While focus have been on the rap video that Minister Shanmugam himself proudly went in front of cameras to say it has crossed the line, and the fallout of the video as the people behind the video have lost some jobs, while those who shared the videos have been issued take down notices, little attention have been focused on the advertisement that started this all.
Of course, the advertisement in question is the “brownface” ad done by E-payment firm Nets, which featured a well-known Chinese actor in “brownface”. While this was also in bad taste, it prompted the rap video, which unfortunately uses vulgarities to hit back at the racist ad. NETS have since apologised for their ad, which they agreed was done in bad taste, offensive and insensitive. Both the ad and the rap videos have had police report made against them. Interestingly, only one have come under heavy fire from Minister Shanmugam and his party colleagues, while one just had the usual slap of the wrist and branded a mistake which should not happen again.
The ad is part of a NETS campaign that also involves a multi agency effort, led by Enterprise Singapore, and participated by the National Environment Agency, the Housing Board and JTC Corporation. All the government agencies involved in the brownface ad have so far not said anything about this fiasco. The silence is deafening, but at the same time, something expected.