Want to share this. No soft copy, so I am gonna do the old fashion way. I’m going to type out the whole article.
report by :- Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, TNP, 28 March 2012
“They have no sense of consequence because they’re so used to saying what they want anytime they want. But they have to learn. Watch your words or you have to watch your back.”
For those too quick with their fingers, this 72-year-old grandmother has sage advice.
Watch your words or you have to watch your back, Madam Esah Abdul Hadi said in Malay.
She added:” Young people these days have not experienced enough hardship. I lived through the Japanese Occupation, the Maria Hertogh riots, and the racial riots of 1964 and 1969.”
“They may have learnt about these in class, but they weren’t there. They don’t know how scary it was. “
“They have no sense of consequence because they’re so used to saying what they want any time they want. But they have to learn. Watch your words or you have to watch your back.”
Madam Esah has read reports of the students making racial and other derogatory comments online.
It worries her.
The last thing she wants is to live through another race riot.
Memories of what happened on July 21, 1964, still haunt her. Race riots then claimed 23 lives and left 454 people injured.
Madam Esah said :”I don’t know what exactly made the different races turn on each other. But race relations can’t be taken lightly.”
“It’s natural for there to be tension among people with different beliefs and upbringing, but even the tiniest thing can tip society into unrest.”
“We have to be careful and respectful. That’s what living as a community is about.”
The pint-sized woman was just 24 when violence erupted. She was then a mother of four and her youngest was barely a year old.
She lived in a kampung house the size of a two-room flat, near the Tanjong Pagar area.
Although it was the more populated city areas like Geylang which were hit, Madam Esah said terror struck the hearts of kampung dwellers as well.
In the ensuing weeks, families would, after dusk, lock themselves in their homes like prisoners.
They would extinguish their lamps for fear the flickering lights would draw rioters looking for trouble.
When her youngest daughter cried for milk, Madam Esah would shush her quickly.
“We lived in fear. In the end, nothing happened in my kampung, but we kept thinking we could be in trouble too, one day,” said Madam Esah.
“We were so scared, we couldn’t breathe. We put our lives on hold.”
Before the riots, Madam Esah would head alone for the markets in the surrounding Chinese kampungs every day.
She knew the stall owners by name. They usually haggled and bantered like old friends.
“We were all friends. We were living the simple, kampung life. Nobody was greedy, nobody wanted any trouble,” she recalled.
But when the riots took hold, even familiar faces could not quell her fears.
Safety in numbers
Madam Esah and the other residents from her kampung would gather early in the morning in huge groups to head to the market.
“Safety came in numbers. We came and went quickly. Even stall owners were worried, both about us and about themselves,” she said.
“They would tell us, ‘Quick, go home. It’ll be difficult if a fight breaks out. Be careful.’”
Sometimes, groups of Malay or Chinese youth from the city areas would turn up at the kampung wielding sticks and poles.
Fortunately, no one in her kampung was attacked.
One night, one of the village men called out to warn residents about a group of youth approaching the Malay kampung.
Madam Esah saw how deep fear ran that night.
A man, who had been squatting in one of the outdoor toilets, dashed out of the rickety stall.
“He was completely naked, except for a sarong he had draped over his head,” she said.
“He ran all the way back to his house with his naked bottom in the air. And he didn’t care. He was so scared.”
The first series of riots in 1964 came to an end in early August, when the islandwide curfew was lifted.
More than 3,500 people were arrested for taking part in the riots.
Another series of riots broke out in September that year, after a trishaw rider was killed in Geylang. This time, 13 people died and 106 people were injured.
“I hope such riots won’t happen again. Singapore is now so quiet and peaceful.”
“It should stay like this,” Madam Esah said.
———————- End of Article ——————
Now I leave you with a video clip of the 1964 Racial Riot.
Source : Anything & Whatever