Category: Nationally Speaking

Nationally Speaking: Race, as told by an Indian Immigrant

By Zara Karimi (18A01A)


I remember primary school and its illustrations of Indians in social studies and health education books. I remember advertisements featuring at least one member of every race at bus stops and community centres. I remember secondary school Racial Harmony Day celebrations where my schoolmates dressed up in black t-shirts, sari fabric draped haphazardly, bindis on their foreheads. They would take pictures while doing yoga poses. I would come across their posts on Instagram, and wonder – why was it that the idea of ‘Indianness’ my peers and society held was so different from what I, an Indian, actually experienced?

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Migrant Investigations

By Noor Adilah (17S06B)

Migration is fuelled by the basic desire to improve the human condition. Migration has shaped human history since our ancestors first learned to put one foot in front of the other. Entire countries, like Singapore, were built on the backs of migrants and travellers. It continues to shape our city in immeasurable ways.

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#sglitftw: Support Your Local Authors

By Joan Ang (17A01B) and Ernest Lee (17A01A)

It is a common practice in any vaguely literature-related classroom to, during introductions, go around the room and say a few things: firstly, your name, and secondly, your favourite book. There’s usually a bit of uncomfortable shuffling, and people nudging the person on their left to say something to break the silence. A few big names are then thrown out—J.K. Rowling, Haruki Murakami. At least two people say “I don’t have a favourite book,” followed immediately by nervous laughter.

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Blackface: The Burden of the Brutalised

By Sabariesh Ilankathir (17A13A)

As many may have heard, Mediacorp’s streaming service, Toggle, recently released a controversial episode of “I want to be a Star”. The show itself is about calefares, bit-actors and the popular narrative of small-time actors trying to make it big. In episode 6, Shane Pow, an actor on the show, wore blackface makeup to stand in for his Indian colleague, who was meant to play an African-American character. Yes, it is still 2016, and we haven’t magically time travelled to a period when this would have been considered humour. Yes, blackface. Oh yes, you didn’t read it wrongly, they wanted an Indian actor to portray an African-American character. This continues to baffle me even though it’s been weeks since the incident came to light.

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