Monday, June 8, 2009

Male commuter punches 68-yr-old housewife and no one comes to help

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.'


minority said...

This incident is strongly racism.. did you realize that the race of the male commuters who punched the indian woman was not mentioned in the papers.. why not..? becoz the press is state controlled!

And why no one bothered helping the indian woman.. is singapore becoming super racist or something..? u call this a developed country..? great joke!

Being a minority has no reasons to undergo racial bullying!!

Wonder why the government has employed such a stupid racist, driver.

Anonymous said...

Makes my blood boil. In Singapore, MPs get protection but not peasants. Truly one country two system!

sad sack said...

Imagine if the victim was of a majority race and the assailant a minority race.How would the driver and passengers reacted? What had happened, was the result of several years of planned racist policies and upbringing. In the schools, workplace and society. The end result - violance. Are we truly a multi racial advanced society,like in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s? Has,taking the oath ceremony daily in schools, helped students realise the meaning of multi racial co-existance? Has the over emphasis of Mandarin to the majority race, the cause of such violent reaction on an elderly minority race person? Incidently I am still looking for a job because I dont speak Mandarin but only speak english. Is'nt english, claimed and supposed to be the working language? Everyone in Singapore goes to school learning and are thought in english. So are we wasting our time in schoool learning english, when it is the main requirement in the workplace and not mandarin. If that was the case than all minority students should also be thought Mandarin in schools. To be made employable at the workplace. At least the minority would be able to plead in mandarin for compassion, before getting beaten by the majority race assialant. THE DRIVER OF THE BUS SHOULD BE SACKED FOR BEING AN ACCOMPALICE WITH THE COWARDS, IN CAUSING HARM TO THAT POOR OLD LADY.

ed said...

Ah well. A chinese friend of mine who worked in china for 2 years said that it was a country where if you get chopped in the streets, nobody was going to do anything about it - that actually happened to someone else by a gang well known for that. Singapore, a first world nation with a 'made in china' mentality. Be warned for the hazardous substance.

Anyway, it happens all the time here in less violent ways. I've personally heard indians being ridiculed or called names and the people around just generally keep silent, and from their expressions, you can tell they couldn't care less. Indians get discriminated in the media, ads, 'chinese preferred' for jobs, etc, etc. I've experienced it quite a few times myself. It's no wonder that within such a climate, the less intelligent would get violent every once in a while. It is the 'normal' discrimination that founds the basis for this. 'Sad Sack' is spot on with regards to this. (ha! 'Sad Sack', haven't heard that name in years. You in your 40s?)

And hey, don't let me get started by the racist tendencies amongst the opposition as well (singaporedaily, wp, sdp). If you don't see it, it just serves as evidence that you've, in part, internalised your 2nd class status. I haven't and never will.

If a race of people (the chinese) don't want to be disliked, they ought to stand up when one of their perceived number acts in a bigoted way. If not, they are complicit by association. In the UK, you will find many whites fighting against racist whites. That's why they are not generally disliked by the Indians, Chinese, etc.

But not here. That's the real singapore for you. No wonder i have nothing but disdain for this pathetic boil of a nation.


Anonymous said...

Whatever their race, the perpetrators deserve to be hanged by their balls. There is no place for idiots like these in Singapore.


Anonymous said...

since when we become like china?

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is a whiff of racism about this issue. Unfortunately nothing will improve under a PAP government. Everything gets swept under the carpet, including, for instance, the billions lost by Temasek.

So, if you are a minority race person and you read this and your blood boils --- think about who you vote for during the next election. Be smart, vote wisely.

ed said...

Just take a look at how this issue has been picked up by local oppositional writers. How many of those have been highlighted in

That's one of the main reasons why i don't get involved in local politics. The opposition, in many respects, reeks of the proposition. Be careful which iconic figures you take from the 'oppositional' side lest you end up just serving the interests of your discriminators through them.

Chee et al may be nice in your personal interactions with them - as he certainly was in my interaction with close to a decade ago - but unless you are not a product of this system, you will not get past the niceties to the essence. Stop this juvenile hero-worship. That is just a by-product of a propositional system based on that.

