Little India riot: Most Singaporeans remain calm and call for restraint

Little India riot: Most Singaporeans remain calm and call for restraint
Fresh flowers left at the road divider along Race Course Road on Monday as a blessing for the worker who died.

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans remained largely calm on Monday as they sought to make sense of Sunday's riot.

Some people took the chance to spew racist and xenophobic slurs online against Indians and the foreign workforce in the country, but these were quickly quashed by opposing views.

Instead, many people both online and on the ground called for calm and restraint in the reaction to the rioting.

A typical response was a post by Facebook user A.R. Balamurugan, who noted that video footage showed one of the workers had tried to stop his peers from damaging a vehicle.

"Not all of the nationals were involved in the protest," he said, adding that "only a few instigated the damage, so it is just not wise to stereotype". His post garnered more than 100 likes.

Some Singaporeans went a step further to try and stop potential fault lines from opening.

Technology consultant Adrianna Tan, 28, who goes to Little India several times a week to shop and eat, said she plans to start a free monthly walk there to help dispel fears that Singaporeans may have about the area and its people.

In September, Ms Tan also launched the Culture Kitchen, a roadshow featuring the food, culture and histories of the nations of Singapore's migrant workers.

A group of Singaporeans including Mr Wally Tham, 36, also plan to hand out flowers to migrant workers, residents and shopkeepers in the neighbourhood as a gesture of peace and solidarity.

"We wanted to show our support for the community," the director of a content production firm told The Straits Times.

National Solidarity Party politician Nicole Seah and several others suggested raising funds for the family of the Indian migrant worker who died in the accident that seemed to have sparked the riot.

"It would be great if we could show our solidarity, support and condolences for the deceased and also donate 'white gold' (what the Chinese call funeral expenses) to his family," she wrote in a Facebook post.

 

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