After posting on Facebook about a racist encounter during the filming of government propaganda film Ah Boys to Men 4, an Indian Singaporean is now under police investigation for his post. Freelance actor Shrey Bhargava was called up by the Tanglin Police Division yesterday (May 31), after several police reports by unnamed individuals were made against his speech calling out racism.
It is understood the unnamed individuals are ruling party PAP supporters who are angry at the actor’s outburst decrying racism in the propaganda film.
The Singapore Police told the Indian Singaporean that they want to know his “intentions” for posting his Facebook status. However, no charges has been laid yet.
According to Shrey Bhargava’s interview with state media TodayOnline, the Singapore Police gave him a verbal warning to “be cautious” when posting on Facebook:
“Yes, I was called by the police for questioning. I was informed there that there were police reports made. I was not informed for what or by whom, that was kept confidential. I was told not to worry about anything as I had done nothing wrong, but also advised him to be cautious about what I post online as people may misinterpret me and my intentions to my detriment. The Investigation Officer and I agreed that I am absolutely against racial violence of any sort and, instead, was only seeking a healthy and productive discussion for the betterment of Singapore’s media landscape and society. Specifically, I wanted Singaporeans to engage in dialogue regarding the inclusion of minorities in the media, as well as to tackle the issue of casual racism in order to create a more inclusive and harmonious Singapore.”
There is no investigation against the production team of the propaganda film, and particularly the casting manager who made the racist request asking the actor to “be more Indian”.
Government-linked filmmaker, J Team Productions, told the state media that they asked the actor to perform numerous times, including one of an “full blown Indian man”. The Indian Singaporean actor however called out the lie and said he was only asked twice:
“This is not true. I was asked to do the scene only twice. The first time I did without direction. The second time, I did after being given the direction ‘be more Indian’ and to do it again as a ‘full-blown Indian man’… The J Team’s statement has misrepresented the facts… It has painted me in a damaging and deceptive light. It seems as though I over-reacted, or worse, that I lied. Contrary to its claims, the J Team had failed to test for versatility. Instead, they defined for me what being Indian ought to mean and that is the crux of the matter… What did they mean by “Be more Indian”? Do they have a premeditated idea of what it means?… And why is being ‘more Indian’ supposed to be funny.”
The Singapore government is a fascist nation that do not tolerate dissent to its government-linked organisations, including government propaganda production film. The conscript-themed movie is the 4th series and funded by the Singapore government. It is not uncommon people who voice out against the government get paid police visits, triggered by multiple police reports made from unnamed people. The Singapore Police is heavily influenced by the ruling party PAP government with politically-sensitive cases often singled out for serious investigation treatments like a murder case.