Just yesterday I was blogging that I’m happy no political happenings had occurred recently – I’m afraid I jinxed the universal force ; something huge happened yesterday and in a lot of ways , it was political and it was social.
Long Story short: After an accident involving a bus driver knocking down an Indian/Bangladeshi national occurred, the foreign nationals in the area flocked to avenge the victim by flogging the bus . Some were inebriated , some were not.
When the police stepped in, escalation occurred , causing the riot to erupt to a scale of 400+ rioters and multiple forces being activated from the SPF, SCDF and even the SAF on standby . Things calmed down by 1230. Life is back to normal now.
Here are my thoughts:
1) Our generation just learnt the importance of history class. We may continue to chide that we don’t need National Service , that we have nothing to fear; but that’s exactly where we fail to understand that while most threats can be predicted , the worst are those that can’t . Threats of whim and passion escalate quickly and without a force ready to respond , we have very little to be hopeful of. The people that responded included people in my circle of friends or wider , my direct peers. Knowing that they were responding , ACTIVELY stepping in to effect change, made me not only proud of the 2 years I had just served , but itching to step in and do my part. When all is said and done, most of us NSmen will step up to do something when our peace is threatened . So instead of downplaying it or belittling it, boast it. Because when people hear that the Force is committed to maintaining the peace across all servicemen , few are gonna dare to cross it
2) Social Media is like College. Now most of you know , my domain of influence is generally on social media. I’ve learnt that what I say matters online , and can shape people’s thoughts. It’s what happens when you announce your ideas to the world. Last night, a different kind of riot was erupting online. Where most of the netizens (and I thank God for this) were urging others to be responsible and collect information accurately – there was a small proportion identifying an opportunity to be witty or humorous. Your wit can wait. I’ll joke with you forcefully tomorrow or next week, but today remember that lives were hurt, damage was wrought and peace was scarred. It was as if the class clowns were making a ruckus and the rest of the class had to shush them up. The truth is, this may occur again for any other potentially sensitive situation . And we have to be ready to stand in solidarity for the people that need to be cares for. #bringbacksanity
3) Something’s amiss in the Race Arena. This topic is probably the most important. It’s not an issue of public drinking . It’s not even an issue of enclaving or a rise in foreign talent. It’s about us . Xenophobia has hit a new high. Now I speak as a Singaporean citizen (proud and true) , and not as an Indian (of which I feel greatly hurt and disappointed at what happened last night) . We have to ask ourselves to what extent do we wish our xenophobia to cloud our judgement. Why are foreigners always clumped out in fields? Not just Indians , mind you; any race . It’s because we refuse to provide them appropriate facilities to to congregate , to build a community of their own. It’s because we refuse to integrate them. Now let me qualify this by saying that riots in India being common are no excuse for them occurring in Singapore. It’s our country – our rules, stand by them. But apparently they sorely lack education of the law of the land , or the culture of it. And that’s because we push them away, and we treat them like dirt. I may be Singaporean , but I’m also human. I don’t think it’s ever right to hurt someone else for their skin color or religion . What happened yesterday was wrong and deserves justice, but can happen forward is up to us.
There’s a lot more running through my mind right now , but as a 20 year old I need to believe in a future worth saving. And that means building it together.
It’s a blip in our history, that’s for sure. But we should NEVER let it make it the normal.