Xenophobic Singapore? - It's A Xenophobic World
Isn't it ironic, dontcha think, that with the brouhaha from anonymous commentor OneUpYours in the comments page of the previous post (sorely tempted to publish his/her email address, but that would be naughty), it was only a few days ago I quoted Nobel Prize Winner Patrick White on those "dreadful things", the dangers inherent in Nationalism?
Obviously OUY is only a kid, having only just discovered that the things she/he says could have repercussions. She/He seemed amazed that after abusing someone, they answer back! However he/she lacked the intellectual capacity and maturity to be able to cope with the opportunity for reciprocation that this entailed, and so his/her existence on this blog faded away in cloud of pathetic profanity and nationalistic xenophobia.
GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY!!
FUCK OFF. JUST FUCK OFF.
"JUST" fuck off? There are other options? Laughing, out loud!
But this call to leave Singapore, doesn't it remind you of something? Isn't it symptomatic of a larger and more universal ill?
As I said in the post about Suharto, globalization causes a reaction, and that reaction is Nationalism. As the homogenization of world markets occurs, even while the contradiction inherent in ubiquitous "elite" brands names and stores fails to register with the status desperate middle class, individuals in countries whose unique cultures are otherwise getting subsumed by Starbucks and Armani Xchanges, fight to regain a sense of self and individuality. That need to assert the individual self as distinct from others and from other cultures is manifest in a strong support for the National Pride of the country. Nationalism.
The need for special skills or just to develop a critical mass of numbers in some countries calls for increases in immigration and the fluidity in the personnel department make expatriatism rampant. People are moving from country to country for short term work, for education, for long term work... Unfortunately for Globalization, Nationalism and Immigration tend to clash.
For though it would seem almost impossible to detect a external difference between a shopping mall in Orchard Rd or one in say, Parramatta, Sydney, it can be achieved, this difficult differentiation.
How? you ask, eager for clarification.
OK I'll give you a situation. Two people bump into each other: a Caucasian Australian and a Chinese Singaporean.
In Singapore the Chinese goes home and comments on a Australian expat's blog - "Get the fuck out of my country! Go back to Aussie land!"
In Parramatta, the Australian being drunk, obnoxious, and much bigger, says essentially the same thing directly to the Chinese person's face.
Both are ugly situations. Both are symptomatic of Globalism and its bastard spawn, Nationalism. (The astute will note that Australians have always been horrendously racist, as have the Chinese, but that doesn't advance my thesis, so fuck that tonight.)
The first time the world had such a laissez-faire international government and ease of trade in things and people - the equivalent of modern Globalization - was at the end of the nineteenth century. This led to a horrific rise in arrogant nationalism, and then directly to the carnage of the First World War.
Read the works of John Raulston Saul for further details.
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
"GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY!!"
That sounds strangely familiar.
Oh yeah. A ten year old boy said that to me in Ozland.
Yeah, I remember, I was trying to find it on your blog to link to it! If you are wondering why you got about 30 page reads from Thailand last night in your stats...
OneUpYours' fury is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you've visited Singaporean discussion groups like the Sammyboy forum you'll find that racism and xenophobia are alive and well here.
This can actually be quite shocking given the wholesome image of Singapore presented to the outside world by our efficient mass media.
Alvin: I steer clear of SammyBoy, just as I steer clear of certain pubs in Parramatta.
Singaporeans rather like the Americans I've met in real life are actually quite nice people. Unfortunately there's always a strata of beligerence in any country towards foreigners. Fortunately we're not living in 1970's Britain, it was scary enough for me and I'm white and middle class. I once made a Singaporean man cry with a few well chosen words. I didn't even have to raise my voice. I think most of the people on SammyBoy are Chinese teenagers who can't get laid and find it convenient to blame foreigners instead just growing up. It's much easier to anonymously say 'just fuck off' than it is to just grow up. I can tell you how hard it is to get laid in this town : ) I'm off to sammyboy nazi baiting is such fun. you should publish the email