(K Rajamani): AFTER watching the Fried Rice Paradise musical recently, I was disappointed that the producers made the actress playing Devi speak with an unusually heavy accent.
Singaporean Indians don’t speak in such a manner and as far as I am aware, Indians who come from abroad also don’t speak like that.
While I understand the producers need to make the musical funny, should a person’s accent be made the “laugh factor” in a musical that is meant to celebrate racial harmony in Singapore?
I feel that the producers could have done better research to reflect the races more accurately.
The concept of caricature is apparently lost on Ms Rajamani, for the only reason why we find accent mocking funny is because somewhere out there, sometime now or in the past, there are/were real people who talk the way exactly as we portray them to be for entertainment. I have never watched Dick Lee’s musical, but I’m sure there’s more in his mixbag of comedic tricks than relying on heavy Indian accents. Of course, poking fun of Indian accents and culture is not exclusive to Singaporeans, but to most countries with a substantial Indian diaspora e.g the British Goodness Gracious Me. Accusing non-Indian radio DJs of mocking it is one thing, to call to arms over white men mocking it ‘blackface’ style is reasonable, but to complain about an Indian performer doing it is like berating Chinese men for manually slanting their eyes and wearing pigtails. For God’s sake, how many family-themed comedies do you know where actors speak like normal people? If exaggeration were the spice of life, I can’t imagine how bland the complainant’s existence must be.