I want to fight apathy, says Mr Justice

SINGAPORE - He wants commuters to give up their seats to senior citizens and urges people not to jaywalk, or smoke at sheltered walkways and playgrounds.

He is "Justice", a moniker that the self-styled masked "superhero" for courtesy and graciousness has adopted for now.

You may have seen him in his red and white suit on Aug 19, speaking with commuters aboard the MRT train between Choa Chu Kang and Woodlands stations. The 21-year-old Singaporean also appeared in a post on citizen-journalism website Stomp on the same day.

A five-minute YouTube clip of his exploits was published on Aug 22, too.

Speaking with My Paper last week on the condition that his real name would not be revealed, Justice said he lives in Choa Chu Kang and completed his full-time national service more than a year ago. He is currently unemployed.

Justice explained that he donned the superhero costume to be a vigilante who "enforces morality and instils good core values", among other things.

Noting that many commuters do not give up their seats to senior citizens, Justice felt that "we lack the moral courage to do what's right, fearing that we might draw unwanted attention and unnecessary problems".

"My purpose is not to patrol the trains and (find fault with) those who fail to give up their seats," he said.

"Instead, I try to convince members of the public to have the initiative to give up their seats to someone who needs it more than they do."

He said he was not hired by anyone to promote graciousness, but did so of his own accord.

"I'm here to take down my biggest villain, apathy, which has managed to (work its way) into the lives of most Singaporeans," he said, adding that he was inspired by the Rain City Superhero Movement in Seattle, a United States anti-crime citizen patrol group whose members wear costumes.

Asked about his suit, Justice said he got it at a costume store for about $500. The logo on the front of his suit was designed by him and inspired by the Singapore flag.

He told My Paper during a face-to-face interview on Monday that he is keeping his identity under wraps for now, as he is worried his employment prospects may be affected if people knew he was the man behind Justice.

Lawyers said that his masked act does not flout the law and that it is one's actions, that determine whether a masked act is a potential threat or nuisance to the public.

Still, Mr Foo Cheow Ming of law firm Peter Ong and Raymond Tan said: "Buses and trains are private property, and organisations may choose to disallow him from patronising their services should complaints be lodged by commuters."

Mr Lee Terk Yang of law firm Characterist said that, while members of the public could sue Justice for harassment, they are unlikely to succeed as he has not done anything illegal.

The Land Transport Authority, transport operator SMRT and the Singapore Kindness Movement said the masked vigilante was not a representative or publicity stunt of theirs.

Still, an SMRT spokesman said it was "encouraged by spontaneous acts initiated by members of the public to encourage passengers to be more gracious towards one another, thereby enhancing everyone's travel experience".

But he added that "actors are cautioned not to be an inconvenience to fellow commuters".

Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, applauded Justice, saying: "I appreciate his courage and his initiative in reminding people to be more considerate."


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