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Buzz over people behaving badly

On a lighter note, how about running with a spiky fruit and presidential bromances?


Bad behaviour happens to everyone, every day and everywhere. But why do some examples stand out more than others?

Incidents of men - and women - behaving badly have been creating online buzz in the past week, and they were not the first and certainly won't be the last.

In the wee hours of May 27, four people were caught on video wrecking a porridge eatery in Upper Serangoon Road. They flipped a table, shattering its marble surface, and smashed chairs against the serving area, sending glass shards flying - all this over a $28 bill.

By Tuesday, three of the four were arrested and two of them were charged a day later with performing a rash act. A third person was charged on Friday.

The video, first posted on the Facebook page of Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily News, has garnered close to 172,000 views. The story was at the top of The Straits Times' most-read chart that weekend, scoring more than 300,000 page views.

In another incident, some residents in Yishun said they have been harassed by a neighbour for over a year. They alleged that the woman would regularly splash an oil-like substance that smelt like urine along their corridors.

The scene after four people allegedly wrecked a porridge eatery after getting into a heated argument with staff over their $28 bill. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS


Her actions drove one neighbour to erect a "wall" lined with cacti to keep her out. But the town council said the barrier, made from scrap materials, is a fire hazard and has asked for it to be removed.

The story, with a photo of the bizarre "cacti wall" and a 43-second footage of the "sunglasses auntie", as some media dubbed her, attracted close to 40,000 page views last weekend.

Residents at Yishun Block 112 have built a "wall" barbed with cacti to keep out a neighbour who has been dumping urine and other things on their doors. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM


  • TRAFFIC POLICE ACCIDENT: The fatal accident involving a 29-year-old traffic police cop on Thursday in Serangoon Road was a trending search on Google Singapore. Staff Sergeant Nadzrie Matin was performing traffic patrol duties when the accident occurred.

  • DARCI LYNNE: The video of the 12-year-old singing ventriloquist appearing on America's Got Talent 2017 was one of the top viral clips with over three million views. She wowed the audience and got the golden buzzer from Mel B.

  • COVFEFE MEANING: This was one of the top Google searches after United States President Donald Trump tweeted it in an apparent unfinished tweet, which was assumed to be a typo.

A few days after the news came out, police said they have arrested the 63-year-old woman. She was later released.

Did the intense public interest in such incidents play a part in the police's actions?

Lawyers I spoke to said they thought so. Mr Raphael Louis said there is definitely a correlation between public interest and police attention

"Especially when there are videos... because there is clear evidence. People don't usually read long blogs or news articles. But a 30-second video tells you everything."

Citing the Attorney-General's Chambers' code of practice for the conduct of criminal proceedings, Mr Louis said prosecutors are guided by the public interest in applying the rule of law.

"Online buzz influences public interest," he explained.

Another lawyer, who did not want to be named, felt that social media has, in a way, helped the police in their work. "The videos and other evidence can provide clues for the police to carry out their investigations."

However, he cautioned that social media sometimes does not give the real or complete picture.

"What's circulated on social media may be distorted or diluted," he said. This is why the police need time to conduct thorough investigations, he added.

In some cases, lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said, the police try to resolve things amicably. "We should give the police some leeway in trying to manage the situation."


As a one-time avid runner, I used to take part in running events, waking up at unearthly hours and travelling to another part of the island just to run with thousands of people that 10km or 15km that I had been training for.

After a while, I stopped participating in such runs. The rising fees were one reason. But the prevalence of such events - there was almost one running event every weekend - made me wonder if I and many others were falling into the trap of profit-making organisers. Perhaps age played a part too. As I got older, I found it more appealing to run at my own pace, time, location - and for free.

But running nowadays, it seems, is not only for the fitness-conscious, but also for those looking for entertainment and fun.

Themed runs are all the rage now in Singapore.

In the past 12 months, there were the Pokemon, Star Wars, Snoopy, Hello Kitty, Garfield and My Little Pony runs, just to name a few. Participants don T-shirts and accessories of the cartoon or movie characters during the run, and the icing on the cake comes in the form of a goodie bag filled with "limited edition" memorabilia.

It's no surprise that organisers are jumping on the bandwagon, considering the popularity of such runs. The inaugural Star Wars Run here on May 6, for example, saw 15,000 participants who had paid at least $80 each to run in two teams - Dark and Light sides of the Force - amid colourful pyrotechnics that lit up the night sky, followed by meet-and-greet sessions with Chewbacca and Kylo Ren.

And the latest and most talked-about run - the Durian Run. The organiser has struck a chord with durian-loving Singaporeans: All 388 places were snapped up less than a week after the July 23 event was first announced.

The event has drawn both criticism and bemused reactions from netizens. Some question its safety as participants, who will include children, have to run a 5km route while carrying the spiky fruit. Others laud its good intention and creativity - proceeds from the run will be donated to charity and, at the end of the event, runners will be awarded with a medal, a coconut and, you guessed it, a durian.

I'm not a fan of the King of Fruits, but if running while carrying a durian can help the less fortunate and also give you a chance to bond with family and friends, I don't see any harm in doing it.

Scrolling through the running calendar for the rest of the year, an event caught my eye: the Otter Run in September. Who knows, participants might just "run" into the famous Bishan 10.


Lastly, sparks flew on social media last week when newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron had an outing with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in picturesque Sicily, Italy.

With the Mediterranean sea as their backdrop, the two young leaders, known for their good looks and commitment to liberalism and pluralism, took a walk together along flower-lined walkways.

This brought to mind the other bromances among politicians, some heartwarming, such as former US president Barack Obama and vice-president Joe Biden; others a little odd, such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte. Do check them out on www.straitstimes.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 04, 2017, with the headline ' Buzz over people behaving badly'. Print Edition | Subscribe