Sunday, December 15, 2013

Aftermath of riots in Little India Singapore. Armoured police vehicles patrol the area.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore's knee jerk reaction to the riots last week, as expected of this one party police state, in the island's Little India area is to send swarms of heavily armed armored police vehicles, called Red Mariahs, to patrol the area, with a heavy police presence combing the area. Please see the Singapore state controlled newspaper Straits Times article of Dec 15, 2013 titled "Quiet Sunday in Little India as foreign workers choose to stay away"

This is the stupidest reaction any government would have adopted.

It is quiet clear that the reason for that spontaneous outburst of violence by the measly paid foreign workers from India was their bad working conditions.

They are paid no more than Singapore $800 per month ($600.00 US) on average leaving them not enough to even eat 3 good meals a day. Furthermore their housing conditions are abominable in overcrowded rooms with inadequate facilities.

And to top it all, they are not given enough free time, made to work 12 hours or more each day with only one day off. In conditions such as this, it was only a matter of time that this sort of violence would erupt. In fact it the government was lucky that there were no more fatalities.

The foreign workers from India and from other countries in Singapore who suffer under equally bad working conditions and pay should learn from this riot and start organizing peaceful protests and demonstrations. Like these ill treated and abused Indian workers, there are thousands of Filipino maids, Bangladeshis, Chinese nationals and others who suffer equally if not worse.

Although I am certain such violence is going to erupt again despite these overreaching pathetic attempts at patrolling the streets with armored vehicles as if it was a war zone, I ask my fellow workers not to resort to violence. The better policy is to organize island wide protests and demonstrations.

The Filipinos should consider organizing these events in the Orchard Road Area where they congregate weekly, the Bangladeshis in the vicinity of Serangoon Road Mohammed Mustafa and the Chinese nationals in Chinatown.

I say without hesitation that the  Singapore government of today needs foreign workers as much as you need them. So don't worry of being deported if you protest. They simply can't deport everyone. Furthermore the bad publicity in India and Philippines which have independent newspapers unlike in Singapore where they are state controlled, is going to hurt them badly if they do.

Get yourself organized. Speak to your community leaders and force this government which takes advantage of you to stop it this instant. Force them to pay you decent wages and living conditions. I am sure they will succumb to your demands because they cannot run the island without you.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525

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