An open conversation on race and racial slurs

This post is an example of how we can have an open dialogue or conversation on race, in which we call out one another and hold one another accountable with regard to racial slurs, while standing together in solidarity to deal with racism as one united people.

LLAG:

Last week, I posted an article about the infamous anti-Asian slur “chink.”

To my surprise, 50% of the folks on this page didn’t even know it was a slur.

“OMG, ‘chink’ is a slur?”
“Wait, are you sure ‘chink’ is racist? I’ve been saying it for years!”
“Oh, please! ‘Chink’ isn’t even that bad!”

Since then, I’ve noticed just how ignorant and racist activists can be towards Asian-Americans — without even realizing it. The subtle xenophobia and back-handed compliments from activists is only getting worse.

I expect it from white supremacists, but I don’t expect this bullshit from activists, especially POC. Shit, I’ve been called everything from “Chinaman” and “chink,” to “yellow bastard” by self-identified “woke POC.”

As an Asian-American activist, the support I receive feels like an exception to the rule. I’m the “cool” Asian who gets it, who deserves respect from non-Asian POC, but the rest of my Asian-Americans don’t deserve equal recognition.

I feel like I’ll never be American enough for non-Asian POC support. And the minute someone disagrees with me, the minute someone finds my arguments or my writing style unsavory, I’m automatically associated with everything racist about Asian culture: the Chinese laundry commercial and Blackface in K-POP. I’m Kim Jong Un, Pearl Harbor, and a Korean Hair Shop, all rolled into one.

Xenophobia’s relationship with anti-Asian racism is rarely talked about in the activist community. No one wants to admit it, but there has always been an attitude of “you Asians came to this country after all of us, so you don’t know what social justice is. Your activism is appropriation.”

The only thing Asian-American activists can do is continue to speak, even if no one wants to listen…

—–

One commenter wrote:

I’m well versed in things that insult people. I have had that racial slur hurled at me by my own family members because of the shape of my eyes and my above average abilities in science, math and art. Because of that, I knew that the c word is an insult. Dehumanizing is the nature of these epithets. The reason, imho, why SJWs seem heavily burdened…is that when we say a sentence we do the work of making sure we don’t step on anyone in order to advance our causes. White supremacists don’t have to do that. They make asinine black and white statements. So, our movements are slow moving and solid.. while white supremacy is dominant but weak. If a SJW was to employ the same tactics as white supremacy…we would defeat out whole purpose. Our growth is slow and painful…conversations like these are VITAL. I don’t subscribe to a ‘privilege in oppression’ as some SJWs do. My oppression is not more valid than yours, but, if you don’t share that I can only feel my own pain and break my own yokes. I appreciate this post because it reminds me that we are a chorusof voices…different tones…different pitches…but our ultimate goal is to harness the energy of all of these voices and create a harmony that breaks the foundation of white supremacy and crumbles the ivory tower to rubble. But, we can’t do that until we loose the shackles in our minds. I understand that I can oppress people. I am careful not to. I will listen and ask questions to banish my ignorance. I hope my fellow SJWs are comitted to doing the same.

Another commenter wrote:

I call disingenuous willfully obtuse bullshit on people not knowing that this is slur. It’s been used in all media and said by well-known people in political power as a targeted insult towards Asian-Americans and Asian in this country. I’m Gen X and my mom is a Baby Boomer and m-fers from those generations and previous ones knew that word was an f-ing slur. So, yeah, I will point blank call anyone a liar to their faces that put on the Scarlett O’Hara act and pretend that they know nothing’ about nothin’. Pretend ignorance of slur doesn’t shield you from catching metaphorical or literal hands.

Another commenter wrote:

There is nothing wrong if you never heard the word chi*k used. I never heard anyone use it too. That is the main reason why I like this site. It allows me to learn about other POC’S plight in america and I love how it intercepts. I really never had any close Asians friends until I met my significant other 2 years ago. I kinda did live in a bubble for most of my life. Obviously, I was always aware about racism. Like I would typically just call my sister or friends about BLM topics or other injustices in America. But this has been the first year I have fully submerged myself to embraced SWJ activist pages.

