Jun 08, 2009, The New Paper
A MARKETING trip ended in tears for an elderly woman when a male bus commuter allegedly punched her in the face for not moving out of his way.
His friend also hurled obscenities at her.
Madam A Nyanamani, 68, a housewife, claimed the driver of SBS Transit 198 ignored her pleas for help and allowed both men to alight while she was crying.
Moreover, none of the other commuters on the packed bus lifted a finger to help her, she alleged.
The incident, which happened on Wednesday morning , left Madam Nyanamani shaken and slightly bruised around her left eye.
She had been on her way home to her four-room HDB flat in Jurong East, where she lives with her husband and her son's family, after her usual trip to the market.
Carrying two bags of groceries, she had to stand on the lower deck of the double-decker bus as it was crowded.
But a male passenger, who was seated, objected to her standing in front of him and his friend. Both men appeared to be in their 30s, she said.
She claimed: 'He said 'no, no you cannot stand there, get out.' She was then standing near the rear of the bus.
Madam Nyanamani said she was puzzled as she wasn't obstructing the men by standing in front of their seat.
When she asked why, the man allegedly stood up and punched her in the face, right under her left eye.
Stunned, the elderly woman, who had a cataract operation on her left eye about five years ago, said her vision blurred at that point.
Indignant, Madam Nyanamani asked: 'Why did you punch me?' She said the man's friend replied: 'Why must you stand there?'
The friend then shouted vulgarities at her.
Afraid that she would get hit again, she held up her hands to shield her face.
Thinking that she was going to retaliate by hitting them, the two men threatened to call the police, she claimed.Madam Nyanamani then said she would do the same.
The three of them then went to the front of the bus to talk to the driver.
Even though Madam Nyanamani tried to tell the bus driver what happened, she claimed he ignored her.
She said: 'He didn't want to look at my face, even while the two men continued to hurl vulgarities at me in front of him.'
At the next stop, he allowed both men to alight. Madam Nyanamani got off at the stop after that and rang her son for help.
Her son, Mr Selvan Kanna, 36, an engineer, lodged a complaint with SBS and made a report at a police station in Jurong East.
Madam Nyanamani sought outpatient treatment at a polyclinic. She said: 'I'm scared now to take buses.'
Bus driver disciplined
THE bus captain who let the two men alight after Madam Nyanamani was punched has been disciplined.
Ms Tammy Tan, SBS Transit vice-president of corporate communications, told The New Paper: 'Our bus captain should have taken a more pro-active approach and rendered assistance. For failing to do so, he will be disciplined.'
She said the bus captain had first become aware of a dispute between Madam Nyanamani and another man when he heard voices raised.
However, she noted: 'He had no idea what the commotion was about nor was he aware that she had been assaulted.'
The bus captain then contacted the operations control centre to report the incident and seek guidance.
By this time, both parties had moved to the front of the bus and were in a 'heated exchange where vulgarities were used'.
Ms Tan said: 'We wish to apologise to Madam Nyanamani for his service lapse.'