A controversial ad from NETS with local celebrity, Dennis Chew, as the face of the campaign, drew much criticism last year:
The ‘brownface’ ad saw Dennis Chew darkening his face to impersonate the minority races. Both NETS and Dennis Chew had publicly apologised about this ad.
One year later, a similar incident took place.
This time around, a video which a property agent couple, Mr Jasen Tan and Ms Lim Shiqi, made for marketing purposes backfired.
Video meant to market a five-room flat in Jalan Bukit Merah
The property agents from PropNex Realty uploaded a video on their YouTube channel on 6 Sep 2020 to market a five-room flat in Jalan Bukit Merah which was up for sale.
The video has since been taken down.
Before the video got removed, a member of the public managed to share a segment of the married couple’s video on her Twitter page.
Dance Actions Impersonating Minority Races
In this partial clip, the duo was seen in traditional Indian outfits, dancing along to a Mandarin song.
While dancing, the couple incorporated a few moves, such as the head bobble. They also included Malay and Tamil greetings in their speech after the dance.
Video Meant To Appeal To The Non-Chinese
The video received a lot of outrage from netizens after it went viral.
In their interview with AsiaOne, the couple apologised for their video.
They said, “Firstly, we would like to clarify that we have no intentions at all to mock, offend or disrespect any cultural race or minority and we sincerely apologise for sparking the unpleasant sentiments online.”
“We admit that we have done wrong in our approach in this matter and vow to constantly look at things critically and from all possible angles from now on to avoid such events in the future.”
The couple sought the unit seller’s approval and consent with regards to the concept prior to the video shoot.
As the five-room flat can be sold to non-Chinese buyers due to the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP), the couple had produced the video with that particular angle.
The Ethnic Integration Policy
According to the Housing Development Board, the EIP aims to ensure a balanced mix between the various ethnic communities in HDB towns.
The limits are set at block/ neighbourhood levels based on the ethnic make-up of Singapore.
In other words, there cannot be wholly “Chinese” towns or entirely “Malay” HDB blocks, and the EIP is there to preserve Singapore’s multi-cultural identity and promote racial integration and harmony
With much online criticism going around, the couple requested the public to give them some time to reflect upon their actions.
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