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LinkAsia | Jun 28
Forest fires set off by farmers in Indonesia have created record-setting pollution in Singapore and Malaysia, creating a tense series of finger-poi...
Over in Singapore, anti-immigrant sentiments are on the rise in blogs, social media, and even comments on traditional media sites. What sparked the controversy? A pot of curry. Here's our contributor Trinh Hoang Ly.
Trinh Hoang Ly:
Curry takes various forms in Singapore, with all the country's major ethnic groups, the Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians, making their own versions of it, which explains the reaction after the local Today paper carried a brief report about an immigrant Chinese family complaining about curry smells wafting in from their Indian neighbor's apartment. Readers were incensed that the Singapore family appeared to give in to their neighbors by agreeing to cook curry only when the Chinese family was not at home. Since publication, 36 pages of comments, mostly critical of the immigrant family or of immigrants in general, have been posted below the original article on Today's website. As one reader called Darthrennis said: "If Singapore is so unacceptable to them, please leave. I'm Chinese, and I super love curry." The incident has since spawned a Facebook event called "Cook and Share a Pot of Curry." Over 60,000 pledged to cook their pot of curry one Sunday last month. On the Temasek Review, a local online socio-political blog, one netizen even penned a poem to criticize not just the family, but the Prime Minister and the government. Don Key wrote: "So, to cook curry I must look out/And make sure next door Ah Tiong is out/I want to know where my freedom is/Is this my country or is this his?" This was not the first time that such sentiments have run so high in a country that usually prides itself for being a melting pot of ethnic and religious diversity. Last May's general elections also saw netizens posting similar comments and attacking the government's policy on immigration. On a popular online forum, hardwarezone.com.sg, one comment reads, "I'm strongly against the foreign trash policy. You can forget about my vote." Dismissing the government's view that Singapore needs foreign talent, another post read, "Those trash that can't survive in their own country will come over and only we treasure trash." While the uproar over the curry incident will die down, it's not clear that the anti-foreign sentiment will. This is Trinh Hoang Ly in Singapore.
Hoang Ly is a journalism student at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University.