I stand by LLAG’S post most of the time, but on occasion a topic typically regarding Asian people is posted and I respond and either misunderstood or condemned . In the case of Chin*y eyes I was guilty and took accountability that I used it when I was a teen . Trust me iam not the only person who said it without understanding it was a racial slur and never heard the word chink used especially as a result of my culture, neighborhood, upbringing and exposure to Asian people. I find it problematic that a POC can take accountability on their ignorance and be called a liar, stupid and many other negative comments. Everyone is acting like they never made an ignorant comment against another poc race. Maybe social media is the reason why so many people are aware, but generation x and above for POC did not have these privileges and I find a lot of these comments to be so judgenental, condescending, self righteous which I fear will hurt your message on ending white supremacy. I only share these comments because I deeply care about the work and message you bring to life on this page. I may not have been knowlegable, but iam wise and own up to my mistakes. We all weren’t raised the same, come from all walks if life and neighborhood or exposed to a specific POC or racial slurs

I commented on her comment, saying:

I can relate to this, and it is commendable and courageous of you to be open and honest about your experiences and observations. I believe we all, including myself, have been ignorant in some ways or other. I am a Singaporean Chinese (based on the social identity assigned to me by the society) growing up in Southeast Asia, and have never heard of “chink” or been called a “chink”, so I am also ignorant of this term or its origin and perceived connotation. While I don’t recall using racist terms myself, at least the overt or recognised ones, I was taught by my Indian neighbour to address his elder brother as “ah neh” when I was a young boy more than 30 years ago, which means elder brother in Tamil. Today, I became aware on social media that some Indians find “ah neh” racist and offensive, so I suppose perhaps the meaning of this word has changed or evolved, depending on how people use it and how the recipients receive it, and so on. I think it depends on who says the word, and how it is said, and so on. I am coming to realise that some words such as “ah neh” might have been used as terms of endearment or neutral ways of addressing others in the past, but are now used in a derogatory way by some other people, so it is understandable when those on the receiving end of the intended racial slurs want to vent about it, which invariably may make those who are ignorant of the implications of these terms feel uncomfortable and guilty and condemned, especially if we have used them before without knowing these terms are considered racist. Like you said, those comments that come across judgemental, condescending and self righteous may hurt LLAG’s message on ending white supremacy. Indeed, I think having such open dialogues is helpful, when we own up to our mistakes and give grace to each other instead of judging and condemning like some comments here, as it brings about greater awareness and understanding among one another, so that we can continue to hold ourselves and one another in accountability and stand in solidarity together in our advocacy for racial harmony and equality. May we all continue to stand united in our struggle for a better and more equitable world.

She replied to my comment, saying:

Thank you! I truly don’t take offense to anyone and hold no grudges. Life is too short and I rather empathize/love POC when I disagree with them. In all honesty, I love this page, the message, how much I have learned, grown, the solidarity amongst all POC is so beautiful. I think it is ok to sometime disagree, but why be so critical of other POC, especially when they admit to their transgressions.. Together in numbers we are much stronger and white supremacy wants to divide all poc. The reason why I had the urge to to share with so much conviction is because I believe in the message LLAG is spreading and admire his work dearly even if i might be called stupid, a fraud or dishonest. In many shape and form we all fall short to ignorance, like this case for me, for you the Indian word and for others it might be something else. But one of the best measure to eradicated white supremacy and call out our ignorance is accountability. Thank you for sharing I truly appreciated your sentiment as it aligns with mines.