It's about time 'minorities' become conscious of themselves as a class that is marginalised. NOT for the purpose of effecting social unrests, but for the purpose of forming a social support network which can be used to explore these issues and force other oppositional minds to take on board these perspectives which they currently blatantly ignore even when their attention is directed to it, ie. singaporedaily is one such racist example - i bet most did not notice that their 'daily chiobu' section is racist...that serves as evidence of your accepting your underclass status at a subconscious level.

The purpose of creating 'minority' consciousness is for effecting mutual respect which can only have a positive impact on the population as a whole. In time, the idea of 'minority' has to be redefined to refer to 'foreigner's as opposed to 'race'.

Additionally, it can take control of any violent tendencies amongst minorities and channel it toward social discourse as opposed to violence. In this, any possibility of social unrest is eradicated.

If this is not done, the effects of the 'hdb quota' system will be replicated in the oppositional sphere and underdevelopment will ensue amongst a fragmented racially-defined underclass.

Racially-defined minorities must, however, not seek to separate themselves from the opposition, but work towards reforming it from within. This must be avoided as it will tend to further racialise politics and perpetuate the notion that 'minority' = 'race'. They must NOT take on the government, but the opposition themselves and have their interests appreciated. But first, you must be perceived by them to be an intellectual force worthy of notice.

Fragmentation must cease.

Robox said...

ed, I'm with you on everything that you have written. With particular reference to this quote by you:

Re: "Racially-defined minorities must, however, not seek to separate themselves from the opposition, but work towards reforming it from within."

It is not in the least unusual in other political systems, even the Westminister one, to have caucuses internal to a political party.

Thus, the SDP for instance (and perhaps with Seelan facilitating this) you can have Indian, Malay, and even women's and LGBT caucuses; these function like subcommittees within the party which identify issues of concern to their particular constituencies after obtaining feedback from them, and seek to implement solutions to problems be they internal to a political party or national ones.

Caucuses are really an internal check and balance system - internal democracy, really - that can ensure that the members of the larger party are themselves educated on issues like racism through internal workshops for example, and will strategize on national policies that do not disadvantage Indians and Malays in particular.

A party like the SDP which holds out the promise of democracy to Singaporeans can only be strengthened by pracitising internal democracy; it would have very first hand and experience and intimate knowledge of democratic processes, practises and attitudes.

It also becomes a very attarctive party to join and work with, and this applies even to the many decent Chinese Singaporeans who are out there.

Robox said...

And one more thing to ed and other readers:

Ideas like caucuses are anathema to the PAP because of the long held irrational suspicions that Lee Kuan Yew in particular have held towards both Indians and Malays; he has also infected many in his party and beyond with his sickness.

In other words, change is not going to come from the PAP - there are too many internal contradictions within the PAP on the issue of race that would ensure that.

Anonymous said...

to: ed

re: the chiobu section on

an astute observation. i have to admit that i looked past the racialised discourse on beauty. thanks for the heads-up.

ed said...

Great points Robox. Thank you for the idea of the 'caucus'.

Yes. But rather than having bodies with separate interests just working toward achieving their own ends, it would be best to have caucuses including members of various interests for the purpose of promoting the notion that our interests are tied even if we think they aren't. What people here need is education on how the interests of another will inevitably impact upon us.

Caucuses defined by interests is good, but not if it only comprises members whose interests it represents. That would only replicate the self-interested groups outside that can actually serve to found the basis upon which the tyranny of the majority emerges.

Additionally, it can lead to factions within a party and possible eventual break-ups. To allay such a possibility, an 'enlightened' ruler might emerge and which can eventually lead to a replication of this country's history post-colonialism.

I wouldn't say that the caucus would be anathema to the PAP. Actually, it can serve to incorporate dissent and perpetuate an iniquitous agenda. For instance, the 'caucus' in various forms do exist in this country, i.e. grassroots organisations, the NTUC, 'racial harmony' organisations, etc. But these serve to incorporate dissent as opposed to eradicating the grounds for it. It is only true internal democracy and the existence of true empathy within a party that can allay this.

