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Google takes down guide on how to harass Filipinos in Singapore

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Google takes down guide on how to harass Filipinos in Singapore

/ 04:15 AM June 21, 2014
Google

AP FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE—Curtailment of freedom of speech or not, Filipinos are happy that the blog they regard as a racial slur is finally off Google—at least.

Google has taken down the blog that listed ways to harass Singapore’s Filipino population, drawing praise from Internet users appalled by growing racial tensions in the city-state.

Police earlier said they were investigating the anonymous “Blood-Stained Singapore” blog, which suggested Singaporeans should refuse to be served by Filipinos in restaurants, or “accidentally” shove them in crowded places.

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Hate speech policy

In a post titled “Filipino infestation in Singapore 5-point guide to showing displeasure without breaking the law,” the blog also advised Singaporeans not to help Filipinos involved in traffic accidents.

The blog, which surfaced in late May, was no longer available by late Thursday.

A Google spokesperson said she could not comment on individual cases but confirmed that the US Web giant removes material from Blogger that violates its policy on hate speech.

The Filipino community in Singapore is estimated at more than 170,000, many of them professionals seen by some Singaporeans as rivals for jobs—a sharp change from a decade ago, when most Filipinos in the city-state worked as domestic helpers.

Singaporeans make up just over 60 percent of the 5.4 million population, with a low fertility rate forcing the government to rely heavily on guest workers.

Widespread indignation

The influx of foreign workers in general, many of them from China and India, has sparked a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment.

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The blog had triggered indignation among Filipinos at home and abroad, with some calling for countermeasures against Singaporeans.

The Philippine Embassy had urged Singaporean authorities to take action against the blogger.

The embassy said it had requested officials to “carry out the necessary action in accordance with the laws of Singapore to make the author of this blog answerable.”

‘Vile and vicious’

Google’s decision to remove the blog drew mostly positive reactions from Singaporeans online, including the Cabinet minister in charge of approving foreign worker permits.

“Vile and vicious blogs like this do not reflect who we are as a people,” Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said in a Facebook post.

But others questioned whether the move stymied freedom of speech in Singapore.

“Hooray for a democratic country which forcefully shuts the mouths of her citizens!” wrote Titus Lin on the Facebook page of national broadcaster Channel NewsAsia.

Abusive comments

Earlier, a Philippine Independence Day celebration in Singapore was scrapped after organizers faced online abuse and threats.

Anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise in some segments of Singapore’s local population, with many complaining that foreigners compete with them for jobs, housing, medical care as well as space on public transport.

This is despite a per capita income of $55,183, one of the highest in the world, and an unemployment rate of just over two percent.

Singapore’s leading activist groups in May warned of a surge in “widespread use of racist, aggressive and militarized rhetoric” against foreigners on social networks.

Abusive comments are usually posted on anonymously run local websites and Facebook pages. With a report from AFP

 Originally posted: :21 pm | Friday, June 20th, 2014

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TAGS: Blogs, Employment, Hate Blog, Migrant Workers, OFW, Racism, Singapore
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