Someone else commented:

I can only guess that people didn’t know that was a slur because, they are ‘woke’ when it comes to their own oppression and marginalization. Further, some ‘woke’ folks, as it has been said, are transphobic, queer-antagonistic, misogynior, misognistic, and bigotted themselves. It’s like if they don’t experience the oppression themselves then, it’s not a thing. Sound familiar? My being aware of how things systematically affect me, helps me understand how things MIGHT affect other groups of people. However, I have learned that different things affect people in different ways, so I have to listen to their experiences and don’t discount them. It’s what I want, just to be heard. For me, my pain from systematic oppression is not greater than anyone’s, I just feel like I can relate to another’s struggle. However, their struggle is their own, just as mine is my own. Maybe we can get together and walk a little ways a bit. One of the great things about the activist community is that we have used the term POC as a signifier of shared struggle. One of the bad things about using the term ‘POC’ is that there is some erasure. I realized that within the activist community I as an African American POC have privilege because black issues and how they impact the black community are the ones that are the most talked about. Often to the detriment of other POC communities. I try to either talk about those other issues affecting other POC communities or at least bring attention to them. However, I’m also conscious of staying in my line and not talking over people in that group. And just repeat those things that were told to me by members of that group. We, as African Americans, have a duty to help out other marginalized groups and give them space to talk. Activism is NOT a zero sum game. Helping another group with their issue will not set us back at all. Trust, we’ve been at it for at least a good 400 years. I am NOT woke. I’m not claiming that at all. I’m still learning, and getting things, learning how to stay in my lane, learning about nationalism, xenophobia, and how this stuff affects dark skinned Muslims from certain places and learning stuff. I’ve been called out on stuff lately, and instead of fighting against it, I just admitted I was wrong and learned from it. I think we have to help out our fellow people in the activist community, be conscious of how we sometimes erase others identity, give each other space, use our privilege, and listen to each other. Also admit when we are freaking wrong, don’t be afraid of being called out. That’s how we learn. Say thank you, and move on.

Being an activist doesn’t necessarily mean you’re conscious. For example, you may be well versed on women’s rights, but clueless on racial inequality. When your ignorance is called out, don’t get defensive. Learn from it and move on.

How in the world are people using that and not knowing it’s a slur? It even sounds like one! If the word is used to describe a race of people and it’s not used on government surveys, then there is a good chance that it’s a slur. Maybe growing up in the south gave me good exposure to racist crap so I would know not to repeat it. Asians have been here long enough for most Americans to know better. Especially now since you can literally google a list of racial slurs and which group it is used against.

So what I learned growing up some Jamaicans would refer to Chinese people as Ms. Chin or Mr. Chin in the marketplace in Jamaica short for Ms. China. Jamaica has a huge population of Chinese Jamaicans. I don’t think POC realized that the message could be or possibly is construed as racist.

I never heard these term, but most likely heard about the eyes comnents from a the Jamaican community. I like to also say Haitians directly call fair skin haitians grimo or grimelle. It means light skin male or light skin woman. However these words in Creole are not offensive to blacks in Haiti.

 

Connecting and reconnecting with ourselves and Nature

Why would people, especially in the comfy privileged world, want to scare themselves out of the wits by watching thrillers or horror movies and throwing money at the movie makers who are probably just out to make profits off people’s discomfort?

I suppose the more privilege and comfort people have, the more they feel bored and disconnected with themselves and with Nature, so they get restless and start imagining things or try to silence the discomfort by seeking stimulating happenings just to get a thrill out of it – anything to distract themselves from themselves.

Conversely, if we are busy trying to deal with oppression and stay alive and well, or if we practise being connected to who we really are and to the Universe, we will see no need for any kind of outward excitement to occupy ourselves or keep ourselves preoccupied – we simply live and be our highest self.

On the racist nature of the term “expat”

I have read the article “Let’s Kill Off ‘Expat'”, and it is kind of refreshing to read about how a white person has become socially and racially aware to the point that she readily admits and acknowledges her own white privilege and is willing to do something about it by raising awareness and encouraging others to not perpetuate white privilegeness or to not contribute to the institutional racism that is often associated with the word “expat”.

