Chinese “high up officer” from Sports SG draws flak for racist caricature of an Indian man

The elephant in the room just took a massive dump.

Update Nov 24: SportSG apologises for “racist” image; staff identified as Singapore Sports Institute’s chief

In a Facebook post published Friday (Nov 24), netizen Joel Tan shared a photo of a chinese man in Indian dress-up, complete with the “head shaking, random bursts of Tamil, and the handing out of kacang puteh during the celebrations“.


Tan received the photo from a source who told him that the picture was taken during a recent Deepavali celebration at Sports SG.

Sports SG is a statutory board of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) set up to “inspire the Singapore spirit and transform Singapore through sport“.

According to the source, the man is allegedly a high-ranking officer from Sports Singapore (Sports SG).

In the post, Tan highlighted the following points:

Racism exists in Singapore

“People like to think racism doesn’t exist in Singapore, but it really does. Not even badly disguised racism: just flat out, balls to the wall insensitivity and grotesque tone-deafness.”

Unconscious bias

“This is what happens when we collectively agree that “race” is not a Singaporean concept. Or that our multi-racial harmony is well and alive because we don’t talk about race, don’t acknowledge the racist behaviour of Chinese people, and dismiss those who call out this kind of behaviour as snowflakes, shit-stirrers, and ‘racists’ themselves.”

Chinese people are racists

“Seriously we Chinese Singaporeans are some of the most consistently racist, racism-denying, and racism-defending people I’ve ever met.”

Implausible deniability

“Please nobody come to me saying their intentions were good and this was good natured fun in the spirit of cross cultural exchange; or that it’s an act of endearment. And please let’s take a good hard look at this photo and try to square it with the society we think we live in.”

Clearly, netizens are unimpressed:

This is not the first time someone has caricatured an Indian character:

In March 2015, the Channel 8 actor Desmond Tan posted a photo of himself in blackface and a turban on Instagram. It was captioned: “I love my Indian look. What you think?”

In June 2015, former Channel 8 actress Sharon Au, while hosting the SEA Games, approached an Indian girl in the stands to say some line, which the girl didn’t do very well. Au playfully admonished her by mimicking an Indian accent and shaking her head from side to side: “Vat happened?”

In September 2016, Channel 8 actors Chew Chor Meng and Shane Pow went further by donning a “blackface” make-up.

Racism is alive and well in Singapore, and the elephant in the room just took a massive dump.

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