A white woman had to appear before the Croydon Magistrates Court yesterday for ranting, “What has this country [the UK] come to?…with loads of black people and a load of f**king Polish”.
Helen Ang gives her take on the recent case of a British woman who was arrested after hurling verbal abuse at ethnic minorities on the tube:
Some of the commentators in this blog have half-jokingly noted that anything they say which implies their Malayness will be used against them to brand them racists. I understand the frustration as DAP is criminalizing those of us who prefer to acknowledge our Chinese and Indian identities too.
This word ‘racist’ is overused, and projecting one’s self as ‘un-racist’ is an overrated virtue.
A mualaf (convert to Islam) once wrote in his Utusan column about how “matanya begitu sepet” ("her eyes are so slanted") referring to me, and saying “kalau tak puas hati bagus balik ke tempat asal-usulmu la” ("if you're not satisfied you should go back where you came from") which makes him no different from Emma West except that the patriotic posturing is kind of wobbly when his own eyes are more sepet than mine.
I don’t lose any sleep if he (that prolific newspaper columnist) or anyone else calls me ‘sepet’. Nor do I believe that the law should be involved when people name call each other by ethnic slurs on our racial features.
However I do believe in social censure-cum-pressure so that the act does not come across as acceptable. It was appropriate that the prime minister’s special officer Nasir Safar, who reportedly uttered the remarks that the Chinese forebears had come to this country as prostitutes and Indians as beggars, resigned his post.
You can’t legislate so that people be forced to like each other through allowing the law to invade every inch of public space — dictating our vocabulary and monitoring our verbal tiffs.
Read more of Helen's thoughts on the matter HERE.