Hello Trouble

Highlight of Valentines Day took the shape a “romantic” flick on Netflix called “Namaste Wahala,” which has labeled as a “Bollywood-Nollywood” collaboration and tells the story of an Indian investment banker based on Lagos Nigeria who falls in love with a Nigerian Lawyer called Didi.

Photo: The Indian Express

The plot is cheesy (they fall in love after colliding on the beach), which is part of the fun. There are the usual Bollywood dance scenes too, though the songs are for the most part in English. Having said all that, there is an underlying story, which is the story of acceptance of someone from a different culture.

The first scene starts out when he visits her parents. Like a good Indian boy, his automatic reaction is to touch the feet of his perspective in laws. Upon seeing him, her father spits out his drink and goes utterly nuts. She tries to assure her father that “he is a good man,” to which he replies “there are plenty of good men, who are Nigerian.”

The second culture clash comes when his mother makes a surprise visit and when he introduces her as his “girlfriend,” the reply from mummy is “Oh, you mean a friend who is a girl or a female colleague,” refusing to accept that the young African girl in front of her could be anything else to her son.

I bring this up because interracial relations are probably the last frontier of cracking racial and cultural divides. In our “modern – multi this and that” age, we’ll make a song and dance about acceptance and diversity until it hits home. This was brought home most clearly in the famous 1967 movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” staring Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier. The shock of having a “black” son-in-law is one thing, but its compounded by the fact that he marched along with the civil rights movement. The father, played by Spencer Tracy is a liberal who believes in equal rights to the black community but even then, it’s a struggle for him to accept a black son-in-law who is exceedingly qualified (he is a medical doctor). In fairness, the father of Sidney Poitier’s character also thinks the “black and white” mix won’t work.

Much as differences are praised, we often look for similarities, particularly when it comes to something as sensitive as a life partner. It’s admittedly easier to have someone who looks similar, speaks the same language, goes to the same church/temple/mosque etc and follows the same dietary laws. People end up with people who are similar for the simple reason that it doesn’t require too much ‘of a tough compromise. It’s a different story when you spend your life with someone who is immersed in personal values which are fundamentally different from yours.

This struggle is seen most clearly in the movie when the girl tells her mother, “You of all people should understand – you’re a Youroba Woman who married an Igbo Man.” The mother’s reply is “I just don’t’ want you to go through the struggle.” The daughter’s reply is “Yes, but wasn’t it worth it?”

Compromise does require struggle and it often requires a little pain for all parties. However, if both parties believe it’s a struggle worth going through, it often ends up being the case.

Which leads to the cheery point is that perhaps our efforts to be a “united” people might not be as bleak as I and a few others have often made them out to be. One of the more cheerful aspects from an otherwise depressing news report on marriages was the fact that the number of inter-ethnic marriages increased between 2009 and 2019, despite the fact that the overall number of marriages had fallen and the number of divorces and annulments had increased in that very same time period. [LINK]

This is probably a good sign in as much as people are willing to make cross cultural and ethnic compromises in the name of love. It will, as the famous fictional Senator Bullworth says a sign that we can “f*** each other until we’re all one colour.” Surely that can only be a good thing.


Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.




7 Responses to “Hello Trouble”


    The funny “thing” about Race…we are Descendants of Lucy from Africa or Adam & Eve from Eden…Did Cain & Able met Lucy since they are from the same region or CONtinent and Multiplication by Bobbie Darren started???

    This will Demolish the Incest “thinkers” and Create a whole New Dimension on why Race is still a subject of Debate & Raised Eyebrows…

    “I started a Joke” according to the Bee Gees and got the Whole World “thinking”

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  • Black Chink Tang:

    Tribute to: The ‘Chinks’ don’t get it? – Really?

    Hey, Tang Li!, use this caption instead:
    The ‘Ah-Nehs’ got it! – Really! Really! Really!

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  • Partial truth?:

    Bollywood movies minus all the unnecessary dancing and singing plus exaggerating fight scenes and loud noises when they punches , some are very good.

    Better than China movies. Recently watch China ‘s 陰陽師晴明集 online. Fall asleep. 八佰 ‘s good except ending where they evacuate botched the whole show. Purposely make it so dramatic by becoming canon fodders which in reality it never happen. Which officer in charge will evacuate this way.

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  • Partial truth?:

    Anyway end of 八佰 movie , if patience enough going thru the movie credit list the special effects are done by several ang mo companies. Music also ang mo music.

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  • #06-195 Huang Ba Dan Lady:

    Just stick to your own race. Cultural divides are hard to hard to overcome.

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  • Partial truth?:


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  • Soccerbetting2:

    Reported on mothership :Quote -”Travel…

    Taiwanese authorities are seeking help from the Singapore police.

    Joshua Lee | February 17, 2021, 06:36 PM

    The Taiwanese authorities have issued an arrest warrant against a Singaporean couple who allegedly dumped a newborn into a food recycling bin in Taipei in 2019.

    Taipei’s district prosecutor’s office has obtained “objective evidence” that the infant was alive at birth, reported Lianhe Zaobao. The case has been reclassified as a homicide.

    The district prosecutor’s office has also issued an arrest warrant against the couple, for suspected offences of homicide and disposal of the baby’s body.

    Singapore does not have an extradition treaty with Taiwan.

    The couple can only be arrested by Taiwanese authorities if they enter Taiwan. However, the Taiwanese authorities can request the Singapore police to help with obtaining evidence.

    According to Zaobao, the Singapore police is currently in contact with Taiwanese authorities, and waiting for a formal application to better understand the type of assistance the other party requires.

    Zaobao added that if the infant was still alive when she was left in the recycling bin by the man, he could be guilty of homicide. If convicted under Taiwanese law, he can be sentenced to death, life imprisonment, or at least 10 years in prison.

    As for the woman, if she was found guilty of killing her newborn, she may be jailed between six months and five years.

    Case background
    In February 2019, the body of a newborn girl was found in a recycling bin in New Taipei City. The baby was discovered with her 30cm umbilical cord and placenta intact by a recycling company employee.

    Investigations revealed that the baby was abandoned at Ximending, which is about 20 minutes away by car.

    Security footage from more than 100 closed-circuit television cameras and immigration records led the Taiwanese authorities to the couple..

    Security footage apparently revealed a man throwing the baby inside a black plastic bag and then dumping the bag into a container full of kitchen waste.

    The man was traced back to the hotel where he was staying with his girlfriend.

    Taiwanese police later confirmed that blood samples found in the hotel room where the couple stayed matched the DNA of the baby. Pieces of placenta were also found in the hotel room’s bathroom pipe.

    Eye witnesses told Apple Daily that the woman appeared to be pregnant when they arrived, but her belly went down significantly after they left.

    It is believed that the couple arrived in Taiwan on February 19, 2019 and left on February 26, 2019 after giving birth that day.

    When the couple was contacted by Shin Min Daily News, the man denied the accusations. He denied leaving his hotel room to throw away a plastic bag….”Unquote .

    Response : Evidence is clear with Taiwan .It is homicide with baby born alive. Singapore police no need to arrest couple and hand them over to Taiwan police meh ?

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