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What a Rapper’s Sentence Says About Racism in Singapore

Promoting racial harmony.Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg

The first time I heard a racist slur directed at me, I was 18 years old, and traveling to a university lecture on a bus in the Midlands in the UK. Having just arrived from Indonesia, I was still trying to figure out pounds from pennies. As I fumbled around for the change, the bus driver shouted: “Why don’t you just go home you P***,” which in equal parts upset and confused me. I am not Pakistani, and home was Jakarta, so I had no idea what he meant.

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