The internet had been buzzing last week in Singapore when a lady recounted her encounter with a boy who was prominently displaying the Nazi symbol on his clothing and accessories.
By that I mean he’s decked out like he’s going to one of Hitler’s party rallies.
While the Swastika is by itself a fairly benign symbol (used various religions like Hinduism and Buddhism), it has gotten an undeserved notoriety after being co-opted by Adolf Hitler and becoming a symbol of the Nazi party.
Daisy Mitchell had a chat with the boy to explain why exactly wearing the symbol of one of evilest regime known to man isn’t exactly a great fashion choice.
Now, you have to understand, wearing a swastika isn’t wrong. Wearing a swastika in black and red that looks exactly like the Nazi party symbol? That is.
She detailed out the conversation she had with the boy in a lengthy Facebook page, and with that one thing led to another, and eventually, a police report was made against the boy by one of the Mitchell’s readers.
I’m not here defending the boy’s choice in fashion.
The Nazi regime is a blight upon the world and I’m glad it’s gone. The Third Reich and all of Hitler’s genocidal beliefs belong buried in the past. The horrors the regime visited upon the Jews, Roma and other undesirables (which is everybody that isn’t Aryan according to their dogma) should be taken to heart and never repeated.
It does however, bring up how locals (and Asians as a whole), don’t have the same kind of loathing for the Nazi that Western nations do.
It’s understandable Thailand would have a lingering love for Nazi Germany.
After all, the country was a puppet state of Imperial Japan and was a participant in the World War II, on the side of the Axis.
Which brings me to my next point, Japan.
The fascination with Germany in Japanese culture is still strong to this day. It’s especially prevalent in anime and otaku culture especially.
Or what about this report about a school in Taiwan dressing up in whole Nazi regalia?
In a sense, because World War II in the East was fought against Japan, most of us here have a blindspot against the atrocities the Nazis committed in the West.
As Asians, we were taught of the horrors that they brought upon the Jews. We know how Hitler decimated them and others that he deemed unworthy to live in his Reich.
That horror however, is abstract to us.
Asians didn’t suffer under Nazism, we were all under the yolk of Imperial Japan instead.
I know that under the Penal Code of Section 298A in Singapore, it is technically a crime to showcase symbols that are known to promote enmity.
However, in that boy’s defense, he has the stupidity of youth on his side. He’s 15! A minor, a kid and not one who should be held accountable for his (tactless) fashion choices.
The minor had a different set of views, and he even admitted that he doesn’t completely agree with everything the Nazi did. He even made an effort to explain his viewpoint to the lady who confronted him. To his credit, he wasn’t goose-stepping or giving everybody the Nazi salute.
The boy didn’t realize what he did was tactless simply because he doesn’t see it that way.
Perhaps more should be done to educate the masses about World War II but it’s also critical to see this from an Asian perspective.
We all do agree on one thing though; Nazism is evil, no matter what the form.