My mum called me distressed and crying in the afternoon of 13th june- she told me that she had boarded the train (NEL line) at little India mrt station after getting the groceries. She was coming back home towards the Harbourfront stations .

The train was crowded and she is not very strong and healthy. My mum is a recovering cancer patient and also has a pacemaker. She is 70 years old this year.

Thus, she looked for an empty seat or someone to give up the seat to her ; but no one did. So she approached 2 ladies who were sitting at the Reserved seats and asked them to please give up the seat to her. She believed them to be Mother and daughter due to their age and demeanor. The mother was also a young mother – say mid 40s and was not handicap or injured. They are a Singaporean Chinese family.

Upon her asking for the seat, the mother stood up and gave the seat to my mother. However she seemed annoyed with having to give up her seat and went towards a middle aged Singaporean Chinese man who was standing near to them – most likely it was her husband; and started speaking to him quite agitatedly whilst looking at the same time at my mother.

Subsequently , the man then took out his phone and started to aim the phone towards my mother – as if to take her photo or video her .

Of course my mother was startled by his action and just asked him what he was doing. He said he was going to post about my mother on Facebook. He then said he paid money for his mrt ride. My mother naturally told him, she too paid money for her ride and because of her age, and she also has a pacemaker and her legs are not too strong, she asked for someone to give up a reserved seat for her.

The man then proceed to verbally abuse my mother – all sorts of vulgarities in hokkien and English. My mother can understand hokkien as she grew up in the kampung and also has many friends from different races and cultures. He then started to use racial terms like calling her “Indian” as if to try and patronize my mother.

During this time, the man’s wife got involved and she came towards my mother and spat on her! She then held back her husband as her husband too started to raise his hands – as if to try and beat my mother. The woman then told him in hokkien that she can do it instead.

All this time, no one in the train did anything. All they did was watch. Which made my mother even more frustrated and distressed. A small incident was suddenly blown up so big and everyone in the train was just watching and no one bothered to intervene.

My mother then felt that she had to take photos of the man and his family, since there was no one to come to her aid.

The train reached harbourfront station and all them got off. My mother told the man to come with her as she wanted to make a police report – and that was when he called my mother a “keliang kia” . The man continued to stand very close to my mother – whilst going up the escalator, he stood very near to her, directly behind her, as if to further try to physically harm her or at least threaten to intimidate her some more.

She subsequently approached the staff at the control station, however by then , the man and his family had walked off.

My mother is now fearful that the man would post her photos and videos on social media and get people to come after her.

I had to leave work early and rush to the police station to calm her down. She is an elderly woman with medical issues and all she wanted was to sit down during the train journey. Her legs/knees have been giving her problem for some time – and she did not want to risk falling down during the train journey. The journey would have at least been a good 20 minutes ride and this was on top of her Doing the shopping for her groceries at Little India. What was even more alarming is that no one on the train helped her or even bothered to intervene. This was an elderly woman who was getting verbally abused as well as being intimidated by 2 other people – and no one did anything! What has Singapore become ?!

Jimmy Singh
A.S.S. Contributor

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