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Xenophobic Singapore

July 28th, 2012

August 9th is Singapore National day. Combine that with the generally increasing level of xenophobia (xenophobia has gone from a joke to a serious national issue in the time I’ve been here) and a crazy law and you get this:

The reader said, “I was shocked this morning to see among all the flags celebrating our National Day, this British flag hanging out at a condo at 99 Jervois Road.”

He added, “Is the owner of the apartment trying to be funny? If this person is not Singaporean, he or she should show more respect (to Singapore).”

from British flag found displaying at Casa Jervois Condo [tremeritus.com].

The article then goes on to note that it is most likely illegal to display a flag this way; based on a law called the National Emblems (Control of Display) Act [statues.agc.gov.sg]. (interestingly my reading of the statue is that displaying any flag, foreign or Singaporean, would be illegal…).

But the most interesting part of all this are some of the comments on the article. The one that makes the most sense to me:

…If overseas Singaporeans decide to display the Singapore flag to celebrate National Day or to celebrate other national achievements and festivals, I doubt that the citizens of their host countries would complain about the display of the Singapore flag.

Big Yawn [tremeritus.com]

But Big Yawn is the exception, this seems to be more the consensus view:

…displaying their OWN country’s fla[g] is BLATANT disrespect to your host…

I am DAFT so WHAT ! [tremeritus.com]

This is an incomprehensible view to me; given that in America people can, and most certainly do display the flags of their nation of birth, even if they have become US Citizens. Many people even love to display the flags of their parents or grand-parents birth country that they may have never been to, everywhere and anywhere they can, from bumper stickers to cloths. The US is, like Singapore, a nation of immigrants and the US is currently in a deep xenophobic state over the more recent large-scale immigration from central and south america, but no one would arrest a legal immigrant for displaying the flag of his birth nation. We are a nation of Mexican-Americans, Irish-Americans, Polish-Americans, German-Americans, African-Americas and numerous others. You don’t have to forget where you came from to appreciate where you are.

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