TikToker defends attempting Singlish: 'Me doing a S'porean accent is not casual racism, you clown'

The New Paper
April 11, 2023 

Should we be flattered or offended?

A former expatriate’s attempt at Singlish in a TikTok video seems to have divided netizens on the matter, especially after he was called out by one for being racist.

In a TikTok video uploaded on March 30, Tom Birchy, who grew up in Singapore and now resides in Thailand, tried his hand at the local patois, at the request of a commenter. 

@tombirchytok Replying to @Sintia Yuliani i tried a singaporean accent #tombirchy ♬ original sound - Tom Birchy

Another commenter who goes by Caleb, however, called out his actions as “casual racism”. 

In response, Birchy uploaded a separate TikTok denouncing Caleb for his remark. In the caption, he wrote that "my Singaporean accent is racist according to British people (who) couldn't find Singapore on a map".

"Considering I went to school in Singapore and grew up there, I think I'm allowed to do that," he says in the video.

"I was the only white kid in two of my schools: Balestier Hill Primary and Anglo-Chinese School (Junior). There was a sea of Singaporean Chinese faces, and me."

@tombirchytok Replying to @Caleb my Singaporean accent is racist according to British people that couldn’t find Singapore on a map #tombirchy ♬ original sound - Tom Birchy

Birchy then said Singaporeans usually found such antics – hearing foreigners attempt Singlish, for example – funny, and referred to Singapore as "the most multicultural country in the world".

"Do you know why it works? Because everyone is fun, and everyone gets on… (unlike England) where we claim to be multicultural but everyone hates each other,” says Birchy who has some 90,000 followers on the platform.

"So me doing a Singaporean accent is not casual racism, you clown. It's just me appreciating the place, appreciating where I came from."

Most Singaporeans in the comments didn’t appear to take offence to either of Birchy’s videos. Though many did feel his attempt at Singlish was a bit off.

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