Racist And Useless Security Checks At Singapore’s MRT Stations

The APEC meeting had several impacts on the Singaporeans, besides the apparent increase in public littering (due to missing bins everywhere) another “issue” are the tightened security checks at MRT stations which however turned out to be useless and even more.. annoying. I question who trains these people and who sets up the instructions they follow.

1. The Simple Principles Of Terrorism – Fail!

These tightened security (luggage) checks have clearly one aim, prevention of any act of terrorsim (most prominently bombing) in Singapore. Good..

As a result of numerous Hollywood movies and daily news reports, even the kopi shop uncle next door should know that the old picture of that grimly terrorist with turban, long beard and TNT belt is outdated and antique. Hence, random checks is it, right?

Practically everyone can be a “sleeper” and to ensure the highest quality of safety there for, the security checks should be completely independent of any race, age, social group etc.

But.. Very Clearly They Are Not!

2. Random Checks – Fail!

I did some field tests. Yes. In fact, not really field test but simply “monitoring” the MRT security staff in several situations with different kinds of people and bags, including myself.

Caucasian people, be it tourists or not, get “priority treating” (Surprisingly… there are rumored white terrorists as well, hear hear).
I encountered several situations where backpackers with huge bags, followed by me with my stuffed gym bag and other Ang Mohs could simply walk past the security staff without hesitation while the local person, no matter what race or age, was stopped just carrying a normal handbag. Read: The West And Asia – Racism And Sauerkraut

The security staff was clearly struggling with the question whether to “interrupt” the Caucasian people, but simple avoiding of eye contact, and quick walking will do the thing while, I saw aunties behind me getting checked for their Cold Storage bags and students for their normal backpacks.

Whether the security staff got these instructions to “keep tourists happy” or not doesn’t matter, it is in my opinion racist behavior and should quickly be looked into my the officials.

3. Identifying Of Dangerous Objects? Fail!

“No Sir, I do not carry any dangerous objects in my briefcase, if you look closely, you might realize that it barely fits more then a folder of paper sheets”.

Again, I am sure the so called “Security Staff” has not received any useful training in how to actually identify the objects they look for at all. Clearly there is a purpose behind checking bags, but of what use is it if you don’t know what you are looking for.
(Read: Singapore Is Really Strange – Can You Explain Please?)

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‘)); ?> “Prevention!” someone might shout, yes sure, I agree. But if it is so easy to bypass the security checks (simply board your MRT at the airport and no one will ever question whats in your 50 Liter suitcase), then why annoy commuters by checking lady’s purses or my above mentioned minimal briefcase.
Even worse, after finally being pulled out with my larger bag I can simply fantasize that it is full of dirty laundry and I am off to my train as quick as I was pulled over, without ever opening my bag.

4. Interpersonal Or Social Manners? Fail!

There are several things that keep on annoying me in Singapore about the two above mentioned “skills”.

First and most prominently, they do not exist!
Secondly, if they exist, they still do not really exist..

When it comes to security checks I am usually the more cooperative kind of person since it is actually something that makes sense. Yes, really!
But when I get plainly pointed at, then directed to that pathetic security check table and faced with a grunted “Open Ah!” without any further explanation, I am actually getting annoyed and I am (unfortunate for the other person) quite quick and good in creating a very tense and awkward situation. Which leads to the next point when..

I do not accept neither understand, why (like in any other situation of security checks) those official security people, touching hundreds of bags and maybe people daily, do not wear any kind of protection??

NO! I don’t want you to go through my fresh laundry with your dirty fingers. No I don’t want you to spread any disease picked up by someone 5 hours ago. At least wear some gloves dude!!

Your Opinion, Singapore’s MRT Security Checks – Annoyance Or Good?

And here is where I really start to question how far these checks to violate my privacy.
– Do I have to let this unqualified security staff without any real chance to actually identify a terrorist or dangerous item go through my personal things. Without explanation?
– Without “normal” health and cleanliness standards?
– Do you really think any serious terrorist wouldn’t be able to bypass those ridiculous checks by any means?
– What is the use of these checks if they are clearly subject to certain groups of people?

Please let me know your opinion in the comment area below!

comments

16 Comments

twasher

The racism is of a piece with what happens in shops and restaurants all over Singapore. Singaporeans still have a colonial mentality and are naturally more polite and subservient to whites.

Reply
LEO

Preferential treatment to the whites extend
all across the society.
Some time back, locals complained that our
national airline crew treated angmos and
others differently. I have personally witnessed
such incidences before.
How are we to progress if we are stucked in
this mentality where whites are treated like
masters and us, people subjugated?

Reply
Daniel

Don’t worry, there are a fair number of Singaporeans who, thinking that whites get preferential treatment everywhere, will do their best to ensure that whites get worse treatment in order to balance it out. Ever wonder what Singaporeans say in Chinese when standing just next to you?

Reply
Stewart

If it makes you happy: I am as white as they come and was asked to open my suitcase on the MRT

Reply
j

the fact is, most terrorists are of a certain race/religion. but if smrt only targets those people, you can be sure they are going to cry racism and whatnot. (i am far from being a white male but gets checked occasionally as well.)

Reply
ed

The value of the ‘white’ is significantly bolstered by the undervaluation of that which the non-chinese value.

To understand differentiated treatment in singapore, one will first have to understand how one set of values and perceptions have undermined others. The fact that singapore moved from a malay, to a multicultural, and then to a confucian system through racialist policies and popular apathy indicates this. Hence, when one talks about how ‘whites’ are valued by ‘singaporeans’, it would be more accurate to say ‘chinese singaporeans’ or ‘confucianised singaporeans’.

