Wow all this for two cents!Red necks in Singapore wrote:Years ago, I was a graduate student in upstate New York and on one of my "Discover the Real America" daytrips, I went to a delightful town called Danville in southern New York, a rather economically depressed corner of rural America. Pretty place with the forested Alleghenies rising gracefully from the river that ran pass the town. Being breakfast time, I entered the nearest cafe.
I went in there with a camera around my neck (this was in the era when American blue collar workers were convinced that America won WWII but lost the economic war to then-still-rising Japan).
From the time I entered the cafe till the time I sat down, (seemed as long as a stroll to a shooting showdown in a Western gunfight scene) all, and I mean all eyes - from about twelve people around four tables - were staring at me. They followed my every step...Their eyes were only averted after I sat down. Then when I ordered Bacon, Eggs and Hash Browns, silence again filled the room and again, all eyes stared daggers and all ears perked up and heard my almost unintelligible order.
Welcome to Redneck country.
Actually, all countries have rednecks and people have a tendency to label boorish behavior under different names. I remember how my European classmates would often called Americans culturally undeveloped and simple minded. How the rest of the World would - when one particularly Aussie talked way too much and started calling Vietnamese, Boat People and Aborigines, Abos - explain his boorish behavior with aspersions to the convict blood of the British rejects that ran through his veins, etc.
Generally, societies rise when cosmopolitanism and acceptance of cultural differences become the norm and fall and descend even to chaos when narrow mindedness, especially that based on culture and race, rule. A few years back, the government recognised this in Singapore and classified our society into two categories:
The Cosmopolitan who recognizes that a small nation like Singapore has to adapt, compete and open up and the Heartlanders (i.e. Ah Bengs and Ah Lians and our closest thing to rednecks) who would not be able to compete in a globalized economy. The aunties are our version of the American mom of redneck kids in country America going for spins in souped out cars and whose World is really very small.
Personally, I think your response from locals to you would depend on which category you have come across. As it was in my case. At university and in the town where I was at, I met the kindest, most intelligent Americans I could ask for. But just an hour's drive away, I met amongst the most hostile.
So the situation is the same everywhere. One wonders whether racism is derived more from a person's inherently felt insecurity (and who knows what that source of insecurity may be as it can be so many) as opposed to color issues. An insecure person can target anyone and everyone and if you are a minority, then it becomes a safe target.
Conclusion? I guess if two cosmopolitan minded people from different corners of the World met, there would be at least a modicum of respect and decency. If two rednecks meet (hehe!)...
So my advice is to ignore the Ah Bengs and Ah Lians, recognize them for who they are and focus on the nice big-hearted Singaporeans that you have / should meet. If all your efforts are fruitless. then I must say that it is either you with the problem (all rednecks see the World with a very narrow field of vision) or Singapore is truly well on its way to fascism. I kind of doubt that we are anywhere on that road so perhaps all one needs to do is be in the right places, at the right time to meet the right people and with the right mind.
Just my two cents worth.
Reely good value