Sorry guys, I just need to rant. You can read the original post that showed up on my news feed by clicking the screenshots I took. I don't personally know the guy who wrote it, but assume he must be a friend of a friend for it to show up on my Facebook feed.
Reposting what I wrote on Jiahao's timeline here:
The sentiment's there, but the guy has some inherent prejudices and paints people with broad strokes. I especially resent the part about people from southern Taiwan being called dumb hicks. Just because he's lived in several countries for a couple years each doesn't make him an expert in their culture.
There is also the flip side of the coin, where "foreigners" are still regarded with a bit of awe and fawning by some parts of the Singaporean community. Just because they are foreigners. People falling into this group may also fall into the xenophobic group. Too many intricacies and factors including culture, government, and social norms to consider when it comes to people's reactions and their so-called xenophobic views. You really can't simplify it the way the guy did, and then throw in a bunch of swear words to make a point.
I think the guy who wrote it was quite upset and in the moment, and came across as a condescending little shit. I'm sure he's a nice guy, or else he wouldn't have 890 people on Facebook that call him a friend.
A lot of the examples cited in his rant are merely just glimpses of a bigger picture. I hope that for those who have never been, lived or heard about Taiwan, Denmark, America and Singapore will take the views of the author into consideration but not form an opinion of these countries based purely on the examples given.
Each country will have moments of glory alongside shameful secrets and mistakes. Learning to appreciate the good in one's surroundings whilst trying to minimize the bad is probably a bit more helpful for everyone instead of dissing things one doesn't like. How can you label a country as one that "doesn't work".. what is your criteria? How come America isn't also labelled as a country that "doesn't work" with all the violence we see in the news, the ruckus over Obamacare and the partial government shut-down?
Now, onwards with Denmark. I think that everyone is a little bit racist (thank you, Avenue Q) in one way or another. Just because a city, a town or a country is less diverse than another does not immediately make it the fault of that particular place. There are probably geographical factors, amongst others, that have caused places to feel more "insular" than others. That doesn't make it a good or bad thing. It just is. Some people prefer that, others don't. Drawing the conclusion that a country lacks immigrant culture because the most popular dish is egg with curry powder is frankly bewildering. Isn't that just local preference? Like how a lot of Americans prefer fried rice (or plain) with soy sauce, but a lot of Chinese would be horrified if offered the same dish? Does that mean I can conclude that America is insular because rice with soy sauce is more popular than rice with a more traditional Chinese condiment.. like let's say, salted duck egg?
And then, there's America. Yet another sweeping generalization based on a tertiary-educational experience. I guess I could say the same about Singapore's secondary and junior college experience. Being surrounded by robots who plough through ten-year series and memorize model answers and then generalize that the whole education system in Singapore unfortunately, does not "fucking [work] man. Really."
I think that every country goes through phases where they can be called xenophobic to a certain extent. I think a lot of complicated factors come into play for these sentiments to surface. America went through several of these phases with regards to the Japanese (or any Asian immigrant really) immigrants "stealing" jobs. Americans are still up in arms over immigrants "stealing" jobs, even in 2013.
I find it odd that this wasn't mentioned in the rant. That despite implying that people who go to Ivy League schools are "fucktards" and that the author's like the Sheldon Cooper of Harvard, there is a whiff of reverence or adulation of America and its culture. America apparently is "synonymous with life".. I'm sorry. Not mine. Probably not yours either. Else you would have moved there ages ago. Because everywhere else is worth less. Yes, Singapore too as implied. Yet, ironic that the author declares a fierce pride in being a Singaporean. Very confusing. I must be one of those "fucktards" he was talking about to not understand all this.
Like I said, I hope that people heartily agreeing with the guy have, or will get the chance to experience the countries and cultures mentioned in the Facebook rant for themselves. It would be a shame to form opinions based on the piece, build up national pride as a Singaporean, look down upon other cultures that aren't American and then attempt to accept foreigners with open arms into Singaporean culture.