Property Agents Apologise After Dancing as Malays / Indians in YT Video to Promote a Flat

A controversial ad from NETS with local celebrity, Dennis Chew, as the face of the campaign, drew much criticism last year:

The ‘brownface’ ad saw Dennis Chew darkening his face to impersonate the minority races. Both NETS and Dennis Chew had publicly apologised about this ad.

One year later, a similar incident took place.

This time around, a video which a property agent couple, Mr Jasen Tan and Ms Lim Shiqi, made for marketing purposes backfired.

Image: Facebook (Jasen & Shiqi)

Video meant to market a five-room flat in Jalan Bukit Merah

The property agents from PropNex Realty uploaded a video on their YouTube channel on 6 Sep 2020 to market a five-room flat in Jalan Bukit Merah which was up for sale.

The video has since been taken down.

Before the video got removed, a member of the public managed to share a segment of the married couple’s video on her Twitter page.

Dance Actions Impersonating Minority Races

In this partial clip, the duo was seen in traditional Indian outfits, dancing along to a Mandarin song.

Image: Twitter (@skeletonjacket)

While dancing, the couple incorporated a few moves, such as the head bobble. They also included Malay and Tamil greetings in their speech after the dance.

Image: Twitter (@skeletonjacket)

Video Meant To Appeal To The Non-Chinese

The video received a lot of outrage from netizens after it went viral.

In their interview with AsiaOne, the couple apologised for their video.

They said, “Firstly, we would like to clarify that we have no intentions at all to mock, offend or disrespect any cultural race or minority and we sincerely apologise for sparking the unpleasant sentiments online.”

“We admit that we have done wrong in our approach in this matter and vow to constantly look at things critically and from all possible angles from now on to avoid such events in the future.”

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The couple sought the unit seller’s approval and consent with regards to the concept prior to the video shoot.

As the five-room flat can be sold to non-Chinese buyers due to the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP), the couple had produced the video with that particular angle.

The Ethnic Integration Policy

According to the Housing Development Board, the EIP aims to ensure a balanced mix between the various ethnic communities in HDB towns.

The limits are set at block/ neighbourhood levels based on the ethnic make-up of Singapore.

In other words, there cannot be wholly “Chinese” towns or entirely “Malay” HDB blocks, and the EIP is there to preserve Singapore’s multi-cultural identity and promote racial integration and harmony

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With much online criticism going around, the couple requested the public to give them some time to reflect upon their actions.

Update:

A new version of the video was uploaded to the couple’s YouTube channel yesterday, September 15.


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They included a note in the description box to explain their rationale behind the video. The couple also apologised to viewers who were offended by it.

Image: YouTube (Jasen and Shiqi)

Here’s the full version of the note:

Hi everyone, thank you for all your feedbacks and comments regarding our Bukit Merah home tour. We cannot emphasize enough that we have no intentions at all to mock, offend or disrespect any race or cultural minority. Our idea was to create a very fun and free ambience to showcase the integration of races and cultural differences in our HDB estates and to show that all races can mix around and get along within the community.

We sincerely apologise to everyone who had been offended by our videos, and for sparking the recent unpleasant online sentiments. We hope that our team will not be affected and discouraged by this incident and continue to come up with creative ideas for home tours to market our properties. Here is the revised version of the home tour. Thank you for watching.

The edited version started off with the couple greeting viewers in Tamil and Malay, with a Mandarin song playing in the background.

The dancing segment in the previous video was removed in this new version.

Mr Jasen Tan and Ms Lim Shiqi introduced the unit after the greetings. They used several Malay and Tamil phrases such as ‘Baik’ to introduce the five-room flat.


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Image: YouTube (Jasen and Shiqi)They ended the video with a Tamil greeting.

Image: YouTube (Jasen and Shiqi)

You can watch their full video below:

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