Obnoxious Behaviour In Hawker Centre

By now, everyone in Singapore should have seen the minute-long video uploaded last Saturday (April 22) where two well-dressed Singaporeans picked on an elderly man at a Toa Payoh hawker centre. Now, a petition has been started to raise funds for the old man to sue the pants off the still-unidentified couple, and it’s already gotten more than 2,500 signatories.

To recap, in the clip, a young lady was seen hurling insulting remarks at an elderly man after a dispute erupted over the use of a table at the centre at Toa Payoh Lorong 8. To make matters worse, the male friend of the lady came from behind and barbarically barged into the senior citizen, making him fall forward.

Outrage

Those who watched the video couldn’t help feeling outraged, especially as the old man was not being rude or belligerent, but the couple acted like hooligans.

It spurred netizen Trish Suan into initiating a petition to take civil action against the couple.

According to the write up on Change.org, the objective of the petition is:

  1. To raise awareness that the Silver Generation should be respected, and not abused (verbally and physically)
  2. To raise funds for the old man to take civil action against the couple for intimidation, verbal abuse etc.
  3. To petition to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to take constructive action to protect the Pioneer generation of Singapore.

It will be delivered to the following groups:

  1. The Ministry of Social and Family Development
  2. Pro Bono Services Office – The Law Society of Singapore
  3. Community Legal Clinic
  4. Agency for Integrated Care

As of Monday (April 24), it had received more than 2,500 signatures.

Police Incident

Apart from the petition, it’s evident that this incident is going to blow up further, as according to the Shin Min Daily News, the police made a trip down to the hawker centre on Sunday (April 23) to try to get information on the incident. According to the paper, the police spent around half an hour speaking to the hawkers.

Eyewitness Madam Lim, 50, said she noticed that the woman had placed a purple umbrella on the table to “chope” it.

However, the elderly man seemingly didn’t notice it, and proceeded to occupy the seat at the said table. The woman then asked the man to leave, before telling him to stay as she lashed out at him.

Another Eyewitness

This coincides with what was said by Facebook user Janice Lim, who was also allegedly present when the incident happened.

According to her, the elderly man was subjected to verbal abuse from the woman after he asked her if the table he tried to sit at was empty. She said the purple umbrella was on the table, but he was unsure whether it was reserved.

The woman blew her top, and started cursing and swearing before answering a phone call. Her male friend, who abruptly arrived at the scene, intentionally rammed into the old man before asking why he was bothering her.

After being chided for his actions, the man displayed maturity which rivaled that of a 6-year-old — by throwing a tantrum, sweeping all the utensils from the table onto the floor.

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Mistaken Identity

Amid the outrage, netizens tried to hunt down the couple, but social media justice can be brutal — this time it was characteristically quick to jump the gun and wrongly lambasted a woman they thought was the culprit.

Ms Cherry Tan found herself caught up in the drama after a netizen claimed she was the woman in the video.

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Her name and a photo of her boyfriend was quickly circulated over the Internet by a website, and netizens even sent messages to their employer, UOB Bank demanding that the couple be punished.

Ms Tan had to resort to sending a message to them to avow her innocence.

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UOB also posted on Facebook clarifying that the couple in the video was NOT employed by the bank.

Finally, a public apology was made by the page for its wrongful accusation.

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However, the damage was already done and netizens who were quick to slam Ms Tan turned their ire to a new target:

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Truth Revealed

Well, the now-absolved Ms Tan finally took to Facebook to clear up any misunderstanding.

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Netizens performed a 180-degree turn and went from hating her to showering her with concern and empathy.

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Unacceptable Behaviour

This saga has provided much entertainment to our boring lives in recent days, but we sincerely hope the real culprits will be apprehended soon.

Such behaviour should not be tolerated.

This is also a reminder that one should verify the authenticity of information before passing it on to others, lest innocent parties get hurt unnecessarily.

Featured image from Facebook and change.org