Like many Singaporeans, I was not at all pleased to read about the curry incident where a mainland Chinese family went to the Community Mediation Centre to ask that their Singaporean Indian neighbours stop cooking curry as they could not stand the smell. This was after the Indian family already bent over backwards agreed to cook curry with the windows and doors closed. When I cook curry, or anything for that matter, I leave my windows and even doors open as I live in a small space. I have a Singaporean Chinese neighbour (we often exchange food), Japanese, Indian Nationals and a Caucasian (I think Russian). No mainland Chinese neighbours though.
There has been an uprising on social media and as of Sunday afternoon (13th August) almost 30,000 people have agreed to a nationwide call to cook curry on 21st August. Thats great for showing our solidarity to our national identity of harmony, tolerance and mutual respect. I too am participating by cooking and attending a curry pot luck which I suggested to a group of friends.
However, what disturbs me is some of the sentiments against Chinese Nationals and Foreigners in general. One only has to look at “Cook a Pot of Curry” Page on Facebook and trawl through the comments. Many comments are negative and flame the Chinese National. Many of them call them to go back to their own country.
Now, I know for a fact not all Chinese Nationals in Singapore are like the infamous neighbours. So as a Singaporean, while I condemn this particular incident in terms of attitude and eventual decision by the Community Mediation Centre, I cannot judge all foreigners in Singapore, Chinese or otherwise.
I also look at the one condition the Indian family asked for when they were asked by Community Mediation Centre to cook curry only when their Chinese National neighbours were not at home. The Indian family’s one condition is that they wanted their neighbours at least give their curry a try.
So, in the spirit of this Singaporean Indian family, I say let’s use Curry to Unite and not divide. Let’s use curry to educate. Let’s go ahead full force next Sunday 21st August to “Cook a pot of curry” but let’s do so in a spirit of unity, inviting our Singaporean and non-Singaporean friends and neighbours to embrace our curries – Indian, Chinese, Malay or Eurasian and let’s use curry for positive change.
Food is one thing that unites us as Asians. Being invited to someone’s home is a big part of our Asian welcome.
If there are a few bad eggs, no problem. Just don’t use them in the curry :-)
I’m looking forward to next Sunday. Yum.