However, it would be foolish to discount your idea completely. I'd say that it is indeed worthy of consideration and most definitely requires refinement in view of the existing and extremely ingrained biases that afflicts this nation whether it is on the proposition or opposition side.

Thank you, indeed, for your thoughts. I would be most interested in hearing your thoughts on other matters as well.


ed said...

to anonymous,

Actually, it is not 'astute' at all.;) After my 5 year sojourn in the UK, such things are only too obvious. What might be 'astute' is my observation that the SDP and WP does to some degree, racialise politics as observed by the order in which the different languages are presented in the banner and the sidebar. That, in psychological terms, is called a 'Freudian slip'. In these instances i detect that they too have fallen for the PAP's equation, majority = race.

I would recommend that the least be placed first to indicate that racial numbers does not matter, and that empathy is paramount. But i dare say that no one is going to be listening to me anytime soon as prominence is valued more than insight - yet another instance of 50 years of PAP Rule.

But, i thank you for your appreciation of the point all the same.


Robox said...

To ed:

I wrote a reply to your first paragraph with the intention of continuing with seperate posts for the points you raised in subsequent ones, but I experienced a glitch and I don't know if it went through.

That reply actually answers to many of the points you raised subsequently. I actually think that we currently have different visions of what caucuses would look like, an just as importantly, what principles they are founded on so that they look and function the way they do.

I will wait and see about the first post, but in the meantime I will address one important point that you raised. It also happens to be a common fear - just an initial discomfort, really - even among those who stand to gain by such an arrangement.

Re: " can lead to factions within a party and possible eventual break-ups."

If my first post goes through, I hope to have allayed the fear of factions within an organization in it.

So I will go on to the fear of breakups.

(Note: In my first post, I used the example of an Indian caucus in the SDP to illustrate my point. I am continuing in the same vein.)

Breakups tend to occur, presumably by the Indian caucus since the issue that sparked off this discuission is that of racism, that:

1. misunderstanding or even the refusal to understand;

2. #1 has been a pattern in the experience of the Indian caucus with respect to the larger organization leading to the impression or knowledge that the larger SDP is aginst parity for the Indian community;

3. it is felt that there are irreconciliable differences between the Indian caucus of the SDP and the larger SDP itself.

In such a scenario (and assuming reasonable-ness only on the side of the Indian caucus), we then ask ourselves: Is it worth continuing?

Robox said...

To ed:

This is Reply #3 in which I illustrate how an SDP Indian caucus could help in the case of Madam A Nyanamani in the article.

1. Madam A Nyanamani approaches the caucus either from knowing of its existence or after having heard about it from her contacts.

2. The Indian caucus then documents her complaint.

3. If no one had already made a police report, the caucus could act as her advocate and accomapny her to make one. This is only the criminal aspect to her case.

4. Also because SBS receives public funds, this is matter of the public interest and therefore affords a greater role for the SDP. The administrative and potentially political aspects of her case could see the caucus make enquiries with the SBS regarding policy and procedure for dealing with such occurrences.

5. Depending on the findings into the inquiry with SBS, a course of action can be decided upon and undertaken by the caucus. (A pattern of similar cases involving other complainants would require stronger action from the larger SDP upon receiving the information from the caucus.)

6. If the outcome in #5 is an unfavourable one, then negative publicity for the parties involved should ensue. (In politics, you care and you calculate.) The SDP's image as do-gooder in the eyes of the public - as well as in Madam A Nyanamani's circle - would be enhanced.

7. If instead the outcome in #5 is a happy ending, then it is good publicity for the SDP (Care. And Calculate.); its image as do-gooder in the eyes of the public - as well as in Madam A Nyanamani's circle - would still be enhanced.

Imagine the electoral fortunes of the SDP when it builds itself a good reputation from continually doing work of such a nature, but not limited to it.

Note: This is the 'adversarial' politics that the PAP has a chronic aversion for and inflicts the same aversion on Singaporeans: it ensures that the grievances of the underdog will never be recompensed.

Robox said...

Hi ed,

Well it looks like the first post I wrote did not in fact get through.

But for strategic reasons, I've decided against writing it again. However, if you are still interested in it, just say so here: I'll leave you my email and we can take it from there.