Singapore — While much of the media coverage of the Little India riot has focused on those who participated in the violence, there are some people who deserve some attention and can be called heroes for rising above the violence and anger of that night.
An article in XinMSN News on Dec 10 listed five different people or groups of people who deserve some recognition for their actions.
The first is the man who tried to stop the angry mob from destroying the bus. This as yet unidentified man was recorded on video not only trying to stop destruction, but later tries to direct the rioters away from the bus. He also reportedly helped the bus timekeeper escape the mob to safety, and was injured at some point during the chaos.
The second is the group of cleaners who worked all night cleaning up the mess after the riot ended. These workers simply went about their usual job of cleaning up the streets, having to work all night through no fault of their own. These people keep Singapore’s streets clean day after day come rain or shine, or whatever else happens.
The third is the group of officers of the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Singapore Police Force. The SCDF formed a human shield for the paramedics to extricate the man pinned under the bus, and were later forced to retreat from burning vehicles and a violent mob.
They also showed restraint in not using their weapons, batons and revolvers, in the face of danger from a violent mob, realizing that doing so could have incited even more violence from the mob. They understood the responsibility that comes with carrying weapons. Twelve of the officers were injured from projectiles hurled at them by the rioters.
The fourth is the group of Special Operations Command (SOC) and Gurkha Contingent. Many netizens wondered why the SOC did not use anti-riot weapons such as tear gas and rubber bullets against the mob. But responding to violence with violence often just adds fuel to the fire, as we’ve seen in numerous other countries during street protests. The SOC was able to end the riot in four hours without using such weapons and risking an escalation of the violence – no small feat.
The fifth is the group of netizens who immediately showed empathy and called for restraint and peace, rather than giving in to the temptation to make xenophobic and/or racial denunciations. Like the SOC, they realized that responding to mindless anger with mindless anger would only make the situation worse. There are plenty of places around the world where this tactic merely creates an endless cycle of hatred and violence.
The XinMSN News report should be applauded for pointing out the heroic nature of the above groups of people during a difficult situation. And, of course, all of the above people deserve some praise.