I was in Little India this afternoon around 2.30pm. Parked outside Muthu’s Curry and waited with mum in the car while her Picky Siti hopped off to inquire about the price of cheap phones at Narajan, famous for price-right mobiles.
I had planned to go to Little India since the week-end as part of our regular food and grocery shopping circuit that usually takes us to Bendemeer Road market and its environs and then City Square. Little India had been added to our itinerary because of the need to visit Narajan.
This morning, I woke up to the news of the so-called riots in Little India, that left 10 police officers hurt (none seriously) as well as the driver of the bus that was said to have run over and killed a foreign worker and triggered the unrest.
(Latest update now says:Total of 39 officers from police, SCDF & auxiliary police injured; 25 emergency vehicles damaged, 5 set on fire)
Normally, I would have changed today’s shopping route. Even though it’s highly unlikely for the burn-baby-burn drama to re-run.
But having spent four days in Bangkok last week, witnessing sporadic crowds demonstrating against the Thai government (our hotel was right next to the Bangkok Police HQ!), I have grown slightly more battle hardened.
Or more precisely, I feel more empowered to be responsible for my own safety more than usual. That being the case, I can’t and shouldn’t avoid places where unhappy things have happened. I should be careful — that’s all.
I, for one, feel OK that there was trouble in Little India last night. Better 400 men running amok than 4,000, to shake up both Singaporeans and the folks charged to protect us. As a sort of dress rehearsal, so that we aren’t all at sixes and sevens should worse things happen.
This is because too many of us Singaporeans have, due to over 40 years of calm and orderliness, become somewhat like Bobos in Paradise. We always look to the Government to do things for us.
We send for ambulances at the drop of a hat. And we dial 999 even when a cat gets up a tree and is unable to come down. Or when our child is locked in our car. Worse, our law and order protectors too respond to such events as if they were real catastrophes, like what I detailed here after witnessing the child-locked-in-a-car incident.
Anyway, after we got the mobile prices, I decided to live a bit more dangerously and go home via the junction of Race Course and Hampshire Roads, which the media had reported was the hot spot last night.
Not a speck of what was captured in print and on Youtube was to be seen, although Picky Siti excitedly pointed out that there were two photographers and another two setting up tripods at the road corner.
“Pemberita!” she declared.
Be that as it may.
We turned from Race Course Road into Hampshire Road and discovered to my horror that the LTA Academy was on my left and straight ahead was the KK Women and Children’s Hospital.
I shudder to think what might have happened had our law and order boys to deal with a far bigger crowd and the trouble makers were crazed enough to attack these two brand-name facilities!
I don’t enjoy/want civil or uncivil unrest any more than the average person who enjoys her life. But the occasional fracas is likely to do more to beef up our defence than 40 years of untrammeled paradise.
So I am ready to live with more such untidiness as unavoidable collateral damage, if it toughens self reliance as well as law and order response capabilities.