How to be a casual racist in Singapore

It’s lonely living in a bubble. So what better way to quell that loneliness than to teach people the ways of the casual racist? 

This article isn’t to make you into Trump, God knows we don’t need another one of him. Rather, this here is made to help you hone your ignorance and deliver an ever so slight stab of bigotry. As they say, the sharpest tongue delivers the deepest cuts.

1. Add salt to your food choices

Singapore, the land of food. Walk a couple of metres either from work and home and you’ll be greeted by both the glorious scent of spices and meat marrying upon hitting the hot oil, with the alluring pictures of the finished product displayed on the shopfronts beckoning you to join in for a ménage à trois.

So many choices presented onto your lap, it’s almost as if you could eat everything. But wait, you can’t. You’re with your Malay-Muslim colleagues. This is a perfect situation for some classic casual racism.

Make your displeasure known about having your options cut, but finesse is important in separating yourself from a novice to a master. The key to this is delivery and subtlety. Your comment should not have a hint of aggression; more importantly, it needs to sound lackadaisical, almost in a scoffing way. 

Exhibit A: *sighs loudly* “Oh right, we have to look for halal.”

Insert a mention of foods that have to miss out on for good measure. Nothing stings more than making your peers guilty over you missing out on that Roasted Pork Rice.

2. Make it your job to make fun of their race

Casual Racism Black and White

Part of the Singaporean dream is to attain a respectable job title, and not many of us can achieve this.

Some people do manage to beat all the overwhelming odds and get the job of their dreams. But nothing says casual racism like reminding them of the stereotypes of their race.

Great opportunities are presented when meeting new people. As with every conversation upon meeting a stranger, it eventually leads to the career question. That is the time to strike.

Should Mr. or Ms. Minority be working in an office or business environment, your attack should already be prepared. Emphasise on how surprised you are at the job title, and make it known by prolonging and emphasising your amazement, like: “Ohhhh wooooow!” 

While they are on a high, thinking that you are praising them, bring them back to earth. Be free to be creative with the wording, but end with a sentence like this: “That’s rare for (insert race here)”.

Hear that awkward pause? That’s a bullseye baby.

3. (Lexi)Con your way to humiliating your friends

Casual Racism Finger Joke

Singapore is a melting pot of contrasting languages and dialects, so it is common to have a group of friends that speak different languages from one another. English will be the language of preference for the most part, of course, but when there is downtime, that’s when the diverse linguistics come out. Time to turn on the casual racist signal!

Find someone who speaks the same mother tongue as you and concocts a joke. Make sure you whisper it softly to your colour pal, but loud enough for your other friends to hear that it is a different language. Laugh heartily together to attract your prey.

Eventually, you’ll get a tap on your shoulder. Hook, line and sinker. They will obviously ask you what the joke was. As they say, curiosity killed the cat. Give them nothing – and I can’t stress this enough – and mention that it is futile to tell the joke to them because of racial reasons.

“Oh, this is something your race won’t understand.”

Now the jokes’ on them.

Final words of wisdom

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list of being a casual racist. There are differing degrees and permutations based on varying situations around us that present a golden opportunity to showcase your skills. The key is being creative in your invisible insult.

Man, writing this article has made me hungry. I could go for a nice plate of Roasted Pork Rice.

Casual Racsim Roasted Pork Rice

Visuals by Soloman Soh and Charmaine Villamin of the DANAMIC team.

Russell Matthew Loh

Watcher of films and player of games. Dabble with writing in between.

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