After the first letter gets published, I am 70% more confident in my ability to bypass ST Forum’s ‘stringent’ vetting process. Let’s put it this way: we are lucky that the same people who moderate the forum do not handle our national security.
Instead of taking the humourous route for the next letter, I choose to go with an earnest tone. It is the most politically correct and boring thing I’ve written.
It gets published.
8 May 2018: “Discussing Cultural Appropriation Can Teach Us Empathy”
I commend the recent analysis on the issue of cultural appropriation surrounding the US teen who wore a qipao to her prom (Why some are offended over qipao prom dress; May 5).
Interestingly, netizens from China support the girl’s decision to wear their cultural costume to prom, while Chinese Americans took issue with it.
Following the hoo-ha, I remember reading a Facebook comment from a Singaporean Chinese friend: “The way China reacted is the way it should be. We must prevent ourselves from being victims of the political correctness that has plagued the US.”
As a fellow Singaporean Chinese person, I am unsurprised at this reaction. We regard the teenager’s use of the qipao as culture appreciation instead of appropriation, because it’s easy for us to take this perspective when we make up the majority race in our country. We are not discriminated against, and so we find it difficult to empathise with those who have been and still are.
On the other hand, Asian Americans were offended by the girl’s dress because their culture was always mocked while they were growing up in America as a minority. As someone who has no idea how it feels to be a minority, it’s not my place to tell them that their feelings don’t matter or that they’re being too sensitive.
Instead, this entire issue has taught me to empathise with minorities in Singapore. They go through experiences unique to their position in society. If we aspire to be a better society, it is imperative that we listen when they speak.
I hope that teachers and parents will also use this instance to educate the younger generation on racial harmony and its nuances.
Michelle Lee Wei Yit
More Info: ricemedia.co