S’porean Defends Preetipls, Says E-Pay Ad Is 6th Brownface Incident In 7 Years

Preetipls Video Necessary To Make S’poreans Listen

The video by YouTuber Preetipls and her brother, rapper Subhas, caused a stir among Singaporeans as debates about racism surface.

As the dust settles and all parties start issuing public apologies, local people of colour (POCs) aren’t resting easy as they try to come to Preeti’s defence.

And one man attempts to explain why her controversial video, though harsh, was necessary.


We analyse his reasoning and break it down after the jump.

6th brownface incident in 7 years

For those who haven’t read, Preetipls’ video critcising the Chinese for “f***ing it up” or messing things up was made in reaction to a highly controversial e-payment ad.

Screenshot from Preetipls’ rap video

The ad featuring comedian Dennis Chew’s portrayal of characters of different races – including a hijab-clad woman and an Indian man – didn’t sit well with many Singaporeans.

While most are giving their two cents’ worth about the ad, not all have stepped back to look at the issue with a wider lens.

Mr Tulsi has studied the larger problem at hand and pointed out a worrying trend – that the e-payment ad is the sixth brownface case in the past seven years. The previous five were:

  1. Chinese staff at UOB came in brownface and ethnic Indian costumes for a company dinner (2012)
  2. Local YouTube channel Wahbanana featured actors in brownface, portraying “foreign talent” (2013)
  3. Actor Desmond Tan painted his face brown and wore a turban in a social media post wishing Happy Deepavali (2015)
  4. A Toggle show put Shane Pow in blackface and claimed Indians and Africans are “the same” (2016)
  5. Sport Singapore’s chief wore a fake beard and turban as a caricature of a kacang puteh seller at the organisation’s Deepavali celebrations (2018)

Read the thread by a Singaporean on Twitter to see the full list complete with photographic evidence.

Preetipls had been subtle before

He also noted how Preetipls responded every time the above incidents happened. She retaliated, but did so subtly.

Mr Tulsi gave the example of the video titled “Preetipls Retaliates“, where the YouTuber reacted to racially offensive videos by another local channel.


Instead of incessantly bashing them, she provided alternative ways she could have reacted in kind to their videos.

But at the core of her video was the message that she shouldn’t have to reciprocate to tell people that what they did was wrong.

Most cogent are perhaps her opening lines about how it’s tiring that the problem persists, and that she as a minority is expected to address it every time:

I shouldn’t have to make a video to convince uninformed people that this is wrong. It should be very clear. If they don’t know, they don’t know. I’m just very disappointed, what do you expect me to do?

Minorities tired of calling out racism

The fact that the problem has surfaced multiple times in recent years points to a stubborn ignorance in some pockets of the majority, who fail to learn from others’ mistakes.

An accumulated frustration towards this repetitive error was probably what motivated Preetipls’ rap video.

Mr Tulsi acknowledged that it was “over-the-top and uncalled for”, but was very necessary:

What her video has done is to finally make the majority listen and acknowledge that brownface is a problem, even if people want to redirect the conversation to whether Preeti’s methods were correct.

The continuous debate is proof that Preeti has made people openly talk seriously about an underlying contention.

Let’s talk and listen

If there’s anything to learn from this saga, it’s that honest and respectful conversation is key to resolving any differences.

Should disagreements crop up in the future, we ought to know better not to offend anyone publicly.

Rather, we should try to have amicable discussions that will help us understand each other, so everyone can learn from their mistakes.

Featured image adapted from YouTube.

Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.

  • More From Author