March 31, 2013 by Royal and Doodall
Reminiscent of the solidarity demonstrated by angry American colonists when they dumped gallons of highly taxed British tea into Boston harbor, history has repeated itself in the south-east Asian city-state of Singapore where food (a spice) has become a catalyst for a massive political campaign.
Earlier this month, tens of thousands of people in Singapore vowed to either cook or eat curry as a means of drawing attention to their growing discontent over the increasing problem of immigration.
The famous spice became a symbol of displeasure after an immigrant family from China complained about the smell of curry emanating from the home of an Indian neighbor and officials called to the scene sought a compromise.
Social media and press coverage drew massive support from almost 60,000 people who have vowed to show their sympathy with the Indian family by cooking curry.
“Because…Singapore is such a cramped place, neighbors should understand each others’ culture,” said Stanley Wong, a 37-year old accountant.
The overwhelming majority of Singapore’s 5.1 million people are Chinese, but curry has seeped into the local cuisine and many residents feel that as such, it should be accepted as part of local culinary culture. The hope is that this act of solidarity will help to open the doors of appreciation, respect and understanding of the diverse elements that comprise a regional culture.
Immigration is not an easy topic to discuss in Singapore. Many citizens feel the policies are far too lax and are attracting too many foreigners, inflating the prices of homes and making the search for jobs more difficult.
Food and drink have been powerful symbols for political action down through time. Whether it concerns a pot of curry or gallons of tea, the impact on national consciousness will hopefully force a desired change by either planting the seeds for a revolution or in reaping the benefits of the green grass of peace and understanding.
Stanley said “Whoever thought cooking would be so powerful? Lets just hope it doesn’t send out the wong message.”