Wednesday, 18 December 2013
The Singapore Little India Riot III - The Charge Sheet
18 December 2013, Singapore: The Singapore Little India Riot quickly turned into a non-event, much like popping champagne and getting a 'phish' instead of a 'pop'. Or a firework shooting skywards and not producing the effect some folks were hoping for. It all expired in a limp pizzle - a nice word conjuring the image of fire being extinguished by piss - but is actually a real word meaning 'animal penis' or 'penis of smaller stature'.
Mdm Lee Chin Hiong, 58, who was getting fitted for a cheongsam that fateful nite at one old shop along Race Course Road, recalled panicking.
"Aiyoh, call me Ms Lee can already," Ms/Mdm Lee said, batting an eyelid at this reporter. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, alarmed somewhat by her garish lipstick.
"That evening I was just slipping into my silk cheongsam when I heard 'riot' and got scared. I quickly pulled up my dress, ready to run. See, it split from my knee almost to the armpit!" Mdm Lee then showed this reporter her fashion faux pas. There appeared to be white tofu between the seams. Fifty-eight year old tofu that was a bit ruddy and cellulite-challenged. This reporter almost choked and had to struggle to keep his breakfast masala thosai down.
Er, Ms/Mdm Lee, you seem very 'trendy' yah? he managed to cough out.
"Aiyah, these days, 50 is the new 30, don't you know? I still go for my club dance at Mohd Sultan and line dance at Far East Square. My assistant Tim over there knows I still got lots of energy," said Ms/Mdm Lee, pointing to a Chinese blond-haired 20-something male at the far end of the couch. He wore a white jacket and gold lamé pants and was bare chested. He blew Ms/Mdm Lee a kiss and mouthed, "Love ya!" before turning his attention back to his shiny new iPad Air.
It was all very moving, like glass sculpture. Of a cougar devouring a young pup.
A set of daily newspaper lay nearby. Its headline was less suggestive. 'Rioters Charged', it read.
The Singapore government acted in typical swiftness to bring those involved in the riot to justice. A total of 28 would be charged, whilst 53 will be repatriated.
Mr Park-See Buay Chao, a Korean who has recently obtained his citizenship was not surprised. "This place not like Malaysia lah. Crime here take days to solve, not years!"
"Now with CCTV some more, even before a crime is committed, the police will aledy have solved it. Let me show you."
He motioned this reporter to a nearby carpark CCTV camera and pretended to pick his pocket. Immediately the reporter's handphone beeped to signal an incoming SMS message. It said, "Beware of pickpocket - courtesy of your Neighbourhood Police Post."
"See, I no bluff one," said Mr Park-See, in perfect Singlish, showing that his citizenship was well-earned. He then unzipped and zipped up his pants, triggering another SMS. This time the message read, "Alert, alert! Color wolf in vicinity! - Courtesy of your Neighbourhood Police Post."
As this reporter was on a limited SMS plan, he decided to distance himself from that over-enthusiastic new citizen, who was last seen setting off a few car alarms and skipping away happily.
Curious to know how the police managed to identify so many non-English speaking migrants so very quickly, this reporter spoke to Ms Wong 'Crime Watch Babe' Ka Fan, Community Relations Director of Police.
"Oh, yes, it was definitely a challenge," said Ms Wong. "India, you see, has about 26 different mother tongues, not counting which is longer or shorter. It would have been a scramble to find translators on such short notice."
"Also, some of the suspects spoke gibberish hoping to throw us off. But we were smarter. We pretended to understand and rounded them up, hehe. Smart, right?" Ms Wong beamed, proud of her Home Team mates.
"Honestly, if we didn't have Google's Gigi voice translator on our police Android phones, we would be lost. See, we simply set it to Indian and all translations will come out, including, strangely, Red Indians too!"
"And to ensure accuracy, we turned to Google Gesture Translate. It uses Google Glass to interpret the many head-shakings we got that night. You know lah, with these migrant Indian workers, 'yes' also shake head, 'no' also shake head. Very headache leh," said Ms Wong, shaking her pretty head to carry home the point.
Mr Dhaila Kanutlusmejob, a migrant worker who has been hiding in the forests of Woodlands since The Riot, was relieved.
"Boy, am I glad the troublemakers are caught and charged. Does it mean I can come out now? I haven't bathed in over a week?" said Mr K, the last sentence needing no Gigi translation as even the grass around him died. This reporter bade a hasty retreat and rubbed some Tiger Balm under his nose.
Not faraway, Mr Mecasa Soucasa, head of the BAAOFT, a migrant NGO self-help group, could be seen beating the surrounding long lallang grass in hopes of driving out more hiding workers to help. He was concerned that the government was too quick, too harsh in its action.
"Alamak, the government should forgive and forget lah, after all, these people just had a bit too much to drink. Just let them sleep it off. I am sure by the time they wake up, 99% of them cannot remember what happened or that they were even in Little India. It happens to them every weekend. Some even forget why they are here in Singapore in the first place!"