Personally, after ‘whites’ have been in singapore for a while, they are quite taken aback by my egalitarian approach toward them as quite a few are quite used to being treated like the white ‘sahibs’ of old.

As for singaporeans being rude. That’s just the ‘cheaper, economical and faster’ chinglish-induced persona. I, personally, like yourself, never liked this abbreviated form of communication as it tended to abbreviate my value to nothing more than an opportunity or hindrance, and hence, the rudeness of the average confucianised ‘singaporean’.

Reply
Cynic

I find it interesting that some of the above commentators accuse Singaporeans of deferring to ‘whites’ or being rude when 35% of the population here consists of foreigners, talented or otherwise. Are they sure that these transgressions are committed by those who comprise 65% of the population?

Reply
KM

The security checks perform three functions none of which involves actually improving the security.

1. to pretend that the government is doing its job of improving security
2. to provide business opportunities for cronies of the government
3. to provide $1000 a month jobs for Singaporeans made redundant by young imports.

So does this answer your question why nobody else are concerned that the security staff are amateurs?

Reply
Oswald Chong

Daniel, to your comment: “Ever wonder what Singaporeans say in Chinese when standing just next to you?”

Not sure if you are ang moh or chinese. First of all, if you are Ang Moh, you’re simply oversensitive. Second, base on my experience in another angmoh country, the experience can be worst…. like people saying “go back to eat your fried rice” and getting paid less as an Asian. If you’repaid more in Singapore as an Ang Moh, my question is “Do you have the right to complain about racism?” and if you get flush by Chinese girls whoprefer ang moh? I understand if you’re black or Muslims, why you complain about racism. But I can never understand why if you’re a high paying ang moh who can get asian girls easily, complain about racism…. it’s either you’re whinning or you still have the superior race mentality? I never hear any Blangadeshis complaining about racism in Singapore… theyreceived lower pay, despised of, looked down upon… and paid so much lesser, and no girls want them. That’s real racism dude. Stop complaining being a previledged white man.

Reply
eltractor67

In my first few months in SG, I remember being rather puzzled by the deferential treatment that Singaporeans showed towards ang mohs. I often think its a cultural issue that needs to be addressed and overcome. Its a problem with the non-confrontational nature of virtually all Asian cultures. You can hate my guts, but will never tell it to my face. To me this is essentially …Darwinism 101: If you give me an inch, I will take three inches, whether its done consciously or unconsciously. Let me give you an example:
If I am in a line, I have seen several times that the waiter/cashier will come to me first. There are times that I point out that there was somebody else before me (and this often leaves the waiter/cashier extremely confused), there are times when I realize it only afterwards (I am often not the most alert person to my surroundings when queuing) and feel embarrassed by it, but I have no shame in saying that there are times when it works to my advantage (especially if I have many people lining up before me.)
I have heard many times the story of airline crews treating ang mohs better than locals. I had a former colleague who former for SIA, and she told me that in general foreigners tend to be kinder and more appreciative compared to locals who, upon boarding the plane, they have high expectations i.e., they think they own the crew for the duration of the flight.) I have seen it done. To me. it is a very human reaction. Although I will serve all my customers equally, I will be automatically drawn more toward a smiling, kinder person rather to a grumpy or rude one. I think that all parties involved need to take a step back and have a more conciliatory approach.
It all moves in stereotypes: singaporeans all think that we are sexual predators, and this is something that really bothers me because its not true. I always make a point that the vast majority of Europeans or Americans really dont care one way or the other about Asians: live and let live! Sure, there are those who flock here for cheap sex but hey its demand and offer, and besides they are really a tiny minority.
Its funny, I have heard so many times about how we steal local girls. Grow up, get over it.

Reply
Oswald Chong

eltractor67, on your comment on “cashier coming to you first”, this mentality has been inculcated into the minds of many Singaporeans, first by the need to attract more tourists as Singapore is trying to be one of the top tourist destination, and very often these tourists tend to be cacuasians or Japanese. They will normally serve tourists first than local. If you have a Japanese in front of you, you’ll be sure he’ll get served first before you. Second, Singaporeans are still having this colonial mentality…. thanks to the British Empire, and thanks to Lee Kuan Yew for continuing promoting British culture unknowingly in Singapore. My two cents.

Reply
ML

Well, maybe he was trying to be friendly instead of being rude?
As a singaporean, i feel more comfortable speaking singlish to others rather than using the ‘proper’ english. If not, fellow singaporeans will think that you are pretentious and stuff. Singlish is part of who we are and therefore, we often associate singlish with being friendly. Maybe the security guard failed to realise that angmohs find it offensive, and thought Singlish will help make the process easier.

Reply
SP

My comments here are for this entry and your other blog entry regarding the lack of trash bins here..

I was once told by my Singaporean colleague on why there are no trash bin in the MRT….guess what? The reason is to prevent terrorists placing bombs in the subway….

but the truth is, it is difficult to find trash bins even on Orchard Road…

Reply
BL

Singapore has pinkerton syndrome…Look upto anyone white and look down other folks… See all the ads and all models are white. Always the asian lady with white guy. Its pathetic banana culture.. Yellow outside but white inside. I was expecting Asians to be more self confident and self assured becos of their heritage, they are just aping the west and consider them superior.

Reply
lola

BL u are right on…

Singapore and asia are playgrounds for white boys/men to pick and chose asian women who need to feel good about themselves. I am shocked at this inferiority complex they have…..

Reply

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