Wednesday 11 December 2013

Riot in Little India

Riot in Little India! I received text messages on my phone. Not thinking too much about it, I thought it was nothing alarming. As we caught up with our day, we caught up with news. I was totally appalled at the damages and destruction done from this rebellious act. Boldness and multitude of anger must have triggered those gravely acts. It's been 44 years since the last racial riot, is this for real?!!

I live in Little India. At least, for the past 4 years, before our big move. I've served some short term as a member of the Residents committee and I know how situation is like on a typical Sunday. We have made every good effort to ensure that the residents and foreigners are comfortable and soundly safe. Upon reading the news, I knew it happened on a Sunday, when foreign workers gather faithfully every week to meet and catch up with friends at any spots along the road, pavement or fields. As residents, we would drive our Sundays home with the horn intermittently pressed. From drivers perspective, that's our frustration. But, I have lived with it, since I chose to buy a home in the heart of Little India. It's truly a place where you can almost experience the road crossing culture from Bombay. They seize every road crossing opportunities, whether safe or unsafe. Drivers have to be extremely cautious with those lives on the road. And once, a friend of mine came by our house, drove and honked, got his boot kicked by a one of the crosser. Which also explained why I don't receive friends on Sundays. After much absorption of news, I began to have this morbid thought, if I were the driver who killed the pedestrian that day, I would have been killed to death by the rioters!

There were many buses around that time, on that day because, that's where their transport come by to send them back to their dormitories. I've been once or twice a pedestrian on a Sunday night, when making my way home. There were rowdy crowds and individuals, and as a lady, I do get stares, but I still feel safe. Looking at how the crowd wouldn't strictly walk on pavements, It's amazing at how this area can be accident free for so long. In crowded situations like this, it's quite a human's responsibility to look out for their safety.

Now that it happened, power driven by numbers, it definitely is a good root reason to retaliate. I gathered reports, the people were angered because they were being pushed by the police from getting near the accident site and that it took long for paramedics to arrive. I know auxiliary police patrol the area very frequently on Sunday nights for crowd control. It makes sense to manage crowd, making the scene ready for rescue work. I wouldn't think gently asking everyone to back off works. I know how Sunday nights are like in there.

I'm in a foreign land myself now, and I've been the ears and eyes of a citizen in my own land. I know how discriminating these workers have felt in their hardworking days, and we know how unjustified lives can be for them. Let me cite an incident. Some years ago, while I was walking home from the MRT after a long work day, I was appalled by this young mum who raised her voice at a seemingly foreign worker to me. She was with her, perhaps 3 or 4 year old daughter. They walked by each other and the man patted the little girl's head. This got the mum's nerves agitated, she stopped and sternly reprimanded him, "I told my daughter that no strangers should touch her. Can you please apologize to her, for touching her!" I was so taken aback, I thought I should step in to 'rescue' the plight of this man. But I knew, it was no business of mine, I continued my walk. It's no wonder the new generation do not learn peace. I know it can be offending when strangers touch our child, but it's public, it's open, it's not like she's been molested. Does he deserved to be raised at? The man apologized anyway. I thought things might be different if someone else of a different profile patted the girl's head.

With much comments and blames everywhere, online and offline. I know our country is still a place of stability, with strict laws abiding. It's true that we should not tolerate such senseless acts, but with mature minds, we should move on to recover and trust. I wasn't even birthed since our last riot, we have new blood in every industry and for such readiness test, it was a very good job done. I'm proud of  our law enforcers! 

This a space where I blog my parenting journey, I borrowed some space to tribute salute to the heroes who risked their lives for peace. It's history making and it will get marked in their textbooks. To survive as a united country, we must learn to solve conflicts assertively and non-violently.

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