Words: A Letter to Rob Monaco and Gary Tan

Firstly i would like to start off with quoting the statement from Rob Monaco, ‘The reason why restaurants and hotels discriminate against you is because your behaviour ranks somewhere in between pack wolves and chimpanzees are the local zoo. If you guys don’t smell so bad and learnt some manners, maybe they’ll treat you better.’ – American working in Singapore.

If you are reading this, Rob Monaco. I would like to apologize for your negative experiences in Singapore. I don’t blame you for saying these things, as we all know, in every society, there are people whom are ‘nice’ and there are people whom are not as gracious. I think that perhaps you might have run into many of the less gracious people in Singapore and on their behalf I would like to apologize to you. However, I feel that you are not doing justice to both yourself, your country and to the country that you are working in by making this sweeping statement. As an expat, I am sure that you do not often socialize with singaporeans. Yes we are known to be ‘Kiasu’ and sometimes a little bit rushed, or hasty in the way we do things. Especially when we have to que for things.

Though, I would like to tell you, most Singaporeans aren’t chimps or wolves whom are out to hurt or agitate you or your family. Most Singaporeans are actually very nice, friendly and homely, once you get to know and accept them. I am a Singaporean, I have no answer to whether I am proud to be one, however, what I do know from living in Singapore and growing up here is that the society might sometimes seem austere or cold towards foreigners because of the job scarcity, or their resentment towards the immigration policies of the government.

We appreciate that you are here, working and contributing to the growth of our country, no matter what your motivations or reasons might be. I think that this would apply to other foreigners as well. We as Singaporeans have also not learned to accept the vast culture of the foreigners that are in Singapore. The Indian and Chinese immigrants especially. We have more or less gotten accustomed to ‘ang mohs’ or caucasians as you would call yourselves.

To the Singporeans that feel that you have been short changed, or treated unfairly such as Gary Tan. Please, consider that sometimes there are situations where yes, you might be treated unfairly, however, alsoider that you could have done something on the spot, instead of complaining over the internet and trying to gather support from your fellow Singaporeans. You could have spoken directly to the staff, maybe come up with an excuse, to get that table that you wanted. Learn, to get what you want by asking; you should not have been unhappy about that circumstance, brooding to the point you’d post it online. Perhaps, that ‘Ang Moh’ that you saw in Wild Honey, really did come up with an excuse stating that he wanted a table for 3. Either that or he simply asked nicely to be seated there, not stating that there would not be a third person joining them. Who knows?

I feel this is something that we as Singaporeans can learn from the ‘Ang Mohs’ in our society. Often as Singaporeans we are afraid to ask, afraid to speak up in real life situations. I mean I know some of you may not admit it, but for myself, I admit that sometimes I feel that I REALLY REALLY want that seat, however, I find myself unable to speak up, and settling for my 2nd choice. Later on, when I really do just ask the staff nicely to change seats, they would actually do it, without consideration. I think we Singaporeans feel that we are unfairly treated, however I feel that it is our own innate culture, the fear of speaking out, or the fear of asking for what we want, that often causes that unfair treatment, especially in the service industry.

This repressed anger, and unhappiness, is often why we look upon foreigners with disdain, and I think that we should change that. Blaming others means that we as Singaporeans are not doing ourselves any justice at all. It further sometimes perpetuates the ‘perriwinkle syndrome’ that Singaporeans have. Many Singaporeans feel that they are inferior to ‘Ang Mohs’ due to “class”, culuture or social standing, however, if you ALWAYS feel that way, you will always BE that way. Behaviour is often a result of the indoctrination by repeated instances of feelings, beliefs usually a result of the unwillingness to change that paradigm.

I know some of you may argue that, MAYBE THAT IS YOU, WE DO NOT FEEL INFERIOR TO ANG MOHS, but really, that is a very weak excuse. Gary Tan, when he was at Wild Honey,

“So this guy, a Singaporean, Gary, was waiting to go in and asked for a table in the corner but was denied as it was for three, and they were but two. “However, just after him, a foreigner with a companion also asked for the table and was given the table. “Gary then posted his complaint on the Wild Honey facebook page, only to receive 1) a not-so-nice remark from the Director of Wild Honey himself, and 2) an insult from a man who says he is an American expat”

Perhaps he needs to think about his actions, firstly by posting online, obviously he has some kind of feeling that the service staff seem to view ‘Ang Mohs’ as superior to himself, especially when he stated that the person was a foreigner. Also, it shows his lack of resolve to speak to the staff about his dissatisfaction directly, The phrase, Strike while the Iron is Hot, if at that instance you feel that there is a problem, directly approach the staff again and speak to them. They will not be happy yes, but it is better than allowing the matter to simmer and to boil in your system.

Whatever Rob Monaco said, was insulting, and is not the right way to phrase it, however I feel that his statements were probably his belief system interacting with the experiences that he has so far had in Singapore. For that I feel only sympathy for him.







  1. Rob Monaco is either a troll or a prick. If he is a troll, then we should not feed him. If he is a prick, we should do what we do to all pricks — stick him in a dark place and forget about him till we need to take a piss.

    What he said was bigoted and insulting — it’s something that would deserve a punch in the nose if said in public. So there is no need to apologize or explain yourself to him. I suspect though, from the way he spelt ‘behaviour’, he isn’t actually American. Or, to be as bigoted as him, the fact that he actually made it through an entire paragraph without a typo marks him decisively as non-American.

    1. haha whether or not he’s an american does not matter, I feel really sorry for him that he feels that way, it seems that he has had many bad encounters, with people whom are perhaps maybe less polite. Or again, it could be his perception of things, but still it’s a pretty sorry state to be working in a place you hate, don’t you think so?

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