, the truth about the frequency of Muslims rioting is not racist.

    The truth cannot be racist, but on a fact.

    If anything the ones calling Lee Kuan Yew racist are the people who should be questioned and held suspect.

  16. "I don't pretend that I don't share those [innate] prejudices. I do. If one of my sons had come back and said, ' I've got this American lady whom I met in America ', my first question is, what colour is she?"
    - Lee Kuan Yew, National day rally, August 26 1990.

  17. Anyone who still have doubts about whether Lee Kuan Yew is a racist should read this excellent paper by Michael D. Barr of the Department of History, University of Queensland,"Lee Kuan Yew: Race, Culture and Genes"