Philippines asks Singapore to investigate author of blog provoking hatred for Filipino workers

SINGAPORE – The Philippines has asked Singapore authorities to take action against a blog author who suggested Singaporeans should shove Filipinos on the street and be rude to Filipino workers, the latest sign of growing intolerance toward migrant workers in the wealthy city-state.

The blog, titled “Filipino infestation in Singapore — 5 point guide to showing displeasure without breaking the law,” was posted at the end of May and has since been taken down. It was written anonymously and was widely shared on social media, prompting the Philippine Embassy in Singapore to appeal to the government for prompt action.

Police said they were investigating, according to local media reports, but gave no other details.

The incident came in the wake of rising tensions involving the growing number of migrant workers, who have largely built the country’s impressive skyline, transport infrastructure and other facilities. About a quarter of the country’s 5.4 million people are transient workers, compared to a tenth in 1990, according to government statistics.

A small but vocal group of radical Singaporeans has been fanning online discontent with what they claim are lax immigration policies. In an anti-immigration rally last month, protesters claimed foreigners were stealing jobs from Singaporeans.

In December, mostly Indian guest workers rioted in the worst unrest in decades after an Indian worker was hit and killed by a bus driven by a Singaporean. Cars were torched and 18 people were injured.

Tens of thousands of Filipinos working in Singapore this month abandoned plans to celebrate their Independence Day at Singapore’s prime shopping district, Orchard Road, following an uproar by those who said that it would be an infringement of their sovereign rights for the event to take place at such a prominent location.

In a statement on its website this week, the Philippine Embassy advised its nationals to be restrained in their response to the blog post and that it would be best for them to ignore it.

The blog suggested that Singaporeans should shove Filipinos on the street by pretending to bump into them. It also encouraged rude behaviour to Filipino staff working in the service industry.

A member of Parliament from the ruling People’s Action Party, Baey Yam Keng, said that racism will not be tolerated in Singapore.

“Singapore is used to many races being together and while some issues may arise with some nationalities once in a while, these issues won’t form a permanent part of our fabric of society,” he said.