Tag Archives: riot

Singapore soul searching follows migrant riot

Published by Al Jazeera English, Dec. 18, 2013

Deportations follow last week’s unrest in Little India as officials debate the best way to move forward.

By Tom Benner and Satish Cheney

Singapore – A heavy reliance on cheap foreign labour – and whether low-paid, low-status guest workers in this wealthy island-nation are treated fairly – is the cause for soul-searching and debate following a rare riot on December 8 in the Little India neighborhood.

The city-state will deport 53 people who were allegedly involved in the unrest.

Government officials blame alcohol for the riot – Singapore’s first in 44 years – which started after an Indian national was struck and killed by a bus that was ferrying foreign labourers from the Indian district to their dormitory-style living quarters. Some 400 people charged the bus and first responders, threw objects, and overturned police cars and damaged other vehicles, injuring 39 people and sending shock waves through the orderly, law-abiding country. Continue reading …

Singapore riot ignites burning class issues

Published by Al Jazeera English, Dec. 10, 2013

Experts say problems around foreign labour need to be addressed after Sunday’s riot by Indian and Bangladeshi workers.

Tom Benner

Singapore – Every Sunday as evening falls, tens of thousands of foreign-born transient workers from southern India and Bangladesh gather on the sidewalks and open fields of this city’s ethnic Indian neighborhood. For most, it is their one day off from the construction site or other job location, their one night out to eat, drink, and socialise with friends.

Low-paid migrant workers toil amid the seemingly incompatible demands of class-conscious Singaporeans, who don’t want to perform the dirty and sometimes dangerous manual labor involved in building the physical infrastructure underlying the island-nation’s economic miracle, but who simultaneously worry about the presence of too many guest workers living in their midst and clogging up sidewalks, trains and buses. Continue reading …