Disclaimer: this post was written during the first week after the incident. It is based on the below Straits Times article that many find untrustworthy (and AFAIR they later corrected it), so it might not be (is not?) accurate.
This morning an NTU professor was stabbed by an Indonesian student. The professor survived, but the student jumped off the 7 storey building CORRECTION: 5th level of the 7 storey building and died. The news spread quickly: I read The Straits Times online (the above link) this afternoon and after several hours Detik had also covered it up: [link].
But this is not what I want to write about.
Look at this…
and the comment page of the corresponding news in Detik: [link].
In Singapore identifying a citizen with her/his race is a common thing. The terms Chinese Singaporean, Malay Singaporean, Tamil Singaporean, etc can be easily found in, for example, room rental advertisement. An excerpt from an ad: “Chinese owner“. Another excerpt: “Preferably female chinese malaysian or indonesian.” But when this is applied in Indonesia, people will accuse you of racism.
I don’t know which one is wrong. Maybe the Detik commentators are right. It is supposed to be wrong, but since people in Singapore have get used to it, they find no offence. But maybe this thing here is not necessarily offensive. The news doesn’t relate the crime to any racial stereotype. Maybe Indonesian people are just too allergic when it comes to race. But maybe they are both right. They have different backgrounds and environments, so they are not to be compared to each other. But wait! Maybe they are both wrong! …but on my fifth thought, maybe it is an invalid concern as this cannot be transformed into an ethically Boolean right or wrong question.
I condemn racial discrimination. Any form of discrimination is unacceptable. But exposing someone’s race…?
Humanities is a hard subject to master, indeed… (=_=)a
PS: Some historical notes for comparison. Singapore history is darkened by 1964 and 1969 race riots. In Indonesia, Chinese Indonesian was oppressed during Dutch colonialism, during the New Order (Orba), and became the victim of May 1998 riot.
PS2: regarding the room ads, I think it is because of the language barrier. Despite English being the declared national language in 1965, many people still cannot speak English here (even some Chinese Singaporean cannot speak Mandarin after the Mandarinisation starting from 1979, but instead several dialects such as Hokkien (like Chinese people in Medan), Teochew, Hakka, etc), so it is natural to find a room tenant who is of the same ancestry.
PS3: wish me luck with my room hunting
PS4: a quite funny video
PS5: I really think that I am a mean person. I watched the news on TV this evening when I was about to have dinner (mutton soup so tasty leh…). I didn’t understand it though, as it was in Chinese. The stall keeper uncle, who has known me quite well, said that it was a pity to lose your life like that. He said that probably the student was pushed too hard by his professor (although later I found some news (I forget the URL) said that they are good friends). I said, however stabbing a professor is obviously wrong. He replied, yes of course it is wrong, but what matters now is why he did it. I said…yeah…that’s the problem.
I was being mean and harsh, wasn’t I? 😦
PS6: If you haven’t done so (and if you understand Bahasa Indonesia, of course) I recommend you to read comments in the new series in Detik and Kompas. Very funny lor!! There are racism accusation, sour grapes, non-sensical comments (ospek???), blablabla…ahahahahahahahahahaha 😆