'Brownface' controversy

Age-old issue of racism resurfaces in multiracial Singapore

ST ILLUSTRATION: CEL GULAPA

Controversial ad, rap video shine spotlight on race relations here

When Lela was 10, she overheard a Chinese woman standing in line behind her in a bank telling somebody else: "Stop pushing, I can't move forward. This Indian girl in front of me is very smelly."

Almost three decades on, memories of that humiliating episode that left her crying resurfaced when she saw a recent e-payment advertisement featuring a local Chinese comedian in "brownface".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 25, 2019, with the headline 'Age-old issue resurfaces in multiracial Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe