01 July 2006

See, Eric? Who says Singaporeans are racists? Angmos are Well-Loved Here.

ST Online Letter, July 1, 2006
Double standards: White visitor gets attention while S'pore native, who pays the bill, is ignored

With reference to your recent report about the double standards in service, I agree with it.

I am now visiting your lovely city with my daughter and son-in-law after an absence of over 35 years. Most of the stores and restaurants we visited always deferred to Bryan, my son-in-law, and Vila, my daughter. He is white and she is half-white. I, looking like a local, was often ignored.

Ironically, the bill was usually presented to either of them even though my name was on the credit card.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Singapore but this native daughter is saddened by the double standards in courtesy.

Emily Cheok

Miscellaneous: Read Popagandhi, on customer profiling for retail staff.


Anonymous said...

We reserve our smiles for angmos too.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding ignorant, who is Eric?

wert said...

What's wrong?
The government had taught us over the years to serve angmos better.

Please don't be offended, it's not racist or anything. You are not being discriminated. We don't smile at each other too, it's just normal behavior.

Anonymous said...

Come on la, don't blame the government for everything, including your own inferiority complex.


Heavenly Sword said...

Many years ago, Heavenly Sword went to this travel agency in Singapore and arrived 1 minute before closing time. The lady said, "Sorry we're closed." There was this Caucasian behind me who just arrived too, and he said, "Oh you're closed??" The lady said, "Oh no no, it's okay, you can come in." Then I asked, "What about me?" She said, "Sorry you'll have to come another day..."

Anonymous said...

heavenly sword, you deserved it.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Wang,

I don't know if you are acting tongue in cheek or are baiting me...cannot tell lah!

So who is saying Singaporeans are racists? Maybe, unknowingly, it is Mr. Wang by posting this letter. According to the dictionary one definition of racism is "racial prejudice or discrimination." Giving preferential treatment based on race is racism.

If you reread my previous comments, you will see that I call for evenhandedness. In fact, I believe that this preferential treatment, whether true or perceived, is the catalyst for the backlash directed at Caucasians.

Disclaimer: I do not think that all Singaporeans treat Caucasians differently. Just some...

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Anonymous (Saturday, July 01, 2006 6:19:45 PM):

Eric is my new angmo friend who is upset about being "angmo". I keep telling him he shouldn't be upset but he doesn't agree. Read his comments in the comment section of my post here.


I think you're in a good position to observe the phenomenon for yourself. You are white, and married to a local, are you not.

It was tongue-in-cheek baiting on my part.

Anonymous said...

You just gave me an idea for starting a new blog - documenting instances of Pinkerton complexes in Singapore. For starters, there is this Ang Moh who helped McCrea dispose the dead bodies, driving him all over Singapore looking around for a suitable dumping ground, and the prosecution conveniently forgets about her "contribution".

Anonymous said...

Errrr, I think you'd better relook the facts of that case.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for Eric!

He's white and he hasn't received any preferential treatement, at least, not that he knew of. (as mentioned in his previous posts).

Gosh, shouldn't we treat all whites the same too, in the least.

Singaporeans are just too much. Looks like our retail diplomas should set a min colour code.

Heavenly Sword said...

To the Anonymous who was responding to me above:

I know.... :)

singaporean said...

On second thoughts, the behaviour of the waiters and waitresses could be attributed to the fact that Angmos tip, while Asians do not.

I think the underpaid service staff would rather be labelled racist than miss out on an opportunity to earn a tip.

For better or worse, I think we can safely blame the government for eliminating the tipping culture in Singapore.

singaporean said...

BTW, it is hard to notice positive discrimination. Few Chinese Singaporeans will think they get preferential treatment over other races (except angmos of course). Wait till you talk to an Indian Singaporean.

Anonymous said...

Woohoo, Gilbert Goh why u write to Sunday Times wanting men to get similar support as women?

Anonymous said...

You know this is why there are salespeople and there are customer service people.

The most sales persons will prioritise with serving the customers who are,

1. branded, attractive and look filled with cash(money whore),

2. next with customers similar to their own race(discrimination).

3. the rest are invisible(indifferent).

wert said...

To be fair, I think angmos appreciate good service while most locals do not.

Service people are human(sometimes), and I think they do like to be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Like Jack Neo said :

"I feel like a concubine in my own country"


He said if we migrate, we are just concubines in our second country.....

But now, whats the difference....NS does not factor in anymore.....

This is what you get after 40 years of PAP rule....

Anonymous said...

Next time you see some sales personnel treating another person preferentially for no good reason, because of race or even because the other person's wearing better clothes, tell him off politely. If you don't provide feedback that this is wrong behaviour, then don't expect society to change.

On my part, I haven't really experienced a situation whereby I was slighted over a person of a different race. But I know I would rather talk to the perpetrator of the incident rather than blame the government. At least that's one sales personnel who will think twice about doing that again.

I think Eric is confused. Are you against Asians treating Caucasians better, or are you against Asians getting upset that Asians treat Caucasians better? Racism typically refers to negative discrimination, or making negative snap judgments. I don't really see what you're getting at here.


Anonymous said...

Guys read Today today.

The government slams Mr Brown for his humor column. The end of Singapore...sigh

Voices // Monday, July 3, 2006
Distorting the truth, mr brown?
When a columnist becomes a 'partisan player' in politics

Letter from K BHAVANI
Press Secretary to the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts

Your mr brown column, "S'poreans are fed, up with progress!" (June 30) poured sarcasm on many issues, including the recent General Household Survey, price increases in electricity tariffs and taxi fares, our IT plans, the Progress Package and means testing for special school fees.
The results of the General Household Survey were only available after the General Election. But similar data from the Household Expenditure Survey had been published last year before the election.
There was no reason to suppress the information. It confirmed what we had told Singaporeans all along, that globalisation would stretch out incomes.
mr brown must also know that price increases in electricity tariffs and taxi fares are the inevitable result of higher oil prices.
These were precisely the reasons for the Progress Package — to help lower income Singaporeans cope with higher costs of living.
Our IT plans are critical to Singapore's competitive position and will improve the job chances of individual Singaporeans. It is wrong of mr brown to make light of them.
As for means testing for special school fees, we understand mr brown's disappointment as the father of an autistic child. However, with means testing, we can devote more resources to families who need more help.
mr brown's views on all these issues distort the truth. They are polemics dressed up as analysis, blaming the Government for all that he is unhappy with. He offers no alternatives or solutions. His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to sympathise with.
mr brown is entitled to his views. But opinions which are widely circulated in a regular column in a serious newspaper should meet higher standards. Instead of a diatribe mr brown should offer constructive criticism and alternatives. And he should come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his views openly.
It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government. If a columnist presents himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the Government's standing with the electorate, then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in politics.

le radical galoisien said...

Positive discrimination is still discrimination, and can be insulting. Racism includes discrimination of any kind. Positive racism of one group mitigates the other group.

I share some sentiments as a person with the accent, of which I am treated differently (I don't speak Mandarin thanks to my stay in the US, but hey, neither does my grandfather who speaks dialects and Malay only, mais je parle francais, sia).

Anyhow, can't we sue for racial discrimination? I'm just wondering how we can document all these cases (evidence, secret camera when the time comes, being bugged, recordings over telephone, etc.) then we can start lawsuits.

Now, those are lawsuits with a noble ideal! Rather than do it against political dissidents, we can teach the others a lesson: Those frog-in-the-wells who ignorantly discriminate, well, they can get served with a civil court summons!

We have racial discrimination laws, I hope.