I need to report a very vicious incident of racism I encountered today because it is so unlike anything I have experienced living in Singapore.
I went for lunch today at a new Japanese tempura restaurant that I saw on Daniel Food Diary. (I love that blog!) I arrived about 20 minutes early and was the first person in the queue. Soon, 8 or 10 others joined me. A few minutes before the restaurant opened, a man and a woman arrived together and cut in front of everyone queueing. I kindly informed the gentleman that there was quite a long queue already. He said, “So? How the hell was I supposed to know that?” I said, “Well, sir, you could look behind you and see all of us standing here waiting.”
That’s when things got nasty.
He started on a vicious, racist diatribe. He said, “Why are you even here, Ang Mo? You should go back to your country! Or maybe you’re too stupid to get a job where you’re from? You’re probably not even working here. Maybe go rob a bank?”
I said, “Excuse me?”
Then his female companion joined in. She said, “Yeah, look at his dirty, cheap clothes. Get a job, Ang Mo! Or yeah – go rob a bank. You look like you need money.”
Wow. Yes, I am Ang Mo. From the States, and very happily living here in Singapore for over 2 years. I’ve never encountered such nasty, vicious people. I also happen to speak fluent Japanese, so when I sat down, I asked to speak to the Japanese manager and chef. I told them what happened in Japanese. Their staff later confirmed my story. I said, “Imagine if they told you to go back to Japan.” They were very apologetic. I told them it’s not them who needs to apologize.
In the end, the restaurant allowed us all 3 to stay, but the chef let me eat for free. His way of apologizing for the extremely vicious behavior of the local man and woman.
Afterwards, the man actually chased me out of the restaurant with his camera on. He said, “Hey, Ang Mo! Let’s make you famous! Smile for the camera! And let’s see if you can find a job here after I’m done with you.”