Singapore’s 'Little India' riots: "Tensions had long been brewing" - Charan Bal

France24.com, 9 Dec 2013
Tensions have been brewing for quite a while, and I believe these were sparked off by this bus accident. There have been tensions between migrant workers and bus drivers who ferry them from the industrial areas in the north and west to Little India every Sunday, where they do their shopping and hang out. I have taken these buses on a few occasions during my research and discovered the drivers tend to be very rude to the migrant workers.
The drivers – some are Singaporeans while others are Malaysian or Chinese – tend to be overworked and underpaid. They have trouble collecting fares from workers and stopping those who try to board buses that are full. They sometimes push workers off buses and very abuse them. I believe it is quite likely that a similar incident sparked off the violence.
There have also been tensions between migrant workers and auxiliary police in the Little India area for quite some time. In response to complaints from residents living in the area, the local parliament member called for a more stringent policing of the area in order to keep migrant workers from “loitering”. The auxiliary police officers, which are from private firms, are, once again, poorly paid and not properly trained. They often respond to migrant workers in an abusive and aggressive manner.
At the same time, migrant workers are also unhappy that while the authorities are quick – and aggressive – in policing their community, they are slow to respond when the workers themselves are in need, for example when they’re injured in a fight or traffic incident. [According to some witnesses, ambulances took a long time to arrive on Sunday.] Their negative impression of emergency services could have contributed towards the aggression shown towards police and emergency vehicles at the scene on Sunday. It’s worth noting that meanwhile, none of the shops or restaurants in the area were looted. Full story

Related:
Singapore riots: Rocks thrown, cars burned in riot, income inequality a cause - Examiner.com
There was an error in this gadget