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Racism rears its ugly head as Singapore heads back into lockdown (sort of)

Kirsten Han
Kirsten Han
5 min read

Apologies for the very embarrassing typo in last week’s wrap, when I wrote S$11.4 million as S$11.4 billion and made SPH’s media business seem like even more of a disaster than it already is.

It’s been a tough week. My beloved granddad passed away in the early hours of last Saturday morning. He was almost 96 years old. A tribute to the brightest star that shone in my family firmament.


Covid-19 update: No more restaurant dining

From tomorrow, Singapore will be back to almost-"circuit breaker" levels of lockdown. Group gatherings will be limited to two people, and dining in will no longer be allowed at hawker centres and restaurants. Working from home will become the default once more. Schools are still open, but the holidays are coming up soon. Rapid antigen testing will be rolled out for people who have symptoms in an attempt to speed up the detection of Covid-19 cases. Needless to say, it looks like the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble is kaput (for now) once more.

All this is due to the increase in community transmission of Covid-19. There are currently 11 active clusters around Singapore, including at Changi Airport and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. As of yesterday noon, a total of 52 new cases were reported, of which 24 were locally transmitted.

This uptick in cases has brought out the arseholes, as healthcare workers from Tan Tock Seng Hospital report discrimination and shunning. There have also been racist attacks: the police have arrested a Chinese man who allegedly assaulted an Indian woman while she was out brisk walking. Another investigation is ongoing into an Indian Singaporean man who hurled racist abuse at an Indian family.


Do you run a local business? Worrying that you're going to be hit bad by another almost-lockdown? Is there's anything that you'd like to amplify (promos? discount codes? information about delivery? announcements of any sort, within reason?) to help you get through this, We, The Citizens is here to help. Contact me.

Excellent Watch
Excellent Watch, Singapore. 153 likes · 1 talking about this · 9 were here. Authorised retailer Tissot, Seiko, Citizen, Luminox,Calvin Klein, Pierre Balmain Sandoz ,Aries Gold, Bering ,Rthyum clock,...

This week's local business shout-out goes to Excellent Watch, my late grandfather's favourite watch shop, in Peninsula Shopping Centre. Uncle Peter and his family have been great friends to my granddad and our family for many, many years. Like all other local enterprises, they've been hit by the pandemic. If you're thinking of buying a watch, or needing to get a watch fixed, please pay them a visit!


Don't give us that BS, Amy Khor

Here's a little snippet of Amy Khor's comments about passenger safety for migrant workers transported in the backs of lorries: "Every fatality and every injury is one too many and we do want to continue to strive to enhance and preserve the safety of our workers. But this is a multi-faceted issue with many ramifications."

via GIPHY

I believe the official term for such lines of argument is—pardon my French—A Fucking Cop-out. Don't talk to us about the "acute pain" to the industry; what of the acute pain of the families of migrant workers who have died after being transported in such dangerous, dehumanising fashion? If you start with "every fatality and every injury is one too many" then want to follow up with a "but...", then what you mean is that these fatalities and injuries are still not enough for you to make the necessary changes to prevent them.

Also in Parliament, He Ting Ru of the Workers' Party pointed out that Singapore has an addiction to cheap labour, and that it's time "to start looking into the entire way the construction industry is structured".


Got some more...

I haven't forgotten about the ongoing shifts at SPH. Quite the opposite; I've got more to say about it, so will spin it out into a special issue coming your way soon.

The court has ordered M Ravi to pay S$5,000 in costs to the prosecution over a (failed) review application that he'd brought while representing death row inmate Syed Suhail bin Syed Zin pro bono. They also said that they'd found that he'd acted improperly, which could have further repercussions for the human rights lawyer. It's absolutely outrageous that this is what happens to a lawyer who came forward to try save a man's life when no one else would—trust me when I say there are precious few lawyers in Singapore, if any, who would go as far for a death row inmate as M Ravi does. It was this same case that revealed that the prison service has copied and forwarded inmates' correspondence to the prosecution without consent; where are the pronouncements of improper conduct there?

We have new laws that allow frisk searches to be conducted at at bus interchanges and MRT and LRT stations. There were concerns about racial profiling and abuses of power, but Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor said that such searches will only be carried out where there's video surveillance, and female officers will frisk women. Does that reassure you?


Vote for The Pitch!

The Pitch - Unified Filmmakers

The Pitch, a short film directed by Ken Kwek and starring Ivan Heng, Adrian Pang, and Gaurav Kripalani, is up for an award at the United Filmmakers Festival. The film is great fun; click the link above to watch it and vote for them!


Thank you for reading! Feel free to forward this on to anyone you think might be interested. 🙏🏼 Once again, a reminder that becoming a Milo Peng Funder is an awesome thing to do! You can also make a one-off contribution via my Ko-Fi page.

Weekly Wraps

Kirsten Han

A Singaporean independent journalist, activist, and cat slave.