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Facebook post by male Chinese S’porean urging privileged majority stand with minorities resonates

Even a simple message of support will suffice.

Matthias Ang | August 7, 2019 @ 04:07 pm

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A Facebook post calling for the privileged majority to stand with minorities in Singapore is making the rounds on social media.

It comes in the wake of recent talk about racism in Singapore.

Majority should show support for minorities

The post on Aug. 5 by Teo Yu Siang articulated the daily struggles that minorities face here, as well as characterising the dismissive hand-waving they also have to deal with as part of a bigger problem.

Rather than letting things be by sitting on one’s hands, Teo wrote that it is important for members of the majority to voice their support for minorities.

And this can be through simple messages of support, which would have the effect of encouraging minorities, as well as sparking discussions with the majority.

Here is his post in full:

“This country has a way of beating you down if you fall outside of a narrowly defined area of acceptable / ideal existence. It has a way of invalidating the struggles and silencing the voices of the minority. It’s as if a broad swath of heteronormative and homophobic, racially-oriented and racist, meritocratic and elitist, policies have created an extremely comfortable majority (of mostly Chinese, middle class and upwards, heterosexual people) that the struggles, the problems and the voices of the minority are frivolous, irrelevant, even dangerously incendiary.This country, i.e. the state, the media and a large portion of the majority, is saying: I don’t care if you struggle—actually scratch that, I’m sure you don’t struggle much at all. If you’re LGBTQ, you should be happy that your abnormal existence is tolerated, and please don’t shove your queerness into my face and in public spaces. If you’re brown-skinned, you need to have thicker skin and learn how to take “jokes” better. If you’re not academically or financially successful, it’s only because you’re lazy or stupid, or both. Learn your place in society. Stay in the shadows where we can’t see you clearly. Be happy you’re alive and not stoned / enslaved / homeless / etc. Don’t you dare rock the boat! You’re making my comfort feel uncomfortable, so stop. Like really, stop, or else.

So to anyone who’s been feeling down at the events that have unfolded over the past months, know that I’m with you. To the people who’ve been feeling deflated at the brown-face saga: I’m with you. Extra hearts and virtual hugs to people who are queer and brown, who’ve had to struggle with their LGBTQ and ethnic identities in such quick and ruthless succession.

And to people in relative positions of privilege and power: speak up for the underprivileged. I’m trying my best to do that. Because it can’t only be the “angry queers” who demand for change every pride month. It can’t only be the “angry racial minorities” who lament and cry for change (or just for brown-face to stop) every time something happens. And it cannot only be “activists” who dare or are willing to speak up about issues. If you believe we need to achieve true LGBTQ equality, if you believe we need to be more racially sensitive and less racist, then be the ally your peers need you to be.

If a Chinese person speaks up against the racist NETS ad and how the saga unfolded, then it’s more likely that other Chinese people who might be sitting on the fence will listen and learn. If a straight person speaks up against LGBTQ discrimination, then it’s more likely that other straight people who might be homophobic will realise the harm they’re causing. Your / my relative positions of privilege gives your voice added weight—use it.

It doesn’t mean that you are / have to be some woke person who knows all about race relations and politics. It doesn’t mean you are / have to be a political activist. I don’t do these things to prove that I’m woke, or show that I’m not racist, or to score brownie “likes” on social media. I’m doing it because I think it’s the right thing and I know the relative weight of my voice as a Chinese person. Besides, there’s much easier ways to score likes on social media, hor, like you know, siding with the majority who by definition are more populous.

You don’t have to write essays. Just words as simple as “I stand with Preeti and Subhas”, or “This is racist and wrong”, or “Repeal S377A”, or “LGBTQ people are people, too”, etc—that is powerful enough. Or, share a post that someone else has written and that you agree with. Your friends (and even people outside your network) who belong to the affected minority groups will know you stand with them; your peers who belong to the majority group will likely be more interested to discuss the issue.

People in relative positions of privilege and power: you/we need to be better allies. Because you don’t know, and perhaps you won’t ever truly understand, how soul-crushing and invisible your existence on this sunny island can be.

Disclaimer/note: I have grouped or mentioned LGBTQ, racial minorities, and people who are financially disadvantaged together, but I don’t mean that their experiences are the same or equivalent. I’m just trying to show that it’s not a singular instance of just one topic like race, there’s a clear pattern where this country has consistently tried to beat down and silence voices of various minority and disadvantaged groups.”

Here is his post on Facebook:

Top image from Teo Yu Siang Facebook

About Matthias Ang

Matthias is that annoying guy whose laughter overshadows the joke.

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