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Ex-Google Managing Director Shocked to Learn That M’sians Refer to Sikhs as Bengalis During Visit Here


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Source: Tatler Asia Group & The Star

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A renowned figure in global technology and media organisations recently took to social media to share a fascinating fact that took him by surprise while on a visit to Malaysia.

Parminder Singh, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Tatler Asia and former Managing Director at Google and Twitter revealed that in Malaysia, Sikhs are often referred to as Bengalis, something that is incorrect as both terms refer to 2 different communities at different geographical locations.


The fascinating history of why Sikhs are referred to as Bengalis in Malaysia


Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Parminder, who is a Punjabi from North India, revealed that he learned about this interesting fact during a recent Vipassana meditation retreat in Malaysia from some fellow Malaysian Indians.

He further elaborated on the fascinating history behind this, which dates back to British colonisation time in both India and Malaysia.

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Parminder singh

Parminder asserted,

“British India had 3 seaports – Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. British Malaya was served by ships from Calcutta and Madras. Most North Indians used the Calcutta port, the majority of whom were Sikhs recruited for the army, police and security jobs.”

“To the Malay people, everyone who didn’t come from Madras, essentially everyone from North India, was a Bengali!”

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For illustration purposes

The Tatler Asia COO added that some Malaysian Indians even insisted on calling him Parry Dada, the Bengali term for elder brother, during his visit, which is the opposite of how many North Indians such as him tend to label everyone from the South as “Madrasis“.


This apparently doesn’t happen in Singapore

In the replies, Parminder also noted that despite Malaysia’s proximity and shared history with Singapore, this doesn’t happen in the island nation.

The former Google Managing Director revealed that after 14 years of being in Singapore, Sikhs in the country are commonly known as ‘Singhs’ and are not confused with Bengalis anymore.

He then offered 2 reasons behind this, 1stly because of how Sikhs have held prominent positions in Singapore’s history. 2ndly, the country requires citizens to do National Service and every Singaporean seems to have a story about their ‘Singh’ batchmate from the army.

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For illustration purposes

Pretty fascinating stuff! So, what do you guys think of Parminder’s observation? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!


Also read: Did You Know That the Famous Raya Song “Bersama Di Hari Raya” was Sung by Indian Sisters?

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Source: The Star
Source: Asiasamachar

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