Tuesday, 8 June 2010

All Aussies Judgmental? That’s Just Rude…


My Letter of Response to Jamie Yeo's Article in MyPaper, 8th June, 2010.

The Editor,
MyPaper
Email: myp@sph.com.sg


Dear Sir / Madam,

I am writing to express my deep disappointment in an article published in your newspaper by Ms Jamie Yeo (“S’poreans rude? This is why…”, MyPaper, 8th June, 2010).

Firstly, let me start out by saying that the article published recently in the Sydney Morning Herald, quoting a Mr Paul Stapleton was extremely insensitive and inaccurate at the same time. Furthermore, the views of (the obviously brain-frozen) Mr Stapleton in no way reflect the attitudes or beliefs of the majority of Australians.

Having said that, I find Ms Yeo’s comments disturbing on a number of levels. If one looks at Stomp, there are enough diverse and negative opinions on a variety of topics – this is the forum where such attitudes and statements belong… not in a mainstream publication such as MyPaper.
Let’s get it straight – two wrongs will never a make a right! By slamming all Aussies as judgmental, Ms Yeo is employing exactly the same tactics as Mr Stapleton… and to go a step further to make degrading statements about the heritage of Australians displays exactly the same intolerance and insensitivity. Perhaps a history lesson is in order – not all early Australians were transported convicts. Then perhaps a social studies lesson – a huge number of Australians today are of mixed heritage. Whether it be Caucasian, native Australian, Asian, African or Indian, we really are a mixed bunch.

But I digress – generalizing about the people of a particular country based on the comments or views of an individual or small group of people will never fly in today’s global community. Unfortunately, a few people will take any negative and sensationalize it in a manner that will draw controversy. A perfect example of this is the negative publicity Australia received in the international media as a result of a minority leader by the name of Pauline Hanson – this was the work of a few ‘whacko’ Aussies and definitely not the views and attitudes of mainstream Australia – in fact, she was the subject of ridicule in the local Australian media. The global media portrayed this in a much different light.

I have lived in Singapore for four years and my family and I absolutely love life here. We have done everything in our power to integrate into the local community, and the numerous close local friends and their families that we have made are the complete opposite to the ‘grumpy and rude’ Singaporean that Ms Yeo describes in her article. We have found most Singaporeans to be caring, thoughtful and happy people living their lives to the fullest.

For this reason, I think that Ms Yeo is selling her own people short. The article reeks of complaints about this wonderful island – from sports to the weather to restaurant service… I can tell you (as someone who grew up in the tropical and humid weather of Queensland) that picturesque hills, the number of casinos or the size of an apartment are not what determine happiness. Life is what you make of it – happiness is created by your own attitude… what you put into your relationships is usually what will be returned. Singapore is beautiful in its own way – culturally and aesthetically!

In short, Jamie Yeo has every right to be angry (very angry) at the comments of Paul Stapleton, but calling out the rest of Australia is just like the pot calling the kettle black.

Don’t worry…. Be Happy!!

Peter Breitkreutz
(Author of Aussie Pete blog – www.aussispete.com / Top 10 finalist in the OMY 2010 Singapore Blog Awards)


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13 comments:

angie yang said...

As a Singaporean, I read her article with much embarrassment.

Yes, some are rude, but I don't find excuses for these people by blaming it on things like the humidity, food prices, or expensive apartments. To say those things just serves to prove the very point she hoped to discredit.

Her arguments are baseless and frivolous, and like what you said, should not have been given the light of day in a mainstream paper like MyPaper.

My sincerest apologies on her behalf.

Anonymous said...

Great call Pete

AussiePete said...

Hi Angie - thanks for your comment. There is absolutely no need for apologies... I know from experience how tolerant and friendly Singaporeans are! It's one of the reasons I choose to live here! Take care! :)

Rene said...

Wow, I have to say that her article is very wrong in so many ways....
In the end, to me it sounded more like a letter full of complaints, all of them being ridiculous.

Good reply, though, Pete!

Anonymous said...

The problem is celebrities of every shape, size or IQ here have been accorded opinion leader/role model status. Obviously, not many really make the cut though you could be foregiven for thinking otherwise.

By the way, the Newpaper is really no more than a second rate tabloid.

hahaha said...

Mainstream newspaper or not, they are all run by Singapore Press Holdings. Carrying different names are just a ploy to confuse the already confused Singaporeans.
Clearly, it's a tit for tat move by the press here, only difference is that Singapore does it in a newspaper with smaller circulation vs TSMH.

Anonymous said...

It is clear. All she is interested is in self publicity. Lets face it she is getting older and by the looks of it she doesnt age very well, so every little bit of publicity helps.

complainking said...

I'm sure Ms Jamie had her tongue firmly in cheek writing this.Note the hidden sarcasm about the World Cup TV rates. I don't think she's actually finding excuses for our rudeness, but merely complaining about the weather and pricey standards of living. Why not show that Aussies have a sense of humour too?

tracy said...

I agree with what u said Pete - it's kinda rude to comment on a country's heritage. And I do believe that there are rude and kind ppl everywhere too. Having said that, I often wunder to myself abt how polite (or impolite) S'preans are, as compared to other globalised asian citizens. We do seem to lack some graciousness in our everyday life. could it be becos we r more concerned abt dollars n cents (time n money) instead of character development...

Anonymous said...

Fast forward a year later that I read this article...about rude singaporeans funny enough...I live in Amsterdam and work in a hotel. I must say I was really embarrassed to have the worst guests in the hotel who happened to be a Singaporean family of 5 on a holiday.

From the father who refused to be helped by checking in with our futuristic check in kiosk, to the mother who blabs about taking first class in Singapore airlines and all the 3 kids who bought stuff in the lobby without any please or thank house. It was the talk of the hotel staff!

Tsp tsk tsp...what is happening man?

Anonymous said...

Fast forward a year later that I read this article...about rude singaporeans funny enough...I live in Amsterdam and work in a hotel. I must say I was really embarrassed to have the worst guests in the hotel who happened to be a Singaporean family of 5 on a holiday.

From the father who refused to be helped by checking in with our futuristic check in kiosk, to the mother who blabs about taking first class in Singapore airlines and all the 3 kids who bought stuff in the lobby without any please or thank yous. It was the talk of the hotel staff!

Tsp tsk tsp...what is happening man?

Anonymous said...

Oh hey... Some irony here.. Jamie and her caucasian other-half just gave my friend (who's their neighbour) the Middle Finger on the nearby roads just because of a trivial traffic issue.

General sentiments of the people living nearby are that she is very rude (as observed on the roads).. but i guess she doesn't care. But she should not have misrepresented SIngaporeans...

Alexia said...

GOOD RIDDANCE to rubbish... oh no! another article/ publicity stunt from puppet Jamie Yeo. I hope Jamie's stupidity doesn't reflect on all Singaporeans. Here's to peace sorry Oz!