Wake Up Your Idea
Friday, March 16, 2007
  The Ugly Indian

There has been a recent ruffling of feathers amongst the Singaporean Indian community due to the 'revelation' by an MP in parliament that expatriate Indians and local Indians do not gel in Singapore. Many theories and possible reasons were offered and the general thrust has been that the expatriates are not keen to mix the locals.

However, it is more possibly a case of the local Indians not wanting to be associated with these expatriates. Basically, these foreigners are not here because they like Singapore. It is more likely that the money is great. Once they've earned enough, they will return to their place of origin. This fact was recently highlighted by an expatriate Indian's response to the issue in the TODAY paper (dated 15/03/2007 - Pg 20). In it, he tried to be objective and humble but ended up proving the fact that expatriate Indians were an arrogant lot.

This invariably brought out the irate sentiments of the Singaporean Indians and many an email have begun to circulate amongst the community. One such email responded with the following:

... The author says that Indian nationals are more Indian than Singaporean Indians; I would like to ask how he defines this concept of being 'more Indian'. If 'more Indian' means having Neanderthal notions that women should stay at home while the men go to work, then yes, they are indeed more Indian.

He starts by stating that he doubts that he 'feels superior in any way' and then later talks about how his 'lifestyle is better, totally different and even enviable'. What a classic irony. The very fact that he feels that he has something 'better and enviable' already means he feels superior. Personally, I think the editor who allowed this rubbish to go into print needs to slapped silly with about 5 rolled up copies of yesterday's issue.

However, this particular arrogant-yet-ignorant, coconut-oil-invested monkey need not worry. We (Singaporean Indians) are definitely not clamouring to be nauseated with the extremely bad body odour of this group. Nor are we interested in living our lives based on an ancient and out-dated belief system with castes and status-consciousness.

Having got that out of my system, let me address some pertinent issues about the so-called expat Indian community. The real divide is not between Singaporean Indians vs Expatriate Indians. It's actually Singaporean Indians vs Malayalees from India vs Gujuratis from India vs Punjabis from India vs Tamils from India (ie. times 28 states). Whereas we can see different nationalities of Europeans and Americans mixing together as a single Singaporean Expatriate community, these supposedly-superior Indians can't even get around caste and language to be part of an Indian expatriate community, let alone be part of the larger expatriate community.

This group of disunited individuals (or individual families) are merely mercenaries, here to earn the money and pump it back to their village to build a big house and be a Big Person there. I am under no illusion that some of these true foreigners assimilate into Singapore because they love the place so much. Unless they have a real problem back home that means they have no other choice but to stay, they will be heading back to their villages to be The Big Person - sooner or later.

Also, did you ever realise that all the mocking imitations done by other races of Indians come directly from the behaviour of these so-called expatriates? Does any self-respecting Singaporean Indian talk with such horrendous accent? Because of them, Singaporean Indians have to suffer the indignity of the incessant teasing and mockery of the 'Indian' accent and behaviour.

In all probability, Singaporean Indians go out of their way to avoid this bunch simply because
they give the rest of us a bad name and reputation, not the other way around. Ms Indranee Rajah shouldn't have brought it up, disconnect is good - for Singaporean Indians. ...

I believe a hornets' nest has been disturbed with this 'revelation'. It will be interesting to watch where we go from here. Hopefully, this will be an exercise where those in authority learn to let sleeping dogs lie and not get Singaporean Indians riled up unnecessarily. We were not waiting by the sidelines for these "God's gifts" to accept us into their folds. They were just another example of necessary evil in our lives and just a minor one in a host of other problems that we have deal with as a community.

Besides, the Ugly Indian is a well-documented phenomenon (Exhibit 1 & Exhibit 2) and one that needs no elaboration. It may very well be time for the Singaporean Indians to brace themselves and be prepared to defend themselves in the coming weeks.

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