Reaching out with love

The Singapore influencer Sheena Phua, with over 76,000 followers on Instagram for her beauty and travel entries, caused an uproar when she made seemingly racist remarks when she wrote about “2 huge obstructions” blocking her view at one of the F1 race concerts. They were two Sikhs in turbans. She later apologised.

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YSA team with Sheena Phua at a Singapore gurdwara, with the Ek Oangkar (God is One) symbol in the background – Photo: YSA Facebook
By Young Sikh Association – Singapore | OPINION |

We first reached out to @sheenaphua after one of her posts on social media upset some within and outside of our community. They demanded an apology. We however feel that actions speak louder than words.

Sheena took us up on our offer to visit one of our Gurdwaras and learn more about our community. When we met, Sheena also shared about her community and some of her experiences growing up in Singapore.

By her own admission, she shared that she didn’t know much about the Sikh community. She didn’t have or know of any Sikhs who may have been at school with her. Now that we know her better, would it still be fair to say that she should have known better when she initially put up her post that some found offensive? We all have our own experiences that inform what and how much we know about others in our community.

Also, don’t we all hope that when we make a mistake and cause unintended offence or hurt, that others will show us empathy, be understanding and forgiving? Better yet, when we make mistakes, don’t we all hope that we can expect people will act on their convictions and reach out to us in friendship, as opposed to reacting based on emotions and pointing fingers to blame.

We are grateful @sheenaphua you made the time to meet us this weekend and hopefully enjoyed what we feel was a meaningful experience for all of us! 😃🙏

In addition to learning about the Sikh community, our Gurdwaras, we also did some Sewa together today and enjoyed some Langgar ❤

Sheena also gave us an idea for an initiative YSA could take on in future. She felt like her, many would also appreciate a less structured visit to a place of worship and learn through conversations and sharing our experiences. We think we just might take this up next year!

[Taken from YSA Singapore Facebook page]

 

RELATED STORY:

Harbans Singh: Singapore’s interfaith torchbearer (Asia Samachar, 13 Oct 2016)

 

ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: editor@asiasamachar.com | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here |

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