2013 Riot in Little India, Singapore?!
Rioting in Singapore appeared to be so distant that we would visualise this only in our Social Studies / National Education Textbooks. According to our nation’s history, the list of riots which have occurred before the 2013 Little India Riots are as follows:
- Maria Hertogh Riots – 11 December 1950
- 1954 National Service Riots – 13 May 1954
- Hock Lee Bus Riots – 12 May 1955
- Chinese Middle Schools Riots – 1956
- 1964 Race Riots – 21 July 1964
- 1969 Race Riots of Singapore – 1969
Little India Riots
Upset by the incident, the mob of Indian Foreign Workers (approximately 400 of them) started wrecking havoc by throwing objects like the rubbish bin at the private bus. Then the mob went unruly and damaged government property – including overturning the Police Cars and burning the Ambulance down.
Video Footage of the Riot
- The Foreign Workers were exploited at work and hence found an opportunity to vent their frustrations when one of their people were knocked down by the private bus
- The Foreign Workers were drunk during their usual gathering in Little India area
- The police did not handle the motor accident well and hence sparked off the dissent of the other foreign workers
Sweetie Muffin drove back to the hotel to observe the news with his family after sending me home. He managed to reach home unscathed after midnight when the situation was brought under control but was disgruntled that he had to work on the following day after not getting much sleep.
As alcohol might be one of the reasons which sparked off the riot, the government has decided to ban the sales of alcohol in the affected areas during weekends. Again, I logged onto my Facebook and saw endless criticisms against this measure. Singaporeans are fond of complaining, especially when they have enjoyed the peace and stability for so long and they are taking everything for granted. Sometimes, we just have to be more appreciative and less critical in order to be happy 🙂
Da Rabbit’s Take on the Riot
Like anyone else, I believe that there might be more underlying reasons behind the cause of the riot besides the influence of alcohol. Preventing the sales of alcohol at the affected area is not a fool-proof solution because if there is a will, there will always be a way, especially when we are dealing with drunkards. The potential rioters might gain access to alcohol via different means such as purchasing them on weekdays or elsewhere before bringing them into Little India where they always gather and hang around.
Instead, I think it would be good to have more police on patrol and to disperse the crowd whenever they gather together in flocks – if you are a frequent visitor to Little India, you will get my drift. During the night, you will see crowds and crowds of foreign workers gathering at the grass patches and along the streets of Little India. This creates an avenue for them to organise riots in the form of ‘illegal gatherings’. Also, these foreign workers might pose a threat to the bypassing vehicles as most of them do not abide the traffic rules and cross the roads recklessly. As a cautious driver, Sweetie Muffin would always slow his car down whenever he was driving along the roads of Little India, especially during the night where the visibility is poor. It is not easy to spot an Indian dashing / strolling across the roads at night unless they smile with their pearly whites flashing at you like headlights, you know?
I do not know how the fatal accident occurred and would not like to comment on that but certainly, I agree that the foreign workers have to be educated on how to cross the roads in Singapore and to abide by the traffic rules. The road does not belong to them or their grandfather’s and hence they should abide the traffic rules like how the locals would. They are the greatest road hazards in Little India if they continue to do so and not many are lucky to jaywalk across the streets without any mishap. So if you are to tell me that a traffic accident has happened in Little India, I will not be surprised at all.
The Little India Riot serves as a wake up call to all Singaporeans to be vigilant at all times. Also, we have to be thankful (yes be thankful in turbulent times like this) that this riot was sparked off by disgruntled foreign workers and not caused by our locals due to racial discord.
The Little India Riots is not a time for us to point fingers at each others and to criticise the government for their incapability to prevent the tragedy from happening. Rather, it is a time for us to stay united in order to maintain the peace of our homeland, Singapore.
I do hope that we can still be ONE People, ONE Nation, ONE SINGAPORE! Majulah Singapura (means “Onward Singapore” in Malay)!