Sure, a bunch of people taking off their shoes while on the train is quite unhygienic but did Singaporeans really have to blame the act on their nationality?
Well, this is what went down on the Facebook page of All Singapore Stuff (the de facto aggregator of complaints by Singaporeans) as a bunch of Singaporeans decided that the people who took off their shoes were born in India and somehow, that was the reason they did that.
A reader of the page contributed a photo which was published on the page on Saturday, showing a group of Indians sitting on what appears to be a train carriage that is used to ply the North-East Line in Singapore.
The group is mostly barefoot in the photo and one man is clearly seen rubbing his feet openly in public with his shoes just right in front of him.
“These MRT passengers were super inconsider (sic), once they sat down they started taking off their shoes and airing their feet,” said the reader in the post on All Singapore Stuff. “Their feets (sic) were smelly and stunk up the cabin.”
Clearly, no one loves smelling other people’s feet (unless that’s a fetish of yours in which, hey, you do you) especially when it is in public and on the train for goodness sake.
It should have stopped there. We should have seen the post, taken the lesson not to air your toe jam in public, and left it at that.
But, noooooo. Singaporeans went full-on offense and started doing what Singaporeans love doing best: blame everything on a person’s supposed nationality, even if we have no idea if these people are Singapore-born Indians or India-born Indians.
Some commenters picked up on these remarks, calling them out for being racist and xenophobic.
Despite their best efforts, these comments mostly fell on deaf ears with one commenter responding by saying that “there always has to be something or someone to blame”.
If there is one thing we know about Singapore, it’s that xenophobia has been on the rise since a statement was issued in 2014 by human rights groups documenting this happening.
This also isn’t the first time All Singapore Stuff commenters have shown their erm, lack of intellect. An alarming amount of people had no issues over a neo-Nazi tattoo being shown in public in Singapore, despite the horrors that the genocide brought to the world.
At the very least, the All Singapore Stuff Facebook page did the right thing in reinforcing that the message was about the conduct and not the nationality.
“The main message is to be considerate to others and not who they are and where they may come from,” the page’s administrator wrote on their Facebook post.
So, lesson learned: people may do stupid shit, but don’t respond with stupid shit too.