Dear Senator, Singapore is not in China

A senator’s aggressive questioning basically united most of Singapore overnight

Shawn Seah
6 min readFeb 2, 2024


Clifford Pier in Singapore. Photograph by writer.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or living without electricity, you would have heard about United States Senator Tom Cotton repeatedly asking a Singaporean Mr Chew about his ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

And in clips that have since gone viral, especially in Asia, Mr Chew replies repeatedly, “I’m Singaporean!

Personally, I had to check if National Day came early (just joking).

While I’m genuinely proud of my home country, the words “I’m Singaporean” do not really come up often in international news.

There is so much to unpack here.

First, let’s start with the positives and get them out of the way. (You know it’s more in the Singaporean psyche to complain, rather than praise.)

Many Singaporeans and I love it that Mr Chew’s reply is “I’m Singaporean!”

Seriously, we do.

It’s all over Facebook, Twitter, the news here.

I think it’s great that Mr Chew’s replies have galvanised many Singaporeans in the defence of common sense, and as an incidental by-product, some semblance of what Singapore identity is. United in their annoyance, many Singaporeans are mocking what appears to be blatant ignorance. This fiasco also provides an opportunity to share more about what and where Singapore is.

Many people on Medium are readers, and readers should (at least in theory) be smarter and more educated presumably, so they should have no problems at all realising that Mr Chew’s bewildered (or is it annoyed?) look reflects the fact that Singapore is not in China.

As a matter of fact, Singapore is thousands of miles away from China and is a totally separate, sovereign, and independent country. China is a different country up north while we are in Southeast Asia, in between our neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia, along the equator.

We are a small and open country, with a multi-racial, multi-cultural make-up, and while it is true that we do have Chinese…



Shawn Seah

Singaporean writer and public speaker, passionate about education, social issues, and local history and community stories.