S'porean man accused of shouting 'Go back bloody Indians' at expat family of 4 at Pasir Ris Beach Park

Uncalled for.

Belmont Lay | May 10, 2021, 04:08 AM

A man, who identified himself as a Singaporean, was caught on camera gesticulating wildly and repeatedly shouting and accusing an expatriate family of four of spreading the coronavirus here.

The unsavoury incident occurred at Pasir Ris Beach Park on Sunday, May 2, 2021, slightly after 6pm.

The two-and-a-half-minute footage was shot and forwarded to Mothership.sg by the expatriate family who were at the park at that time.

The expatriate family consists of the husband, who is seen in the video in pink, and his wife, who was taking the video, as well as two of their children -- the couple's son, 11, and daughter, 7, who were off-camera.

The husband and wife are both aged 42.

Shocked something like this happened in Singapore

The wife said in an email to Mothership.sg that her family were shocked to witness the unprovoked and overtly "racial comments" directed at them, which was the first time they experienced something like this in Singapore having been here for the last 10 years.

And she was concerned her children are most affected by this incident.

The mother-of-two said: "More shocking for my daughter who was born in Singapore and had only visited India four times."

What happened

The man in grey had allegedly taunted the expatriate family initially by continuously shouting in their direction, "Bloody Indians go back, spreading virus here", the wife said.

She said her family ignored the man's taunts the first time round when they were walking past him while he was seated at the bench with a woman beside him.

However, when the expatriate family crossed his path again subsequently, the man in grey repeated his taunts.

This time, the woman's husband went up the man in grey and told him he "cannot call us as bloody Indian" as "it's a slang".

"He reacted, took out his mobile and said he will put a video of us on social media, and that we are the Indians spreading virus here," she said.

"At this point I took out my mobile phone and started taking a video of him."

She added that her family were wearing masks at the park for about two hours and had covered a distance of about 6km.

The only time they took off their masks was to have a drink, which was when they were accused of not wearing their masks.

Man in grey allegedly avoided racist taunts in video

However, the footage did not capture the man in grey repeating the taunts he made earlier as he appeared aware he was being recorded.

The expatriate woman who shot the video, told Mothership.sg: "He changed the point later as a mask issue, but the taunts were very clear. While India is gasping for life, these taunts stung as very hurtful comments."

What man in grey said in video

Throughout the video, the man could be heard declaring that he is a Singaporean who had served NS.

He even named the unit he served in during his NS stint.

The self-proclaimed Singaporean man also questioned the man in pink by asking: "Where did you serve your NS?"

He then continued shouting: "What is your problem? You don't come here and challenge us."

"I'm not talking to you. You are not wearing your mask. You must maintain a safe distance."

"You don't come here talk so much, I wasn't talking to you."

"This is my country. Back off. Maintain your distance."

"You are coming here. You are spreading the virus."

"This will go to social media."

Expat family tried reasoning with man

In response to the man's repeated accusations, the man in pink could be heard asking at various points: "Why did you say 'Bloody Indians'?"

According to the video, the expatriate man could be seen speaking in a measured tone, as the self-proclaimed Singaporean man's voice got louder and his actions became more animated over the short span of time.

The scene also appeared surreal, as the Singaporean man was accompanied by a woman seated on the bench looking unperturbed the whole time.

No one intervened

At multiple points throughout the video, parkgoers could be seen making their way around the commotion, with no one stepping in to intervene or even gawk.

And the back-and-forth between the two men persisted.

In response to the man in grey's accusation that he had his mask down, the expatriate man said: "I was drinking water."

Off-camera, at one point, the expatriate woman could be heard asking the man in grey: "Did you say 'Bloody Indian'?"

"Continuously taunting us 'Bloody Indians', it is not fair," she added.

As she approached the man in grey, her husband could be seen walking towards his wife in a bid to stop her from getting too close.

The expatriate man could be heard telling his wife: "He is not normal."

What happened eventually

The video cut off just as the man in grey repeatedly accused the family of spreading the virus in Singapore.

The expatriate woman said the incident ended when her family backed off and by then, some parkgoers who appear local, stepped in.

She said: "A few local Singaporeans were explaining to him to cool down as we made a move out."

The woman also said her daughter has been affected: "We moved quickly out as my daughter was a bit traumatised by the incident. She kept on saying, 'I am born in Singapore and I am Singaporean -- how can he call me bloody Indian?'"

"We thought it best to quickly go back home to soothe our nerves. We were all agitated by the incident."

How family is dealing

On hindsight, the expatriate woman said this incident is likely a "one-off" case involving "a crazy guy" and news of Covid-19 spreading at an alarming rate in India is giving people the jitters.

She said: "To be very frank, we have discussed this incident as a family a few times now since Sunday."

"In our opinion, we think its a weird, one-off incident with a crazy guy."

"But considering that there are too many Covid cases happening in India, there may be an underlying thought that the rising India numbers are coming from all Indians."

"Unfortunate, but the truth is that everyone is scared of the virus, which has means of sneaking through closed border crevices."

"But let's not lose our minds while we avoid the virus."

"Our prayers are definitely with the whole Indian community suffering in India right now. We have resided in Singapore for 10 years now, and love this country as our own."