Surekha Ragavan
Jul 10, 2020

Singapore’s top influencer investigated for racist tweets, use of N-word

Wendy Cheng, aka Xiaxue, stands by her stance in a defensive blogpost, and one brand has already pulled a partnership with her.

L-R: Cheng in a publicity photo, Instagram post showing a Tweet from 2010.
L-R: Cheng in a publicity photo, Instagram post showing a Tweet from 2010.

Popular Singaporean blogger and influencer Wendy Cheng, known as Xiaxue, is currently being investigated by the police following a complaint about Tweets she published in the past. While she has defended her posts in a blog post, at least one brand has cut ties with her.

The offending Tweets—now deleted but visible in an Instagram post (apparently by the person who filed the complaint) and in Cheng's own blog post—display Cheng’s accusations against, according to her, “a particular nationality, not race”.

In the blog post, in which she finger-points Little India, it can be surmised that the group she refers to is South Asian migrant workers. She also indicates—without evidence—that sexual assault is systemically committed by migrant workers more so than by Singaporean men or any other race.

Another Tweet that she is being investigated for is one from 2017 that used the N-word. She also defended this in her blog post, writing, “The N-word is so powerful now that even spelling it in a tweet to explain context is racist. It has Voldemort status now. This is getting f*cking ludicrous.”

Recently, Cheng labelled Worker’s Party candidate Raeesah Khan a racist. Khan was also investigated by police, last week, for her Tweets that called out Singaporean-Chinese and white-expat privilege in the country. Social data from Isentia showed that many users displayed support and solidarity for Khan as the hashtag #IStandWithRaeesah trended on Twitter.

Mothership reported that beauty brand Fresh ended its partnership with Cheng in response to the tirade of commenters who spoke out against her on Instagram. Other brands that have partnered with her include Caltex and Brother alongside a host of beauty and retail brands.

Cheng told Mothership that she was “disappointed” with the brands’ decisions but understands where they are coming from, as they were being “harassed by trolls”. She continued to say that the “woke mob” represent a very tiny and loud minority.

“I think brands should realise that it is a losing battle for us because every time you embolden the mob, they grow stronger," she wrote. "They believe they’re more powerful, and it entices them to continue in this very toxic behaviour.” She called the comments “blackmail” and continued to say that if brands do not give in to the demands of the mob, their sales “will not be largely affected” after the controversy dies in a couple of weeks.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

����‍♀️ ⠀ Authenticity > money. I’ve been posting unpopular views since 2003. ⠀ Blogged when nobody was paying me, will continue to post if nobody is paying me now either. You want politically correct influencers who grovel and backtrack at every criticism and give fake apologies you can find them a dime a dozen. You may not like my views but I have a right to say them. ⠀ You are not going to bully me into silence, or force me to be a hypocritical woke sheep like you, echoing the same tired sanctimonious virtue-signaling crap every other person on social media is repeating ad nauseam. It’s like all of you are infected by the same mind virus. Blah blah patriarchy blah blah intersectionality blah blah internalized systemic institutional structuralism blah blah cis-heteronormative inclusivity representation acknowledge your privilege blah blah blah. Dude. Have some original thought. And here’s something that will shock you: if your ideologies are all backed up by giant corporations, you are not that radical. ⠀ I post not to please you. I post because I think it’s important to have diverse viewpoints out there for people to decide for themselves. Why? Are your arguments so weak you want to shut down anyone who disagrees with you? ⠀ I have the strength to carry on no matter how hard you fuckers try to bring me down because my supporters expect me to always be real, and to say the hard truths on their behalf when they can’t. Facts are sometimes not nice, but someone has to say it. If it has to be me, so be it. You hateful people don’t matter. My supporters that have been here for years and years matter. #punishxiaxue

A post shared by Wendy Cheng �� Xiaxue (@xiaxue) on


In an Instagram post following the investigation, Cheng said:

You are not going to bully me into silence, or force me to be a hypocritical woke sheep like you, echoing the same tired sanctimonious virtue-signaling crap every other person on social media is repeating ad nauseam. It’s like all of you are infected by the same mind virus. Blah blah patriarchy blah blah intersectionality blah blah internalized systemic institutional structuralism blah blah cis-heteronormative inclusivity representation acknowledge your privilege blah blah blah.

This is not the first time Cheng has been embroiled in criticism. In 2006, she lamented the number of South Asian migrant workers on popular shopping strip Orchard Road. She was known in the same year to have called for a ban of migrant workers on Orchard Road. She said: "I heard Orchard Road was full of [foreign workers], molesting and spraying our girls!! Why are we sharing Orchard Road with them?!"

Last year, when Mediacorp put out an ad featuring a Singaporean-Chinese actor in brownface, Cheng defended the notion of brownface, saying that what matters should be “intent” above all else. She said in a discussion video about the issue: “For example, if I’m in Halloween makeup and if I’m doing Beyoncé because I love her, why is that considered blackfacing?”

She continued to say in the video: “I don’t feel like it’s fair to say that any race in Singapore is being particularly oppressed because I feel like Singapore is quite meritocratic.

From another 2005 post that sparked outrage, Cheng argued that disabled toilets should be able to be used by everyone. She said: “So tell me… our government spent millions of taxpayers’ money to build so many facilities for the physically disabled, and only they are allowed to use it?” Her post led to two sponsors cancelling their deals.

On the subject of climate change, she labelled Greta Thunberg’s speech at the UN Climate Action Summit last year as “one-dimensional”, “hysterical”, “melodramatic”, “cringey” and “dangerous”.

Cheng is a Singaporean blogger who often publishes posts about her life in Singapore. She is largely considered to be a ‘pioneer’ in the blogging and influencer sphere in Southeast Asia. She also owns Plastic Cosmetics, a make-up line.

From a MoneySmart post, Singapore-based influencers with upwards of 500,000 followers are estimated to receive SG$3,000 (US$2,155) per paid post. Cheng currently has 602,000 followers on Instagram.

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