The Riot, My thoughts
Date: 9th December 2013
It was news of shock to me, when I scrolled through my Facebook feeds late last night and read that a riot was happening in Singapore. That served as a wake-up-call to me for our complacency in national peace and security. As much as it angered me and put me into the fantasy world of having the privilege to be involved in the curbing of the mess last night, I do not see last night’s incident as a by-product of the foreign workers policy by the government.
Think about it: our country owes a lot to these people who are earning hundreds a month constructing this infrastructure that we are comfortably living and working in, and these are neither jobs that the rich developers are willing to pay more for, nor jobs that the pampered locals are willing to learn (not to mention earning paychecks from it). On top of having to endure the constant verbal abuses by their foremen and supervisors, they have to face the xenophobic eyes of the locals’ “elites” who constantly claim that they can make do without their contributions. When was the last time we smile at a foreign worker who was perspiring like shit under the hot sun repairing the road we had been using for as long as we remember?
These are the very people who will cast them out if they can, and abandon this country when everything falls apart.
On my way to work this morning, I saw with my still-groggy eyes—the hardworking foreign workers already soaking wet from their perspiration at work. That was 8.30am, when I still smelled fresh from my Drakka on my freshly pressed shirt while I sit in the air-conditioned bus on the roads without POTHOLES.
Guess who made the roads level and smooth?
I’m not saying we have to throw them a huge party (but it’ll be more humane if we know how to thank them); they were getting “paid” (sadly and lowly) for the job they were doing. I’m just saying that appreciating them and not looking down on them is the least we can do as the hosts in this country where they are earning a living. We need them, and that’s the fact we should acknowledge.
Having said that, I advocate harsh punishments to those involved last night; no one is above the law, and this include workers of other nationalities. The government has to send a very strong message across to everyone. Imagine Golden Mile getting into the mess similar to Bangkok now, or New Bridge Road with men armed with sledgehammers smashing Lamborghinis.
I have worked with great foreign workers from India and Bangladesh, and we became personal friends through our time together. They were always there for me whenever I need them, and they never once ditch their work just to knock off when the clock struck 6—because their work wasn’t finished. This is a trait that we—admittedly and regrettably—don’t commonly see in the locals from our academic-driven red-dot. I believe that they are now just as shock as us to know of what happened last night, and I’m pretty sure they never expect such things happening here. Now, on top of the existing dog stares from some of our pathetic, self-serving locals, they have to suffer another bout of “see lah, people from your country” comments. These are going to be the comments totally uncalled for.
The troublemakers make up a very small percentage of the total foreign workers, and they are peanuts in numbers compared to the law-abiding ones. Let us agree to this.
Emotionally, they are not having it easy from the unfortunate incident. They do not wish to be associated with the bad apples from the incident last night, and we absolutely have no reasons to see them under one pair of glasses. To quote what Confucius had said, “ Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.” Let’s not make it worst for any of them and expect them to swallow it all down without repercussions.
All said, the authorities have done an incredible job in containing the situation and arresting those responsible. They have demonstrated great efficiency in their activation, and getting the chaos under control. I am confident that they will continue to maintain law and order in the same effectual manner they have portrayed. The SCDF guys have also shown great bravery in maintaining their stand against public disorder when they were evacuating the bus driver—who was the target of the rioting mob—while under attacks.
Great job guys!
Andy Lawson is the average man on the street that you’ll not even trouble yourself looking at him if he passes by you. He’s sensitive to bullshit, and he hates mediocrity in most people. He is the author of his self-published book: Facts and Fiction of Fengshui: Facts that Masters are NOT Telling You. He doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter, because he hates to be associated with people who tend to be passive-aggressive online, but he does have a very limited set of vocabularies, terrible grammar, a twisted mind that makes himself God in his own twisted world and an ability to communicate with people who wish to be his friend.