Friday, November 13, 2015

Say NO to Xenophobia

This has completely nothing to do with investing or finance, but I feel that this is something that has to be talked about. After my friend was comparing my blog stats to some "influencers", my friend said I was way more popular than a lot of them and why don't I make a living out of it. Anyway, putting the part about making a living out of blogging aside, I let that "influencer" comparison go to my head and I decided to get this message out. Think of it as my kind of public service announcement. No need for thanks MCCY.

This video is blowing up in Taiwan. A Caucasian guy who has been living in Taiwan for 10 years was on the metro with his Taiwanese girlfriend when a local Taiwanese decided to harass and verbally abuse them. The video is hard to watch because you feel like punching the screen.

After 3 weeks of being bounced around by the Taiwanese police, Christopher got so frustrated by their total and complete inefficiency, so he resorted to uploading the video on his YouTube channel to vent his frustrations.

From what I know, it's gone totally viral in Taiwan and the police have managed to hunt down the guy with this sudden outburst of "public encouragement". Yes, this is a massive "throw face" situation for Taiwan, so they had to do something quick. If an ang moh in Singapore uploaded something similar speaking in Singlish, you can bet your sweet ass that the next morning there would be a police press statement on it.

The reason why I'm sharing this video is for 2 reasons.

First, this man has unbelievably god-like powers of self-control to not fuck the guy up upside down and inside out. In a similar situation, I don't know if I would just blow up or walk away and let that asshole feel like he is the winner and go on to harass other people since he has more courage. With the benefit of being a 3rd party, not being there live and being able to calmly think about it, I think that what he did was the best way for someone being verbally abused to handle this situation.

Secondly, I'm sharing this video because I can totally see something like this happening in Singapore. Christopher makes an excellent point about the behaviour and thinking of these bullies - they like to pretend that they are the majority and argue with the logic that because they were here first, they are right. Now, after watching this video and also feeling both the frustration and anger of being in a such a situation, I don't think I would ever stand idle and watch such a thing to happen in Singapore if I am around. I would storm in, handphone recording, shout for everyone to stop pretending to ignore the situation, firmly denounce the aggressor's action, rally some support and then remove the bullied away. At least, that is what I hope I have the courage to do next time in the future.

Now, I know we've all seen and heard cases like this before, happening overseas or even locally (a la the fiesty "I'm So Special" Ang Moh). Whether it's racism, xenophobia or even just plain bullying, I think that this sort of behaviour should not be tolerated. If something like this happens, it should never be allowed to escalate to such a point where all Singaporeans would then have to bury their heads for such a massive disgrace of "throw face". I'm sure many people in Taiwan are feeling that way.

I know people (acquaintances, not friends) who make #sorrynotsorry racist jokes all the time. Personally, I feel very uncomfortable with those kind of jokes and I respond with a total deadpan and unimpressed look of "Huh, WTF? Was that a joke?". Then they also immediately feel the uncomfortableness that I was just experiencing. Although not on the same level of horrible-ness, it is my way of showing disgust and disapproval for such kind of remarks. These sort of changes don't happen at a snap of a finger or after an argument or debate. It's conditioning and it takes time.

I'm always proud to tell foreigners that Singapore in a multi-racial, multi-cultural place that is very safe to visit. Let's keep it that way.


  1. Hi GMGH,

    Just wondering what you think about those people who tracked him down and baying for his blood because he disgraced Taiwan. Even though in this case, it's 'justified' because he is in the wrong, an eye for an eye still makes the world blind. Justified still doesn't mean it's right. I think being anti xenophobic and xenophobic is kind of the same thing. The moment you see others as different, is the moment you start to identify yourself in one of the two camps.

    You, me, we...the same :)

    1. Hi LP,

      You're so Zen! I think I have a lot more evilness in me.

      If normal everyday people get riled up and decide to form a lynch mob, that person must have done something horrible or its just his plain bad luck that he's going to be the scapegoat for something that normally slides by. It is his bad luck to get caught at the wrong time doing something bad to the wrong person.

      Now, what if he had decided to harass another Caucasian guy? Or if this happened to the same guy 10 years ago? What would his "punishment" be? Nothing. If he managed to provoke a violent reaction, he might even get to sue the guy and win! He gambled with the odds in his favour and lost. When you take a bet with the odds in your favour and you lose, you lose BIG.

      That said, lynch mob or not, people could already get their lives ruined by doing horrible things. A lynch mob only increases the severity and odds of getting someone's life ruined. Then again, lynch mobs don't appear daily for fun to catch people jaywalking. They form out of despicable actions.

      The punishment might not be justified or fair, but the world doesn't operate on fairness. Even if a majority of people might believe one thing, but that doesn't make them "right", it merely makes their way of thinking the majority. Who's to say what is "fair" or "right"? Things just happen as is.

      I don't know about everybody being the "same". Am I the same as a murderer? A rapist? A con-man? Of course I picked the more disturbing examples, but it's to show my point. Sure, past actions does not determine future actions, but I'll take it if that's all I have to work with, unless I can be shown that there is no link. If we can't use the past as a guide, then what should we use instead? I think there are very good reasons child molesters aren't allowed to be teachers. Should they be given the same opportunities as you and me as well?

      A lot of differences don't matter, but some most certainly do.

  2. What the buibui did was uncalled for and should be criticised. But the whole incident seems blown out of proportion, getting the police involved and all. The buibui was probably having a bad day or maybe his own gf got stolen by an amdk. I just feel sad for him, being a fat, unattractive and having a menial job.

    1. Hi Anon,

      I can imagine that he is having a bad day, but how he lashed out on someone else is not the way to handle it. If the rest of us can just suck it up and not project our problems onto random strangers in public, what he did was not normal and his choice of words to follow-up with were also unacceptable. He engaged the man for a very long time and was very smug about it the whole time. This wasn't a reaction, it was an intentional confrontation. I find it extremely hard to feel any pity for him.


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