It reminds me of a similar article “Why are White People Expats when the Rest of Us are Immigrants”, in which Mawuna advocates his readers to call white people immigrants like everyone else, instead of expats. Like he said, “the political deconstruction of this outdated worldview must continue”. Yes, I think either we all use expats to describe highly skilled or highly paid workers regardless of their skin colours or races or nationalities, or we don’t use the term at all in our endeavour to promote the universal truth that we all are equal.

Nothing really makes sense

Cycling through Defu industrial estate near Paya Lebar airport wasn’t quite a pleasant experience. The air was polluted, and heavy vehicles passing by stirred up dust. It makes no sense to differentiate human and natural environment because it is all a mess of buildings and industries and vehicles anyway, and the reality can be anywhere in between the two polarities. How can we put up with living in such a pollutive environment in the name of “development”?

I see nothing wrong with being emotive about the loss or disturbance of natural primary rainforest. It is a primal cry from our heart that remains deeply connected to Mother Nature. Materialism, capitalism and consumerism have unfortunately caused many of us to repress our soul and feel disconnected from Nature…

Cemerong waterfall – a miraculous journey

map 1map 2

Cemerong Waterfall.

These two words appear innocuous when I first came across the name of the waterfall in a local hiking group website. I have never been to this waterfall until October 2014, and I got more than I bargained for from this hiking trip in Terengganu, Peninsular Malaysia.

IMG_9999 waterfall from afar
This is how the waterfall looks like from afar – a thin vertical line dissecting the mountainside. Our hiking guide said that during rainy seasons, the line would be more prominent, as the volume of water thundering down the slope would be much greater.

It turned out to be an intense hiking experience as we trekked through the treacherous rainforest and river crossings to the Cemerong waterfall and back to the base camp. The hike up towards the summit through the jungle started well at first, though we soon found it tiring and tricky to navigate the steeper slopes along the narrow trails that were criss-crossed with tree roots. Upon finally reaching near the summit around early afternoon, we stopped to rest and eat lunch and watch with admiration at close quarters how the waterfall flows from the top down the mountainside. Just as we started to pack up and head back, it began to rain torrentially, and the already slippery moss-covered or algae-covered ground became even more challenging. We were glad to have brought along gloves and raincoats or ponchos, which were perfect for such wet weather conditions. Our progress slowed to a crawl on many parts of the track as we had to gingerly take one step at a time, so as not to trip over the protruding tree roots and lose our balance, especially when we were climbing up or down steep slopes. It was also a wonder how we made it across the river (with the help of ropes) back to the other side, as the river had become swollen from the rain and the water level came up to around knee level at some points during our crossing.

Before long, it became dark in the dense forest as night fell, and we were still some unknown distance from the base camp. The trails weren’t always obvious or well marked, and we decided to put our whistles and torch lights or headlamps to good use. At some points, some of us were lagging behind, and if not for the whistles, we probably would have lost contact with one another in the shroud of darkness in the forest. Strange sounds from nocturnal creatures in the rainforest began to ring out in the silent air from time to time, adding to the whole surrealistic atmosphere. We summoned every last reserve of our energy to persevere throughout the journey and kept going forward, and it was only when we finally reached the stony main path that leads to the base camp that we collectively breathed a sigh of relief.

 

Identity and consciousness

I am, and I am not.

If I declare “I am”, then I am also declaring “I am not” at the same time.

If I say that I am something, then I am also saying that I am not something else. This is duality as I understand it. But there is also non-duality. I would like to propose that there is a tension and balance between duality and non-duality.

For example, from a dualistic perspective, I can choose to say that I am a Chinese by race, which is one of the artificial social constructs we often use in a societal system to label ourselves and others. So, if I say I am a Chinese, that means I am also saying that I am not a non-Chinese; that is, I am not Malay, Indian, and so on. Similarly, from the same perspective, if I say that I am a male, by virtue of the fact that I am born with masculine characteristics, I am also saying that I am not a female, or androgynous for that matter, if I were to subscribe to cis-genderism. For some reasons, I was born in this human body that is considered “male” and recognised by the society as “Chinese”, which I have no control over. Whether this social identity is considered “privileged” depends on whether I was born into a society that is patriarchal, or a society that is dominated by a certain majority race, and so on.

