Racist comments by 2015 SEA Games host during the opening ceremonies of the 28th edition of the regional Games held yesterday, June 5, drew a strong reaction in social media.
Sharon Au, a popular Singapore actress and TV personality, received flak from those watching the glitzy opening ceremonies of the biennal meet, when she mimicked the accent of a small Indian girl who sat by the audience.
“What (vat) happened? What happened?” the Singaporean presenter asked while laughing and wobbling her head from left to right after the girl stumbled after attempting to repeat a line welcoming the guests to the Singapore Games.
As if adding insult to an injury, Au, who is ethnic Chinese, made fun of the girl’s name, Kavya, by calling her “caviar” instead.
The spiel immediately provoked a howl of protest from the audience who turned to social media to condemn the racist comment by the 2015 SEA Games host.
In a Facebook post this morning, June 6, the Sharon Au, took the opportunity to publicly apologize to everyone that she had offended during the opening ceremonies:
“Some of you may have watched the pre-show and heard my attempt at mimicking an Indian accent. It was intended to be comic but in hindsight I realize how insensitive it was. I sincerely apologise to those whom I’ve inadvertently offended.”
Race and ethnicity has always been a sensitive issue in Singapore. Although the city-states’ more than five million population is mostly Chinese, there is a large number of ethnic Indians and Malays who count as Singapore citizens. Racial and religious harmony is regarded by the government as crucial to Singapore’s success as an economically advanced and well organized society, thus, racist comments are often frowned at and avoided by Singapore residents.