Dr Mumbo

Riotous reports

Dr Mumbo is comforted to see that the reporting of the Little India riots in Singapore on Sunday is being treated with an even hand by the local press.

At a time when public opinion towards foreign workers is possibly lower than it has ever been, the good folk at Channel NewsAsia have deemed it necessary to make it absolutely clear that the rioters were foreign.

SINGAPORE: Police said 24 people are to be charged in court on Tuesday afternoon in relation to the riot in Little India on Sunday night.

All 24 are Indian nationals.

They were among the 28 people arrested in the riot, including 25 Indian nationals, two Bangladeshi nationals and a Singapore Permanent Resident.

Subsequent police investigations showed that the Singapore Permanent Resident, two Bangladeshi nationals and one Indian national were not involved in the incident.

The riot, the first in over four decades, broke out after a fatal bus accident at the junction of Race Course Road and Hampshire Road.

Got that, dear reader? There were NO LOCALS involved (read the full story here).

And here’s a headline from Singapore Press Holdings’s AsiaOne site that won’t stir up anti-foreigner feeling much at all, will it?

AsiaOne story

Now, there’s no mention that big crowds of foreign workers do, in fact, turn Singaporeans off in the story itself, just a comment from one shop owner about how business was quiet yesterday…

SINGAPORE – Restaurants and shop owners along the Race Course Road which was the scene of the worst riot in the republic in decades are worried their businesses may suffer.

Sundry shop owner, K. Vellu, 51, said not a single customer visited his shop yesterday.

“I just don’t know how I am going to survive if this carries on,” he said.

“People are too afraid to come to this area and I do not blame them because there is no guarantee that such a riot will not happen again.”

Vellu added that his lorry and car were also slightly damaged by rioters who were seen throwing stones, bottles and sticks at policemen.

“I was afraid that they would enter my shop so I quickly pulled down the shutters but we could still hear the explosions outside,” he said, adding that he hoped the Singapore government would take stern action to keep the area safe.

Hostel and restaurant owner S.R. Mahesh, 28, recounted how mobs of people were seen igniting beer bottles and throwing them at the police patrol cars in the area.

“It was a horrifying experience. Some of my customers were forced to put up the night in different hotels as they were not allowed to enter the area,” he said.

But why let that spoil the media’s foreigner-bashing party? Of course, SPH’s headline-writing skills are making headlines of their own these days. Just ask Nicole Seah.

Not be outdone by the mainstream press, the vociferous blog The Real Singapore, which claims to be the ‘voice of average Singaporeans, has achieved the remarkable feat of publishing one of the most vile racist rants ever to find its way on to the internet, with the headline ‘Stop humanizing the Banglas/Indian FTs’. If ever there is a case for the Media Development Authority clamping down on blogs it is this one.

Happily, blogger Yasmin Rahim visited Little India yesterday to “capture some photographs of this “unruly” bunch.

In a post entitled ‘We come in peace’, He wrote:

Some were very apprehensive when I approached them and some looked amused, but more often than not, they were more than happy to be photographed.

My dear Singaporeans, meet your “criminals”.

@yasinrahim

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