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    Don't hold Mat Sabu's poor English against him


    (Updated )

    COMMENT | I am a ‘banana’. If that is a nickname for a Chinese who is unable to speak or read Mandarin, then I am one. I’m not proud of my limitations in handling the lingo, so a banana I am.

    I can manage speaking Mandarin, but reading is a problem. That’s a little consolation for my bruised ego. However, I have only myself to blame for not picking up Mandarin at an early age.

    Actually, a ‘banana’, which is yellow on the outside, but white inside, is a term for an Asian person living in a Western country who has lost touch with the cultural identity of his or her parents, according to Wikipedia.

    I wouldn’t consider that a racist nick. Locally, we have accepted that in reference to the Chinese. I wouldn’t go into the nicknames for other races here, but in America, other cultures also earned their own nicknames such as Indians as ‘apples’ and blacks as ‘Oreo cookies’.

    So what’s in a nickname? Let’s accept whatever nicknames in jest and in good faith and have a chuckle over them. That will do us good. I can accept I am a ‘banana’.

    That brings me to Wee Ka Siong’s dig at Mohamad Sabu’s poor English when the defence minister spoke at the 18th IISS Asia Security Summit Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore on June 1...

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