Singapore has largely achieved what many countries are struggling with: racial harmony.
But of course, we’re not perfect.
Every once in a while, we’re reminded that we still have a lot of room for improvement.
For example, just a while ago earlier this year was the infamous Brownface Saga.
(You could read up here to refresh your memory)
Not too long later, now we have yet another incident.
Of course, this doesn’t appear to be blowing up as big, but it’s still noteworthy incident to take a look at.
I guess being an influencer, one has to truly take extra care of their words.
Influencer Called Sikhs ‘Obstructions’
Have you heard of Sheena Phua on Instagram?
She currently has around 76k followers and specialises in beauty and travel according to her bio.
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I had the luxury to indulge in @nestbloomsg’s traditional double yolk white lotus mooncake and signature handcrafted bird’s nest with my family this weekend. The specially curated Mid-Autumn ritual kit is such a thoughtful and decadent gift to spoil your loved ones this Mooncake Festival. It adds a special touch to gifting if you wanna impress the bf’s mum and steal her heart! 😉 The yummy mooncake-bird’s nest duo also makes a lavish high tea treat 😍 Stay tuned to this space as I’m giving away X3 Mid-Autumn Assortment Set A worth $88 each. #NestBloomSG #HeritageBloom #AlchemySocial
However, Sheena caught some unwanted publicity due to her Instagram stories, which is perhaps one of the worst nightmares of social media influencers.
So what did she say that was so bad?
She was apparently in a concert and two Sikh men had appeared to be obstructing her view, and she called them ‘obstructions’.
Naturally, backlash from netizens occurred, especially from the minority races, who may have had their own experiences of being discriminated by Singaporean Chinese.
The screenshot of the original outrage-causing Instagram story saved and posted by local musician Subhas Nair.
Why does that name sound familiar?
That’s right, he’s the brother of the famous/infamous Preetipls, one of the main characters of the Brownface Saga.
Now, with her brother involved, did she say something about this as well?
Sure she did.
hm it’s kinda some form of privilege when you have the audacity to take a picture of someone, call them an obstruction when u r at a concert & post it up for ur 70k followers on IG instead of moving to a better spot, like life really isn’t that hard imo when the solution is: move https://t.co/aP5dFuZ8lL
— Preeti Nair (@plspreeti) September 22, 2019
Well, it could just be me, but I don’t think Preetipls isn’t exactly the best person to comment on racial issues at the moment.
I mean, she did just cause a bunch of ruckus by filming and commenting a bunch of racist content herself.
After the backlash, Sheena quickly posted an explanation on her Instagram story.
Sheena explained that her ‘obstruction’ remark was merely a reference to their height, and was not in any way related to their race or turban.
She also stated that she understands how it could have been easily taken out of context and apologised for it.
While some can choose to view this as just excuses, you could also choose to stand in her shoes and believe her.
What do you think?
Honestly, I can see her side very well.
Some of you might think that people believing her (such as me) only do so because we’re either Chinese or has never been racially discriminated.
But maybe, we could be more objective as a result of that too.
I’m not saying she definitely wasn’t making a racist remark originally. But how do you know for sure that she was?
Let’s not be so quick to judge.
Maybe the first step to perfect racial harmony is to stop assuming that everything is meant to be racist.