Friday 2015-03-06

Adeline Koh interviews Sangeetha Thanapal about being an Indian woman in Singapore.

At the end of the interview, Thanapal recommends that we chastise the people around us, rather than first developing and strengthening ourselves. "Free your mind" appears to have been discarded as hippie tripe.

To be Indian Singaporean is to carry a number of identities, not all of whom work in concert with each other. We are expected to keep in touch with our root culture, language and traditions, but never to engage in any kind of ethnic chauvinism. We are expected to be bilingual cosmopolitan citizens of the world, while constantly being grounded in Indian culture.

Examining how she talks about her situation, the "expected" behavior in the above quote seems to exhibit learned helplessness, that she believes most people fight and lose a battle with people to act the way they want. After which they accept the privilege mindset, self-censor their actions, and kow-tow to what she thinks is the norm.

Throughout the interview, Thanapal seems to believe that her locus of control is external to her. Given this, mental self-defense against the depredations of society and internalization of control would seem better first steps.