At the same time, from a non-dualistic perspective, I can say that I am neither this nor that. That is to say, I am – in essence – neither Chinese nor non-Chinese, and I am neither male nor female. This is because before I came into existence as a human being on planet earth in this time and space, I am that which is raceless, genderless, timeless and formless, who came from an unknown, mysterious realm.

I suppose the challenge for me is: how do I balance between the two “polarities” as I try to make sense of my existence on this earthly realm? How do I consciously use my multifaceted identities to effect change and make the world a better, more humane and more equitable place?

Immigration and border imperialism

I came across this video on Facebook, and decided to comment as follows:

Isn’t it true that the Europeans were responsible for migrating to America and colonising it at the expense of indigenous American Indians resulting in their genocide and at the expense of the black community who bore the ignominy of slavery? How convenient and supremacist of the European descendants to claim ownership of the land and deny other immigrants the chance to migrate to America using their own discriminatory laws as a pretext to protect their privilege. What makes these white Americans think they are superior or have more rights than others?

Someone responded:

#1. Indigenous means that something occurs in a place originally. That it did not migrate or emigrate from somewhere else. Ex. Corn and potatoes are indigenous to the Americas; rice is not because it originated in Asia.

#2. The term Native American is a misnomer. The peoples known today as Native American came here from Northeast Asia over a land bridge that was where the Bering Straight is today. The land bridge became submerged some 12,000 years ago. The genetic link between ancient Asians and ancient people in America has been proven through the DNA testing of the Clovis baby and the oldest human Asian remains.

#3. The Native Americans of the 1400s and 1500s had no knowledge of the existence of counties or the concept of landownership and borders

There were no states or countries in the Americas at that time. There were cities in Central and South America but not in what became the USA and Canada. Hence, there were no immigration laws. In effect, America belonged to nobody. People inhabited the land but did not own it until Europeans brought that concept with them. In effect, the land was up for grabs.

Until their hunting grounds and way of life was threatened, the Indians felt there was plenty of land for everyone. The Europeans got greedy with their need to own and control everything around them. That’s when the trouble started. The United States did not have immigration laws as we know them until the 19th century.

As our population grew, the US citizens saw the need to regulate the new immigrants. We decided to be like all other countries so adopted immigration laws to control who could come in and for how long. We didn’t want criminals or immoral people. Nor did we want the ill, infirm or indigent. Most countries in the world have changed hands over and over throughout history. Many countries have disputed borders to this day. Still they have immigration laws that are respected by other countries. Why should America not expect the same respect for our immigration laws?

It seems to be a reasonable comment with a sincere question at the end, so I decided to respond in kind, after doing a bit of research and support my opinions with facts.

All immigration laws need to be reformed, if not abolished altogether. Border imperialism only serves to perpetuate greed and tribalism, and cause displacement and oppression for those subject to imperialism. Humanity is ever evolving, and it is time we evolve past tribalism and imaginary borders.

If we were to apply the same standards of immigration laws in America today in the days of Christopher Columbus, he would be the first criminal and “illegal immigrant” to be deported back to Europe, instead of being celebrated as America’s “founder”.

“Columbus’ acts of cruelty were so unspeakable and so legendary – even in his own day – that Governor Francisco De Bobadilla arrested Columbus and his two brothers, slapped them into chains, and shipped them off to Spain to answer for their crimes against the Arawaks. But the King and Queen of Spain, their treasury filling up with gold, pardoned Columbus and let him go free.”
http://www.manataka.org/page2777.html

There were no immigration laws before Christopher Columbus stumbled upon America because the native Americans were so kind as to share land and resources with fellow human beings. In fact, Columbus “noted that the gentle Arawaks were remarkable for their hospitality. “They offered to share with anyone and when you ask for something, they never say no,” he said. The Arawaks had no weapons; their society had neither criminals, prisons nor prisoners. They were so kindhearted that Columbus noted in his diary that on the day the Santa Maria was shipwrecked, the Arawaks labored for hours to save his crew and cargo. The native people were so honest that not one thing was missing.”

