Elitism in Singapore: Samantha of Holland Village vs The Heartlanders

A caller, Samantha, who expressed that heartlanders were not cultured and should not come to Holland Village unless they behaved better has got many people in Singapore shocked and riled up. Reeks of elitism to me. Did she realize what hot soup she was getting into? I didn’t even realize there was a distinction between Singaporeans. Plain wrong.

She has apologized since and radio DJ Rod Monteiro on Radio’s 91.3FM felt that perhaps she said all those things in frustration, not realizing how bad it sounded in the heat of the moment.

I don’t like that the demeaning B word is used in the title of the video, but I don’t know how to remove it. And I think if she’s learned her lesson everyone can stop bashing her. I still find it scary how the internet can turn on one individual and it must be pretty scary for her. She sounds really young and probably did not realize what she was proposing. She sounds like she was only in her late teens or early twenties. Not an excuse, but I tend to think let’s just forgive and more on. In this internet era, the witch hunt mentality scares me. Even though she doesn’t sound apologetic.

But on the other hand the whole thing feels so unreal that some people think it might have been a publicity stunt? I have no clue but I’m leaning towards it being the real rantings of a clueless girl. I am just waiting for someone to come up with a funny parody.


Here was Maddy’s response in defense of the rest of us heartlanders. I like the Dj’s hilarious responses.

And here is Samantha’s apology on the same radio show, The Married Men.

Here’s a hilarious post by Krisandro for the rest of us to mind our boundaries and keep out of atas holland village.

This is an extract from The Straits Times and you can follow the link to read the full article:

THE woman who pitted Holland Village against the heartlanders of Singapore has apologised on public radio.

She once again called 91.3FM’s The Married Men on Friday morning and said that she wanted to retract her words expressed on radio in the above show, about the heartlanders of Singapore.

Known only as Samantha, she further explained that she was at a Starbucks outlet at Holland Village on Wednesday when she heard vulgarities from two men dressed in slippers and shorts.

She was ticked off by their actions and dressing and decided to call in to 91.3FM’s The Married Men – on Wednesday – to rant.

It caused a stir online among netizens, and on Facebook too among friends who found links to the broadcast segment.

The show has a daily segment for Singaporeans to call in and air their grievances. Nothing is off limits as the station does not want to restrict its listeners………….

91.3FM then opened the telephone lines once again and another woman, Maddy, called in to express her views.

She introduced herself as living in Bedok. To this, Samantha let out an audible ‘Oh my God’ in the phone exchange on radio.

The two argued for five minutes. Maddy defended heartlanders, stating that they are ‘pretty much well-educated and pretty much carry themselves well’.

Samantha refused to give in and said that heartlanders needed to stay were they were.

Maddy asked her: ‘Every heartlander earns their money, so why can’t we go (to Holland Village)?’

To this, Samantha questioned heartlanders’ ability to afford the things that people in Holland Village enjoyed, such as a bowl of laksa, which she claims is more expensive in Holland Village than in Bedok.

This saga reminds me of the racist rant of the student in UCLA. I was outraged when I first saw the video. But the student, Alexandra Wallace has since face death threats and has had to quit University which to me is a pity. I think she must have learnt her lesson since. Although in both cases people question the sincerity of the apology.


Is it wrong for me to be outraged at the bigotry, but at the same time still feel sorry for these young girls for just being totally ignorant?

Here are some comments from readers of Yahoo Singapore in response to Samantha.

Said Isaac Moss, “Samantha, are you one of those rich, spoilt brat girls? Shame on you for making those comments.”

Another Yahoo! user, Homeless Lim, said, “Please don’t stereotype, stay humble.”

Popular radio deejay Rod Monteiro, one-third of The Married Men, earlier told Yahoo! Singapore that listeners who responded after the show unanimously disapproved of Samantha’s remarks.

Monteiro, who lives in Siglap, said, “It’s not just the locals, even expats thought what she said was unwarranted. Even a foreigner living in Simei called in to say Samantha’s comments were elitist.”

“Personally, I feel that it’s one people, one nation, one Singapore. It’s not really about how we dress. Of course, we should dress well while eating at posh restaurants, but when it comes to eating at Holland Village’s coffee shops, people should be allowed to wear what they want,” he added.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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10 Responses to Elitism in Singapore: Samantha of Holland Village vs The Heartlanders

  1. kirsten says:

    I do think they were completely wrong and out of line for what they said. It reflects extremely badly on them – elitism for one and racism for the other.

    At the same time, I do think that the price they have had to pay since might be a little much. Actually, I don’t really know what price Samantha has had to pay but for Alexandra Wallace to have to leave university is a little bit sad, I think. Watching her rant I don’t think she’s really a bad person or anything, and it’s a bit sad if she has had to pay such a high price for a misguided moment. She’s probably learnt her lesson now.

    I still don’t think I’m going to want to be friends with Alexandra Wallace any time soon anyway, but I think maybe she shouldn’t be made to pay such a high price.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Yeah I too was afraid for her with the death threats. She was just completely clueless about how racist she was being.

      Yikes, now that I’ve heard it, Samantha’s apology doesn’t sound very sincere though and hopefully she learns as she matures.

  2. I hope I’m not going to get blasted for this, but I think that the 2 cases were totally blown out of proportion. In the Holland V case, people shouldn’t think of this as atas people against heartlanders. Rather, ask yourselves, if you are in some nice place, would you like it if people were talking loudly behind you and generally not acting graciously? Anyone would agree that for a posh restaurant, the decorum required is totally different from that of a hawker centre.

    As for the USA girl, once again, people think it’s an issue of ang moh vs asians. I choose to see it differently. Anyone talking on cellphones in the library or lectures is a no-no. If asians tend to be the ones that do this, then these asians who do so must reflect and change for the better. Wasn’t that the original message to begin with?

    Let’s put things in context. If some heartlander called in to say that heartlanders with no manners should not go to HV, would the message be taken more positively?
    If it were an asian chiding other asians for using cellphones in the library, would the message be taken more positively?

    • Heng Wangxing says:

      I don’t think the Holland V incident was blown out of proportion. There were far more things implied in this person’s comments than just that the heartlanders should have better manners in a more posh setting.

      As for the UCLA matter, the original message seemed to me, to be American Manners versus the lack of American Manners (especially Asians). However, the insensitivity in which the girl chose to present this perceived problem, is not an example of manners. It was thus inevitable that in this day and age, she received such a huge avalanche of condemnation.

      What exactly is ‘blown out of proportion’, when you openly put a post up on a forum attended by nothing less than a large proportion of the connected world? I will be surprised if it failed to attract the attention it did.

  3. Al says:

    I’ve contemplated over commenting on Holland V girl’s remarks… I came from the media line (I really shouldn’t be telling people this!!) and many times, remarks like those are actually scripted and orchestrated by the radio station to create buzz to win audiences.

    I don’t know if Sam is a made-up character or real, but she her comments did sound practised to my ears.

  4. manake P. says:

    Samantha has learnt a lesson a very hard way. let her live and allow her to grow in this small city.she has enough problems to live with after this incident. I guess what she needs most now is to be forgiven. Anyone oculd have made a mistake adn would like to be forgiven and accpeted too, don’t you?

    • bookjunkie says:

      Yeah I think she has been bombarded enough. If she’s a real person and not a hoax than it must be pretty scary for her.

      • Heng Wangxing says:

        I’m not sure what kind of lesson she learned, what with an insincere apology, save for:

        “At least I was smarter than Alexandra and did not Youtube this with my face for the whole world to see, identify, and crucify”.

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