A tale of two cities where there should be one

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When people from different walks of life interact, there'll be tensions. This Kent Ridge Common article highlights the divide between Singaporeans and foreigners before concluding with a call for respect from and for both parties.

In many ways, it is easy to pass judgement. Easy to form opinions without much thought or care or deliberation. It will do us all good to moderate certain prejudices that we may have.

An excerpt from the article:

"In social circles, calling people Cheena has become an acceptable fad. Making fun of cultural roots and accents has become an easy way to elicit laughter. It's the cheapest, most thoughtless way of being cool.

Once, I unwisely pointed out to one friend on how his slurs actually restricted his horizons. "If you judge people so quickly, how can you ever hope to learn from them? All these comments aren't becoming at all."

Doing so, I came to realise, was social suicide. I would be attacked badly or heckled incessantly. "Why don't you have dinner with your Chinese friends instead?" Otherwise, an unnatural silence would cast a pall over the gathering. Therefore, most ashamedly, I've learnt to listen selectively. I'd only speak up if the critics were particularly vicious; otherwise, I would feign ignorance.

This article is an attempt to make peace with myself, to atone for those moments of silence when I heard comments which were uncalled for. [...]"

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