The aftermath: Online sense and insensitivity

The aftermath: Online sense and insensitivity
Riot at Race Course Road.

SINGAPORE - As violence raged in Little India on Sunday night, the online world too was ablaze as the story unfolded over social media.

Various photos and videos of the incident spread like wildfire over Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, including one video showing two men striking the windshield of a bus that ran over migrant worker Sakthivel Kumaravelu.

An unknown third man in a light-coloured checked shirt is seen attempting to stop them, and was yesterday almost universally lauded as a "hero" and "a man of conscience" by netizens.

But there were also unfounded rumours of the deaths of several policemen and rescue personnel. Many netizens made racist jokes, including 98.7FM DJ Dee Kosh who was swiftly criticised.

However, just as many Singaporeans went online urging others not to speculate on the incident, and to avoid passing racist or xenophobic remarks.

They joined political officeholders such as Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who made Facebook posts urging calm.

PM Lee reiterated that the riot was "an isolated incident caused by an unruly mob", adding: "We must not let this bad incident tarnish our views of foreign workers here. Nor should we condone hateful or xenophobic comments, especially online."

Some even mobilised themselves to soothe the situation, though this was not looked upon favourably by the authorities.

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