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Singaporeans eat curry to spice up their protest

It takes a lot to start a mass campaign with political overtones in Singapore, but there's no better catalyst than food.

world Updated: Aug 21, 2011 23:37 IST

It takes a lot to start a mass campaign with political overtones in Singapore, but there's no better catalyst than food.

Thousands of people in the Southeast Asian city-state said they would cook or eat curry on Sunday in a protest highlighting growing anger over increased immigration.

The campaign began after an immigrant family from China complained about the smell of curry from a Singaporean Indian neighbour’s home.

A Facebook page devoted to the row after reports were published in a local newspaper has drawn over 57,600 members, many of who said they were cooking curry on Sunday in a show of solidarity with the Indian family.

“Because we live in Singapore and it is such a cramped place, neighbours should understand each others’ culture,” said Stanley Wong, 37, an accountant who helped organised the Facebook page.

He, his dozen friends and family were gathering in a small government-built flat for a potluck curry dinner.

Most of the diners were ethnic Chinese, like the overwhelming majority of Singapore’s 5.1 million people. But residents say curry is a Singaporean dish and that immigrants, including those from mainland China, should accept it is part of the local culture.

“The case could create problems with the integration of foreign nationals,” said Florence Leow, a freelance writer, who also was one of the organisers of the event.