Student from China accuses S’porean classmates of discrimination as he’s from ‘farming’ family

Student from China accuses S’porean classmates of discrimination as he’s from ‘farming’ family

Mothership.SG·2018-01-29 17:50

Annoying classmates are a feature of schools everywhere, Singapore included.

Kids can be insensitive, often times banding together and poking fun at others over racial, national, or even — or anything innocuous.

So, it is not a surprise that at least one student from China studying in a school in Singapore has claimed to be a victim of discrimination and has spoken up about it.

Discrimination from Singaporean classmates

In an email to Singapore Eye, or Xin Jia Po Yan — an account on Weibo, which is China’s largest microblogging platform — a Chinese student accused his Singaporean classmates of discriminating against him on the basis of his “farming” family background in China.

Singapore Eye, which is an account that mostly caters to mainland Chinese living in Singapore, then , asking other followers what they think about the incident.

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Here’s the translation of his  in full:

Hi Brother Yan,

I’m a high school student who’s currently studying in Singapore.

Today, I encountered an unpleasant incident in class: The teacher, knowing that I’m a Chinese national, asked me if I knew that improvement in soil quality can help increase economic efficiency.

It’s because she thinks that I’m from a ‘farming’ family.

Of course, my classmates laughed immediately.

Even though I knew that this is a form of discrimination, I didn’t say much at that time as there were other students around.

After the class ended, another teacher asked me if I felt uncomfortable (about the incident before).

As seeing how I’m from a village myself, I said that it’s not really that big of a deal.

But afterwards, when some classmates started making fun of me due to my status as a ‘farmer’, I thought that the consequence of this incident is actually far more serious.

Not only is this a form of discrimination towards Chinese nationals, it’s also an insult to the people who work in the farming sector.

As a student with a rural family background, I’m proud of my parents’ hard work to move us into the city.

I’m also proud of my background as someone who was born in a village.

The school I’m studying at now is a government Chinese school. If there’s still discrimination even under such conditions, I really don’t dare to imagine how it’s like at other schools here.

I’ve decided to send an email to the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Singapore regarding this incident. Hopefully I can get a reply from them.

The student only mentioned that he’s studying at a high school here in Singapore, which may refer to either a junior college or pre-university institution.

Chinese netizens weigh in

While most Chinese netizens empathised with the Chinese student in Singapore and supported him for bringing the incident to the attention of the authorities, some didn’t think it was worth reporting.

Standing in solidarity

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Translation: You have to make a complaint! Don’t be scared! As long as you watch your attitude and don’t stir up trouble, our anger will be felt more by others!

Blaming the Chinese student

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Translation: Isn’t it because you look down on farmers yourself, which is why you have these thoughts? Adjust your attitude. Having land is something to be proud of.

Turning the issue into a lecture on discrimination

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Translation: So many people in the comments thinking that this isn’t discrimination, you guys are really big-hearted. ‘Discriminate’ means that you’re being singled out as you’re different (from others). It doesn’t have to be something negative. “You’re Asian, so you must be good at Math, right?” is also a form of discrimination.

Brushing it off as a small matter

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Translation: Child, don’t think too complicatedly. Actually the teacher meant no harm. Go explore the world with an open heart, this is but a minor thing.

Same sort of discrimination in China

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Translation: Personally, I feel that even if you’re studying in one of the big cities in China, you’ll encounter the same thing too.

Asking the student to take the matter in his stride

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Translation: I feel that the teacher didn’t mean to be discriminatory. Singaporeans don’t have the mentality that farmers are inferior to others (this is because there’re no farmers there, those in the agriculture business and who are being promoted are all successful people). The question your teacher asked also seems pretty legit. As for whether your classmates were laughing at you and discriminating against you, it’s difficult to tell as I wasn’t there at that time. But if there’s indeed discrimination from your classmates, I suggest you go speak to your school first, before escalating to MOE.

And linking it back to Singapore politics

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Translation: Singapore under the leadership of Lee Hsien Loong, still looks at China and the Chinese people the same way it did 30 years ago. Typical ignorant yet conceited mindset. How pathetic.

The post did not provide any updates as to whether his feedback has been acknowledged by MOE or if he has received a response.

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Read full article on Mothership.SG

Singapore School China discrimination Complaint