Cultural appropriation or appreciation? The Singapore view

Amid debate over an American teen wearing a cheongsam, ST explores issue's relevance here

A model wearing clothes from the I AM DURGA collection by designer Lisa Von Tang, who was inspired by a tour at the Asian Civilisations Museum, where she saw an exhibition featuring the Hindu goddess Durga.
Mrs Shanthi Jeuland in a sari with her French husband, photographer Jose Jeuland, who is wearing a kurta. She said she has not seen people in Singapore wearing clothes from different cultures disrespectfully, and that she feels proud of her husband when he wears traditional Indian clothes.ST PHOTO: ALVIN HO
Sixteen female MPs donned saris for a Tamil Murasu Deepavali photoshoot in 2016. Its news editor said most of the Singapore Indian community "were positive and appreciative" but a minority saw it as cultural appropriation.
Sixteen female MPs donned saris for a Tamil Murasu Deepavali photoshoot in 2016. Its news editor said most of the Singapore Indian community "were positive and appreciative" but a minority saw it as cultural appropriation.PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

When 16 MPs wore saris for a Deepavali photoshoot for Tamil Murasu newspaper in 2016, its news editor Tamilavel said most of the Singapore Indian community "were positive and appreciative that non-Indian MPs appreciated their culture".

However, he added: "I had a minority telling me that this was cultural appropriation."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 13, 2018, with the headline 'Cultural appropriation or appreciation? The S'pore view'. Subscribe