The native American Indians were far more evolved than most other peoples, in their very humanity. We would do well to emulate them and learn to share land and resources with one another and treat one another as brothers and sisters, regardless of differences in artificial group identities such as race, nationality and so on.

Another person responded:

Good grief Jimmy Tan- you are talking ancient history. Step into the current crap that’s happening…far worse than ever before. If you don’t like it here or if we are being so unfair to you, you have the option to go to your favorite country! Isn’t that amazing!

To this comment, I replied:

Oh yes, it’s amazing how violence and oppression are increasing due to border imperialism. Privilege blinds us to the pain and sufferings that the displaced and discriminated, predominantly made up of brown and black people, are dealing with. Watch the video above and learn how 492 Tamil refugees, including young children, landed on the shores of Canada in 2010 and were incarcerated for the “crime” of migrating to seek a better life and were labelled as “terrorists”. It is ironic how white privileged people tell others to not come to America “illegally” while they have no qualms invading other nations in Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas, and steal their land and resources and subjugate the indigenous people.

My answers to a survey on Singapore’s foreign workforce

Q: What are your opinions on issues related to the foreign workforce?

I support having more foreign workforce to contribute to the economy and build infrastructure. It gives them opportunities to visit and stay in Singapore for a longer term if they want to. I hope working conditions and basic human rights will be further improved for the foreign workforce because they deserve fair treatment as much as anyone else, regardless of social status, income level or nationality. Meritocracy and capitalism cannot be used as justification for perpetuating inequality and discrimination. We must never lose our humanity because we ourselves were once immigrants based on our ancestral history.

Q: What is your opinion on local-foreigner relations?

Locals must learn to co-exist in harmony with foreigners and accept and embrace differences in cultures, mindsets, appearances and so on. Racism must be discussed openly, as uncomfortable as it may be. Contrary to unfounded fears, having open conversations won’t lead to greater divisions because it is through such conversations that we increase awareness of how we may have inherited racial prejudices and negative stereotypes from the media, peers and so on, and how we can be more mindful of our attitudes towards them, such as not using racial slurs or making racist jokes. We need to learn to cultivate self-respect in order to respect others who are different from us.

Q: What should policymakers consider for foreign workforce policies?

Continue to encourage foreign workers to come and work in Singapore. Increase the quota of foreign workers in companies and businesses. Make sure they are treated fairly and equally by their employers, regardless of which countries they come from. They are our valued guests Treat them as you would like to be treated when you are a guest working and living in a host country.

Q: What do you think of the policies on the foreign workforce?

Allow flat owners to sublet their rooms for a minimum period of 1 month instead of 6 months to ease the problem or difficulty of foreign workers finding suitable accommodations. To ease traffic congestion, make existing infrastructure safer and more conducive for walking and cycling. Set aside dedicated cycling lanes on roads wherever possible to encourage more locals and foreign workers alike to cycle. Cycling helps ease cost of transportation for the commuters, and is environmentally friendly too.

My answers to a survey on Singapore’s fertility issues

Q: What are your opinions on fertility issues?

The issues are personal but have local and global impacts. By that, I mean ultimately a couple’s choice of whether to have children needs to be respected and can neither be coerced nor manipulated, although education can serve to help them make an informed decision.

Conscious parenting and living is the way to go. Our focus should be on making every life counts and imparts life values of compassion and empathy to each child rather than wanting to have more children solely for taking care of the ageing population and for being indoctrinated to serve the wage slavery and consumerist system that perpetuates inequality, environmental degradation and unsustainable development.

A paradigm shift is needed, and the destructive and oppressive monetary and capitalistic system and mindset need to be dismantled and replaced or reformed.

Q: What should policymakers consider for fertility policies?

Respect people’s personal decisions and accept marriage equality and diversity. Do not allow religious fundamentalism and dogmatism to impose on others when making and implementing fertility policies.

Cost of living is still too high for lower and middle income groups of people to ever consider having children or more children. Housing prices need further reduction, and bonuses can be given to married couples every year to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

 

 

 

Cycling is political

Cycling in Bukit Batok nature park
© Photographer: Jimmytst | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Cycling is itself political, and it would be futile to separate cycling from politics. The act of cycling itself is a political statement. Whenever we choose to ride a bicycle, we are challenging the status quo of the power structure in the society that favours the rich, powerful and privileged people who predominantly drive cars. We are subverting the classist system that treats cars as status symbols. We are helping to reduce the impacts of environmental degradation caused by pollutive motor vehicles run on fossil fuels. By switching from travelling by motor vehicles to bicycles, we are also easing traffic congestion on the roads. Last but not least, cycling empowers the marginalised and disadvantaged, and restores equality to them.

Then again, I am coming to realise that the moment I become more actively involved in politics, I begin to experience pushback in the form of repression and dissenting voices from some people. For example, last night when I shared a photo of a fellow countryman riding a bicycle in Love Cycling SG Facebook group and commented that he was living by example, the group admin deleted the photo. I decided to post a question in the group to ask the admin why the photo was removed. The admin deleted that post as well without explanation. This gave me the impression that the admin wasn’t interested in dialogues and was unwilling to be held accountable for their actions. I decided to post one final time to call them out for being discriminatory.

I also decided to leave the group with my dignity intact (remembering the importance about being true to myself and not succumb to groupism). I am in the process of working through my thoughts and emotions based on the responses to my post by articulating them in this blog:

If I didn’t challenge the admin like this and let things slide, the discrimination would continue. The fact that photos of ruling party members riding bicycles are allowed but not other party members shows this group is indeed partisan and discriminatory. It smacks of hypocrisy.

This episode underlines a fear-based climate and controlling culture that inhibits free speech and expression of our fundamental human rights. It keeps people repressed, small-minded and immature. I refuse to allow myself to be intimidated or humiliated or talked down at. I am hurt and disgusted by their treatment. I need strong and forceful language to speak my cause. The fact that admin initially refused to respond to my post shows they were not willing to be accountable for their actions. It reminds me of the same way a former prime minister depended on his lawyer to defend him when another politician confronted him directly in the law court.

I chose to leave the group with my dignity intact. If anyone is inspired, it is to encourage them that they too can stand their ground and let their voices be heard for the sake of justice and equality.

So the admin finally replied, saying the photo was linked to SDP Facebook page, and was deemed “political”.

Firstly, why didn’t he clarify earlier? He could have chosen to reply my question in my earlier post instead of removing it without explanation. Why wait until I challenged his action publicly and called out on the apparent discrimination and lack of transparency and accountability?

Secondly, does the link itself denote a infringement of the rules regarding “no political statements”? If so, then I would say it is double standard on the part of the admin because they have allowed photos of politicians from the ruling party to be posted in the past. In any case, the reason the link of SDP Facebook page was shown together with the photo I posted is because the photo doesn’t belong to me, and when I shared it via Facebook, the link was automatically shown. If I were to save the photo in my computer and upload it onto the Facebook group, I would have to acknowledge the source, and SDP Facebook page would still need to be mentioned.

The point I want to make is that the link of SDP Facebook page alone doesn’t necessarily constitute an infringement of the rules, or else the rules would have applied to all other political parties in the past.

In reality, cycling and politics invariably overlap because it is through politics that policies are formed and mindsets are shaped to influence the cycling culture in Singapore, for better or for worse, depending on how we live by example through our cycling activities and conversations, as well as our interactions with pedestrians and motorists.

At this point, I am glad to have removed myself from the group as it might not be worthwhile getting into a debate with them, and this blog can serve as a platform for my voice to be heard. At the very least, I am glad the status quo in that group is being challenged and political awareness about justice and equality is being increased, I believe.