Must we really treat every bag as a bomb?
Our security forces seem to be working overtime lately.
In the past two months alone, there have been four cases of “public nuisance” where suspects were arrested for leaving their belongings unattended at Woodleigh, Aljunied, Admiralty and Hougang MRT stations.
For the case at the Hougang Station, the 39-year-old offender was charged for causing public nuisance and fined $1,000 for the blue luggage he left unattended on the train platform.
Although the luggage’s contents turned out to be random household items, the incident on 2nd April caused a temporary station lockdown. Many passengers were asked to evacuate the train station and trains bypassed the station for over an hour, affecting those who commute on the North-East Line.
While some Singaporeans are wondering if the authorities are being too paranoid in the name of safety, others would rather have the inconvenience as long as it ensures our safety.
Besides tolerating minor inconveniences, we should be aware of how our actions affect the community. If we could all be a little more considerate, we could well minimise the unnecessary hassle, and stay safe at the same time.
For example, we could look out for both suspicious and careless people. I cannot help but wonder, if someone had seen the man leaving his luggage at the MRT platform and alerted the staff immediately, or advise him against leaving his belongings behind, maybe the situation could have been resolved without the 80-minute lockdown at Hougang.
After all, should national security be solely the government’s problem?
Youth.SG conducted a poll with 484 polytechnic and university students last month to find out their views on this issue. The results revealed that 46 per cent students felt that the government should be the one responsible for preparing and responding to threats in Singapore. Only 32 per cent felt that security is also each individual’s responsibility.
That is worrying to me. In a time where individuals can be radicalised over the internet and ordinary everyday objects are used to disrupt the peace of the community, there is a reason to be slightly more kiasi (Hokkien: afraid to die). After all, there is a limit to what the government can do to help.
Since there is no telling when or how a terrorist will strike, if something or someone seems suspicious to you, it could be a possible threat.
Report it, do not ignore it.
It is time we stop pushing all responsibility to the government and be more proactive in defending our public safety. I mean, we are all part of this community. So, like the authorities have been saying, if we know someone who is at risk of being radicalised online, it only makes sense to inform the authorities. For all you know, your action may save thousands of lives, including the ones you love.
For me, I will be more mindful of the current security climate and refrain from using bags to “chope” seats. I would not want to be caught in the situation where I am apprehended just for “chope-ing” a seat. Getting blamed for all the public resources wasted and spending money on the fine? #notworthit
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