i am not going to repost the photo of the 'gross misrepresentation of punks' that occurred yesterday at Hong Lim Park (ie some dude i don't know and have never seen at a punk show before fully decked out in 'punk gear' holding a placard that said 'Singapore for Singaporeans'- a statement with purportedly xenophobic and nationalist connotations). Instead i am going to counter post with an image of what i view as a larger, more pressing issue than what people's stereotypes lead them to think about me and my lifestyle, and those of my friends who also identify as punk.
Just to be clear, i DO NOT support blind nationalism and xenophobia, NEITHER AM I SYMPATHETIC towards those who harbor those views.
Anger and discomfort were the main emotions portrayed by those i know who have seen the placard at the protest or the photo which was posted by TOC and Say 'No' to an Overpopulated Singapore's page. While we discussed 'damage control', i took notice of how often we referred to ourselves as 'kita', 'we' and 'us' when referring to the person in the photo, as if to say it's 'us (the punks)' against 'him (the fake outsider punk)'. the idea was a little unnerving, as the entire focus of turning up at yesterday's protest with the banner below shifted from having something to say to.. 'saving face'. Even i was guilty of repeating the line 'the public are going to think it's us!' (wait.. when did we start caring what 'the public' thought? WAIT WAIT.. aren't those sentiments somewhere along the lines of nationalism, just on a smaller, social group scale?!).
Punk to me has always been about self-education. but how many of us can actually say we've learnt everything we've had to learn, literally on our own? did we not have friends to correct us/argue with us, music and books written by friends, penpals, band mates, an international network of amazing, supportive people? i can safely say that i've said, thought and felt my fair share of fucked up things while learning through punk, and the journey to growing into a less fucked up person is still in its due process- it will probably never end. the learning and unlearning, the building and destroying of my mindscape will not stop until there is equality in this world.
we know this person has never been to a punk show. we know he is younger than most of us (not saying that age as a numeric is a good guage on a person's credibility, but we all know he probably hasn't identified as 'punk' for a very long time). we know that whatever was portrayed in that photo does not encapsulate how we think and feel. we also know that reposting the photo of him and swearing at it is counter-productive within the bigger picture.
what i'm suggesting now is that if you are worried about people getting the wrong idea, speak up. no one bothers if you have a grade A hold on the language you use, no one cares if you 'spell funny' or can't tell past-tense from present. if you have something to say, say it. put up a photo of a banner/placard that you agree with along with the post. COUNTER POST. glorify the just, not the wrong. Write to him, encourage discourse (giving him the benefit of the doubt, i am not dismissing the possibility that he could mean something entirely different and i hope he speaks up too, if that is so), keep the discourse going. and always remember,
OPPOSING THE WHITE PAPER IS A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE, AN ISSUE OF THE GOVERNMENT FAILING THE PEOPLE, NOT ONE OF SINGAPOREANS VS IMMIGRANTS.
stop xenophobia. fight power not people.
credit : Vanessa Victoria