I can’t believe a riot has happened in Singapore. Police cars being toppled, an ambulance set on fire, smashing of windows of a bus, mobs attacking each other and the authorities. The last riot we had was in the 1964 race riots. It is really surreal to watch it on the news and catching snippets of the action on social media. Singapore has zero tolerance for this kind of lawless and criminal behaviour and I hope the police will be able to complete their investigations and bring the offenders to justice.
We don’t have all the information yet but I am saddened by all the xenophobic responses from netizens in particular. Even though the riot took place at Little India and involved mainly South Asians, there is no excuse for making racist comments and generalisations.
These Indian and Bangladeshi construction workers are the same who build our houses, shopping malls and offices. They have left the comfort and familiarity of their homes and have come to Singapore to earn money to send home to their desperate families. Most of them come from extremely impoverished circumstances and to make things worse, the living conditions they have here in Singapore are not exactly ideal, with most of them sleeping and eating in cramped, unhygienic quarters.
I hope the government will not just arrest the troublemakers but also take the time to re-assess the way we are hiring, treating and paying our foreign workers. It is not an excuse for their behaviour but it should not be an excuse to make unfounded attacks on their entire race or country.
I pray that there will be peace in Singapore and that the authority of chaos will be broken. I pray that chaos and blind hatred will not reign supreme, but justice and order will prevail. I pray that our leaders will be able to make the right decisions with wisdom and compassion.
“On Dec 8 at 2123 hrs, a fatal traffic accident occurred between a private bus and a person at the junction of Race Course Road and Hampshire Road. Shortly after, a riot broke out involving a crowd of about 400 subjects where the subjects damaged 5 police vehicles and 1 ambulance. Several other private vehicles were also damaged. 10 officers were injured.
“Police activated resources from Special Operations Command and Gurkha Contingent to the scene and the situation is under control.
“Police would like to advise the public in the area to remain indoors while police operations are ongoing. Other members of the public are advised to keep away from the vicinity. Members of the public are also advised to stay calm and not to speculate on this incident. Members of the public with any information of the riot are advised to call the police at 1800-2550000.
“Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Teo Chee Hean, said, “This is a serious incident which has resulted in injuries and damage to public property. the situation is now under control. Police will spare no efforts to apprehend the subjects involved in the riot.”
- Hundreds of foreign workers riot in Singapore (abc.net.au)
- Singapore foreign worker riot triggered by bus accident (telegraph.co.uk)
- Singapore bus death triggers riot (bbc.co.uk)
- Rare Riot Hits Singapore (online.wsj.com)