Ladies and Gentlemen,
In a rare riot in tightly controlled Singapore on December 09, 2013, a Sunday, badly treated underpaid Indian foreign workers have rioted, an almost unheard event in a strictly controlled regimented society, causing extensive destruction and injury over a wide area.
Shops have been looted, police vehicles have been overturned and many police officers have been severely beaten and sent to the hospital. Although the apparent cause of the violence was a tour bus operator fatally running over an Indian national pedestrian before their very eyes, the real causes of the rioting are multitude including the very bad labor and living conditions under which they suffer. Indeed it probably was a result of pent up anger by all these poorly paid foreign workers who are paid pittance and required to live and work under appalling conditions while others live in luxury and drive around ensconced in their Mercedes Benzes.
Please see the state controlled newspaper Straits Times article of Dec 09, 2013 headed "Little India Riot: 27 nabbed; more expected to be arrested in "hours and days that follow"" http://www.straitstimes.com/the-big-story/little-india-riot/story/little-india-riot-27-nabbed-more-expected-be-arrested-hours-an
Once again you can see the stupidity of this arrogant government in their response to the rioting. Instead of realizing the root cause of the unrest and trying to deal with their problems, they are in their expected arrogance proclaiming their intent to be as harsh as possible.
The Prime Minister in his usual thuggish arrogance has said the incident was "very grave" and that "we will deal with them with the full force of the law".
As for the Assistant Prime Minister, Teo the side kick, we can see the same parroting of his master. He says "the government will not tolerate such behavior" meaning he is going to make sure his Kangaroo courts skin every one of these poor workers alive.
You can see the lack of foresight of these million dollar ministers both before and after the rioting. They pay these foreign workers no more than Singapore $800 or so a month and house them in abominable conditions. In many cases their ethnic Chinese employers either don't pay them as required or pay them less or late. Naturally this causes resentment. Second, unlike in civilized countries they have to work up to 12 hours a day and only have one day off each week. Under these conditions it is not unreasonable that human beings would vent their resentment through violence. To make it worse they are not allowed to unionize or bargain for fair living wage. They are completely at the mercy of their Singaporean employers. And if they complain, they are forthwith deported.
The other reason for expecting these incidents to recur is the fact that on Sundays being their only day off, they congregate in their thousands within a small area of Little India to socialize with their fellow workers. It must be obvious to anyone that once such large numbers of unhappy underpaid workers are allowed to meet in close quarters, any such incident such as the fatal accident of their fellow countryman may trigger a violet reaction, such as this.
Instead of the government acting the bully and pulling the nails out of these poor disadvantaged workers whom they have arrested, they should instead find out what exactly was the cause of this from the bottom and solve it. Torturing them in custody as Adolf Hitler would his poor victims, is not going to prevent further riots.
You simply cannot run an island through terror, as Lee Kuan Yew's son is trying to do.
I expect further violence in the island. You have many Chinese nationals who are also being very badly treated not to mention Filipinos, Bangladeshis and a myriad of poor nationalities who struggle for a living under this uncaring one party police state.
I also expect local Singaporeans too taking to the streets to voice their unhappiness with the lack of rule of law, lack of fundamental human rights and their unhappiness in living in a severely controlled regimented society.
Personally I am against violence of any sort as it is usually counter productive. But human beings that we are, even the Mahatma Gandhi of the world have their limits of tolerance.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont California USA
Tel: 510 491 4375