29 April 2007

Rage in safe Singapore

One man dead, another in a coma. A teenager in hospital with his face nearly unrecogniseable. Violence is a symptom of social breakdown. Are we paying attention? Full essay.


Anonymous said...

Don't mean to be racist. But the aggressors in the two assault cases are ahem... malay. It is interesting the press reported on the esplanade beatings only yesterday when it took place prior to the bar manager's. Singapore a safe country? Think again.

Roger said...

Increasing penalties for any crime whatsoever should not be taken lightly.

The logical implication is that the populace is incapable of respecting the law as is and the law should be changed.

This further implies that the law is insufficient as-is. It likely also implies that legal action is in large part the only relevant measure of social interpretation.

Aside of social interpretation of law, whether social frameworks and discourse are formed as a supplement to lax law, or formed as a net against lax law is unknown.

Thus, logically shouldn't society first inspect itself and seek social frameworks - which may or may not involve the law or changes to the law?

To me, having to continually update the law is part and parcel of societal development. What is abnormal is the pseudo-reflex mentality that the law is the only recourse.

In other words, will we turn into a highly litigious society? Or is a highly litigious society the result of social discourse, or is increased social discourse the supplement to a highly litigious society? All this remains to be seen.

That which can be seen through these acts is that our society (like others) is at times irrational - but there is very little or almost no societal framework/discourse/whatever you want to call it, for us to utilize.

Such that simple incidents such as (presumably minor) accidents give rise to violence: we result to instinctive anger rather than civilized discourse. And civilized discourse can be really simple: like talking things over coffee or donuts.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

anonymous, 29 April 10:00 -

How do you know that they're Malay? I haven't seen reports of that.

In any case, I feel that as far as possible, we should not identify people by their race, unless race has definitely something to do with the story.

At this point, only the sketchiest details have emerged of the two cases of assault and in neither of them is race indicated as a factor, so I'd say, why mention it even if I know it?

Anonymous said...

There has been some research showing that increased penalties do very little to deter crime (similar to death penalty vs. life-in-prison penalty crime rates). A more effective deterrant is the perceived likelihood of being caught committing a crime. So I doubt the new penal regulations will do any good.

Anonymous said...

how about enlarging the police force and increasing street patrol? would that deter crime

I heard that making street lights brighter had that effect in several american cities


Yuri/Dee said...

I feel that some Singaporeans tend to be rather brusque and often, reject displays of deeper emotions as useless or they tend to deny their own feelings. Could this tendency be one of the causes of emotional instability?

I've also often seen Singaporeans who're dead in terms of emotions(think zombie dead) and yet at times, they lash out with emotional outbursts at others or at different outlets.

After all, in favour of the more practical choice, we often hold little value to other choices that carry zero economical value but which might have some emotional value.

Oh and to the first anonymous poster, I find that even Chinese are tend to acts of violence. No, all humans are prone to acts of violence but if they learn how to manage and control their emotions.

Anonymous said...

The fact that our judicial system has outsourced beatings is also a worrying sign.

Audrey Ang's response time and again fails to convince the general public why a person who is assaulted in a public place is not immediately arrested, nor why punitive measures taken by the home team to ensure such arrests are not made mandatory.

The excuse of domestic disputes is fast losing faith with the average citizen, who feels it is inaction by our police that emboldens such brazen assaults: the recent beating of a lady trying to free a trapped kitten was compounded when the accused claimed that he had no fear of the authorities.

And we wonder why rioting and assault are on the rise? It's the system that's flawed, and the executors of the system that need a review.

So i ask again: is Wong Kan Seng deserving of a pay hike?

Anonymous said...

I do not know for sure whether it\'s my imagination playing tricks on me but have you fellas noticed that very very few taxis are pulled off the road by the police for traffic violations even though they are brazenly disrespectful of the law on the roads.

Anonymous said...

to Anon 29 April, 10.00, what if i posted something like this.. "dont mean to be racist, but all the recent cases of road rage are, ahem, chinese". you dont mean to be racist, but unfortunately, you were.

anyway...interesting post, Alex. I had a similar discussion with some sg friends here in HK about this. Why does HK, also with the same societal pressures and gangsterism, etc, does not have similar cases of violence?

In HK, the people here speak their minds. Non-hkers may take it as rudeness. but i see it as them just thinking aloud. they dont like something, they say it. they not worried about confrontation.

I can say that in my 7 years in HK and practically in Lan Kwai Fong every weekend, i've never seen a fight. maybe because of the tight policing in the area but maybe also because people prefer to vent their energies and frustrations elsewhere, rather than each other.

My theory is that its a case of our singaporean habit of non-confrontation, or of having to listen to authority - boiling over.

Anonymous said...

In Australia sometimes you get reports of gay or poofter bashing. Singapore is still safe from such outburst.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Hong Kong; agree that it is a safe place to wander around even at night. There might be gangs and crime, but nothing compared to what we have seen here in recent times.

Lest some readers single out certain races for these beatings, there are other people (of various colours) with strong arm pals or 'connections' at many of these nightspots in SIN. I am too old to party, but I have friends who tell me so.

Maybe our government and our police need to find out how other places do it?

We seem to set the press up for periodic comparisons against our less fortunate neighbours or take pot shots at other countries - always boasting that we are better. Maybe we believe our own hype to our detriment?

Erik said...

The taxidrivers victim died this weekend. I've been quite close to this case because it's the best friend of the colleague sitting next to me at work. Since coming to Singapore last year I've witnessed quite some agression on the streets. It has nothing to do with race like the first commenter implies because I've seen it with Chinese and Indian people too. My idea is that it has to do with the strict rules and regulations in this country. Fear often leads to violence and most people here are fearful for authority.