Woman on MRT train asks fellow commuters what race they belong to, makes snide remarks

The encounter was caught on camera.

Belmont Lay | Syahindah Ishak | April 22, 2021, 05:05 PM

A woman on the East-West Line MRT train was filmed making snide remarks about fellow commuters and even asking a group of them who did not know one another what race they belong to.

The incident occurred on April 21 and a video of the woman making her comments and pointing her phone to video record other commuters was put up on Twitter by @mysweetseranade.


The caption of the Twitter video said: "I fasting, tired and saw an empty seat. Next thing I know, got a lady accusing us Malays of harassing her??"

The video no longer appears on Twitter but a copy of it has been uploaded to Facebook.

What video showed

The video started with the woman in a dark pink outfit questioning other commuters around her as she remained seated throughout the mostly one-sided exchange.

At the start of the video, there was an empty seat to the right of her.

She asked the commuters seated directly across her: "You guys want to tell me where, which JC you're from?"

Without waiting for a response, she then continued to speak about people she apparently knows: "Now, he was from NUS, I was from Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, in case you don't know. Alright."

She then cut herself off mid-sentence just as she was talking about the occupation of another person she apparently knows.

The woman then asked the other commuters: "Hi, erm, may I know your race?"

Repeatedly asked commuters about their race

She repeated herself again when she did not get an answer.

A voice off-camera then replied: "Why?"

The woman then asked the question a third time, and said to the commuter she was speaking to: "I just want to know whether you are together with them."

The same voice off-camera responded: "Malay"

The woman then replied swiftly: "Malay is it? Okay, no wonder."

"Okay, anyway, this is for you, alright?"

She then continued: "He is a creative director, my brother-in-law is a chief executive officer, my nephew is a lawyer."

At this point, a male voice off-camera can be heard interjecting, saying: "Racist sia."

Woman challenged commuters to speak to camera

The woman then sounded more agitated as she cut herself off and pointed her phone's camera at the commuters seated opposite her.

She said: "Now, let you have opportunity talk, tell the police."

A male voice off-camera asked: "Tell the police what?"

The woman replied: "Tell the police why I always need to hang out with you guys because you are always, one, two, three, four, five, six..."

The train then pulled up at Clementi station.

The woman then continued: "It's not coincidental. I was from Hwa Chong, I not that stupid."

"Seriously, you are wasting your time, you know. It's been how many years? Nine years?"

"I will never mix around with you guys because you are, we are so different."

"You're the second Indian guy I met. On Monday, it's this guy he is waiting to go into medical school in NUS. Future doctor, alright?"

At this point, the train cabin had other commuters getting on and off, but that did not stop the woman.

"Don't waste your time," she said. "You're wasting your time."

"I already told you, the people I can get along with, alright, but ah, from NJC, I was from Hwa Chong."

She then subsequently repeated herself: "He was from NUS, okay, I was from Calgary. He is a creative director..."

By the end of the video, the two seats directly beside the woman were empty.

Person who recorded video speaks about bizarre encounter

In response to Mothership.sg's queries, Ryan, the commuter who filmed the encounter, said he had no idea what hit him.

The 26-year-old athletics coach said he boarded the east-bound MRT train at Jurong East at the centre platform and found some empty seats at the cabin at the front end of the train.

Ryan said the woman just started asking the people around her what race they belonged to.

According to his own estimation, the other commuters in the cabin were aged between 18 and 40 years old and they did not even know one another.

What happened next perplexed Ryan.

He said: "She then whipped out her phone and started recording us, counting the number of Malays in the train cabin, saying it is for the police and that we are harassing her."

That was when he started recording the encounter.

Can't tell what triggered woman

According to Ryan, he went over to the area in the train in the first place as there were empty seats and he did not sense anything amiss as other commuters were minding their own business.

"From my point of view, nobody did anything to provoke her," he said.

The encounter did not last long as the woman walked away shortly after the train pulled out of Clementi MRT station.

Ryan said: "She told the group of us to enjoy ourselves and walked away after the train passed Dover MRT station."

Ryan said he did not report the incident to the police.

Asked to reflect on what happened, Ryan said he was angry but chose not to act on it.

He said:

"The group of people she targeted were a bunch of strangers. No one knew each other so I cannot speak for them. For me it's just really shocking to encounter this in Singapore. I felt assaulted and demeaned. To be verbally attacked like that in public because of my skin colour is denigrating. I've studied in London for my Bachelor of Science degree and somewhat expected it, but fortunately, have not been a target of racial discrimination during my time there. So to experience it here, is just really appalling. To be blunt, I really felt like smacking her phone away, but I'm fasting and part of fasting is to control yourself. So all I did was record the video."