White Thrash vs Yellow Junk

With only 2 years in Perth, I know I am not qualified to educate the others but it should be adequate to iron out a few misconceptions. A common folly of a new migrant is to go to a new land with the mindset that people of your same skin colour will give you a helping hand when you need it. Sad to say, that is far from reality. In truth, most members of the yellow skin, even those of your own nationality, will not hesitate to take full advantage of you when you are most vulnerable. Surprisingly I get more leeway dealing with the whites.

I am not trying to put the racism ghost to rest but offering a different perspective about it. Racism exists everywhere, just take a good look at our own backyard. Many Singaporeans do not want to migrate to Australia because we think we will be subjected to racism. I've read similar remarks of different variations from Singaporeans on the net so many times. They all meant the same thing. We have a irrational fear of racism because we live in an environment where we abuse foreigners in our country on regularly basis, in the mind or in whispers if not in open. We call them names. I don't need to spell them out. Sentiments and stereotyping against nationalities used to be a covert hush-hushs because Singaporeans are naturally not used to expressing their real opinions, though we have taken spiteful racist battles to the internet. Perhaps in the near future we will evolve to become the same confrontational racism monsters that we are so afraid of.

We were introduced to a Singaporean landlord sometime back when we were desperately looking for a new place to lease. You would have thought meeting a countryman was lucky because it would tilt their rough tide in your favour for once. You would have think a Singaporean couple with kids would be able to reasonate and be emphatic towards the struggles of a younger couple with a 1 year old baby. No. We didn't get win the lease despite displaying proof of employment and other what-nots. Perhaps we would, if we offered an unethical under-table higher offer than the advertised. Business is business.

When I was still struggling to cope with the culture shock in the earliest days, as evident in the posts at the start of this blog, I couldn't forget how my fears were melted piece by piece after meeting a stranger on the street for offering help in navigation (observing that we looked lost) and friendliness of the people here. If there were disdain towards yellow skinned foreigners like us, they hid their sentiments really well.

A week ago, I was at the packaging warehouse to replenish supplies for the factory. After placing my orders, I pointed at a box of nails and asked the old Aussie guy serving me if they were for sale as I needed some. He laughed and told me actually those were for their own consumption but asked me to help myself to handful. Naturally, I stood frozen like any paiseh Singaporean but he grabbed a generous handful and filled both my hands with nails. I thanked him and felt good. Mind you, I didn't feel happy because I got some freebies. I am no cheapo and my company was the beneficiary, not me. What made my day was the attitude and small talks we had throughout the buying experience. Perhaps you would account that to good customer service or even good luck. Fair enough. At least these are better experiences than patronising oriental stalls supposedly ran by Singaporeans or Malaysians, who don't even bother to greet you so long you flash the right notes and fuck off. 

My boss, who picked and sent me to work everyday after my car accident. He didn't have to, he's only my boss not my friend. You may think he did that because I was an important member of the company. No, he did that again this morning when one of our workers got into a nasty car accident. He also ferried the worker to medical appointments when he had a bad ankle sprain a few weeks before. You could attribute that to a good employer. But during our BBQ sessions, he was often on the pit and served us eggs he cooked personally. He even picked and sent me to work everyday after my car accident last year. He didn't have to, he's only my boss not my friend. I think even professionalism has its limits when it comes to racism.

How about white neighbours coming around the house of the yellow to look at her water pump that stopped working? It happened to a personal friend. Or my ex-supervisor who lent me his guitar unconditionally. Don't get me wrong. I am not sucking white dicks just because I had a few good stories to share. We met our fair share of nasty experiences. In my previous rental places, we got a good telling off a few times because our visitors parked their car right in front of their garage driveway. It was easy to scream racism because the person was white and was being nasty but we were in the wrong. She accepted our cakes as an apology a few days later.

It's not uncommon yellow get all kinds of comments during a shouting match with a white. "Go back to where you come from, yellow," will simply get a return like, "Go back to the hole you came from then, white." No hard feelings. In a dispute, both parties hate so the content of such discussions is  irrelevant and should not be taken too seriously.

What I was trying to convey was that there are good people and bad scums around, regardless of skin colour. The couple who took me in, provided me a hot bath and fed me when I got myself locked out, was Singaporean. So were my second landlord, who was kind enough to let me stay with my newborn until I found a better place. My first landlady was Malaysian and she was as kind as Spring. The Indonesian who taught me a few "life hacks", the Afghani who shares with me cooking tips. There are good yellows among the grouchy, money-faced, conceited, stuck ups and those who think you owe them a living. The same for the whites, really. We are just a pile of thrash in a common bin.


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  2. Hey man, I really really enjoy reading your blog and updates. Could you do a post on the recent "WOO HA" on this http://sg.news.yahoo.com/man-gets-turned-away-from-singapore-day-in-sydney-for-being-caucasian-152736128.html. Really am interested in hearing from your views on this. Cheers.

    1. I am also interested in any results of research on the source of funding (for venue, food, airfares of presenters...) for such overseas events...

  3. You have rightfully pointed many misconceptions about migration to Australia. I am now in my fourth year in WA. Whilst it is still an ongoing a revelation of many discoveries from new experiences with individuals of myraid nationalities, the unpleasant ones that seem to have a hard knock on my paradigm stemmed from the kiasu syndrome in many migrants, particularly in the work place. Hence, the first misconception that Kiasuism is a unique trait of Singaporeans. All people are needy in different ways but I was pretty shocked with the various coping mechanisms could be wilful, hurtful and filled with raw survivor schemes to a fellow being. I was in the countryside in the last few years. The first people who were helpful in helping me to settle in comfortably in leisure and work were the local Aussies. Ironically, migrants of whatever colours are hard to read and form a relationship; the apparent inconsistency in trust and sincerity prevails. An example of this was a family that accosted me, amidst their friendliness and tea, to purchase an insurance policy just so that he would have proof of employment that would support his residency visa application. I had Singaporean friends who rub it in with the reality that Singaporeans can be very naive. Then more truth of a hidden mindset revealed. Why migrate here when Chinese Singaporeans are apparently first class citizens? This is the second hard knock on my sheltered paradigm...Hence the second misconception that there is a genuine sense of racial harmony/equality in Singapore. Now that I have moved up to the city, what I dread most is the standard list of questions that people from Asia; Singapore, Malaysia, wherever... Where do you live, did you buy the house, where do your children study, what do you work as... A bloody dreadful deja vu feeling..., you get responses that knock you on your feet. "Oh, you are from Singapore. You can buy many houses here. Your currency is bigger..." Blah Blah Blah.....I am thankful most Aussies (of whatever colours) who truly embrace the Aussie spirit do not ask me such questions. They know their boundaries, they respect one's privacy. Like one very blunt Aussie who alluded how the Lebanese bring their trash over, I look forward to less of such trying-too-hard and dying-to-compare annoying attitude that people bring along when they emigrate to a new country. Worst of all, after a conversation of such interrogating questions, they become complete strangers in the next occasion. I wish for these people to just get a life having made it here. As for me, I have also learnt that regardless of ehtnicity, we are individuals who are needy and we can help one another wherever possible. We are needy of love, care and support but not more crappy stuff! In conclusion, my best wishes for you and I truly hope we do not bring 'trash' here but continue to make this an awesome place to live in. It is not perfect like everywhere else but we know our children enjoy it here.

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  5. 'Singaporeans are helpful to provide info, but not the helping hand.' - I agree. Say to state, Singaporeans are too into 'there is no free lunch' advocated by our exPM/SM/MM.