"I am sure the migrant Indian community will pitch in to help pay for the burnt vehicles and EMT folks hurt. They are only here to 'wan sek', you know, make a living."
"Some are even willing to host that injured bus lady on a two week free holiday stay in their hometown, as long as she doesn't mind squat toilets and the family cooking with cow dung."
With Mr Soucasa was lawyer and activist Mr Ng 'Many Lives' Jai See, who is hoping to plea-bargain with the authorities on a more suitable outcome for the affected migrant rioters.
"Sending them away makes no sense. We need workers here. I say let them make restitution by working for Singapore Technologies to help rebuild those ambulances and police cars. Afterwards they can continue to help them build armour vehicles for the Third World countries. No more shortage of labour. It is a win-win situation all round," said Mr Ng, once more on his handphone trying to connect to the AG's office. Another busy signal again.
"We can always make them wear ankle monitor bracelets to keep them out of future trouble. A great country like America also got give three chances with their '3 Strikes And You Are Out' thing. We only got one strike? Wah lau, how to be First World Country???" lamented Mr Ng.
Er, Labour Harmony is very important here leh.
"I know, I know," said Mr Ng. "But transient worker, transient problem... they deserve transient treatment also lor."
Huh, transient treatment?
"Forgive and forget lah!"
Oh, like that also can?
Mr Ng nodded. "We want to send the positive message that we are all 'One Happy Family'. Like this where got other people from India want to come here to work. So strict one."
Minister of Man-Woman-Robot Power, Mr Tua 'Always Higher Productivity' Peh Chek, disagreed.
"We cannot let this cancer take root. Once it happens, got to cut cut cut. Make sure message is clear. You either follow Singapore Way or don't. Very simple."
"Besides, we have Thai, Bangladeshi, Myanmarese workers queuing to come to this Garden City to work. You know, after Gardens by the Bay opened, more foreigners want to come here to work, smell the wonderful flowers," said Mr Tua, smelling his armpit to illustrate the point. He reminded this reporter of Kevin in 'A Fish Called Wanda'. Unlike most offices, Mr Tua's was strangely devoid of plants. In a corner slumped a robot.
"Ah, that one," indicated Mr Tua with his index finger, "is our first robot that can fry fried rice. Very groundbreaking."
"We are training others to make wanton mee, mee rebus, hor fun, etc., and that elusive Singapore Noodle. Free the local labour to do more important things. Best of all, this fella works 24x7 without complaint, sick leave or maternity leave. Great right?"
"At the moment we are also working with Google to introduce driver-less taxis and delivery personnel. Next time, peak hour sure got taxi. Next time, a robot will deliver your mail. Next time...," Mr Ng paused. "You just wait."
Google was in the news recently for buying over a military robot company that created the BigDog army robot-dog load carrier. It can run and jump over incredible terrain like a real dog whilst carrying more than a few bags of NTUC rice. Traversing Singapore's landscaped HDB estates would be a cinch.
"Next time, BigDog can accompany our SAF Relief Effort and help deliver relief supplies to countries laid in ruins by earthquake and what-not. More savings in personnel, heheh." Mr Tua laughed, feeling very triumphant.
Er, what would the 'savings in personnel' be doing instead?
"Oh, make babies lor," concluded an even bigger smiling Mr Tua. "Haven't you heard? 50 is the new 30, so our folks can still have babies, like that getai singer Lingling. No point asking young folks to have babies. Too busy, they say. No money, they say. Houses too expensive, they say. So, we let them cheong when young. When old and slower liao then have kids, heheh."
"It's all worked out in a 25-year plan. 'Less Workers More Babies' is what we are aiming at. Our next generation will be trained to supervise transient workers better and push buttons. No more riots! No complaining workforce! Oops, not supposed to disclose that," apologised Mr Tua, looking no less perturbed.
"Ok, got to go. Any more questions, make an appointment with my robot secretary over there. Just wave your phone in front of her and she will sync your calendar and mine for a meeting. Fantastic, right?"
"Oh, make sure your NFC is on first, yah?"
With that, Mr Always Higher Productivity stepped out of his office and into his waiting car, a driver-less and electric one no less, almost running over his migrant worker-employee who had just polished it to a shine. But the foreign man did not complain. He simply slipped back into the shadows to return to his dormitory somewhere. For him, tomorrow is just another day same as today until the time comes for him to return to his family well fed and kept by his hard earned wages. -A true replay of what many of our ancestors similarly went through here more than half a century ago - minus the gleaming buildings, skyscrapers and clean river. There's a price to pay for such pristine-ness, some say.
How true, a black bird seemed to crow, as it dove and slammed itself into a glass window pane smudging it. Poor thing. Don't think it could have seen that coming!
- A parody by TC Lai
Back to Part 1: Click here
News: Google's BigDog purchase: Here; Fried Rice Robot: Here