Singaporeans' culinary anti-immigration protest: curry

Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:15am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Harry Suhartono

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - It takes a lot to start a mass campaign with political overtones in Singapore, but there's no better catalyst than food.

Tens of thousands of people in the Southeast Asian city-state said they would cook or eat curry on Sunday in a protest highlighting growing anger over increased immigration.

The campaign began after an immigrant family from China complained about the smell of curry from a Singaporean Indian neighbor's home and local officials brought about a compromise.

A Facebook page devoted to the row after reports were published in a local newspaper has drawn over 57,600 members, many of who said they were cooking curry on Sunday in a show of solidarity with the Indian family.

"Because we live in Singapore and Singapore is such a cramped place, neighbors should understand each others' culture," said Stanley Wong, a 37-year old accountant who helped organized the Facebook page.

He and a dozen friends and family were gathering in a small government-built flat for a potluck curry dinner.

Most of the diners were ethnic Chinese, like the overwhelming majority of Singapore's 5.1 million people. But residents say curry is a Singaporean dish and that immigrants, including those from mainland China, should accept it is part of the local culture.

"The case could create problems with the integration of foreign nationals," said Florence Leow, a freelance writer in her 40s who also was one of the organizers of the event.   Continued...

<p>Organizers of "Cook A Pot of Curry" Facebook event Stanley Wong (2nd L), Florence Leow (3rd L) and Gabriel Yeap (C) eat curry with friends including Liang Meizi (2nd R) from China during a photocall at Leow's home in Singapore August 21, 2011. REUTERS/Edgar Su</p>