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Raffles Place People

ST has a wonderful picture on Page 1, of the people at Raffles Place helping the stabbing victim and holding down the attacker at lunchtime yesterday. Go buy ST. It is a powerful picture. It showcasesnot just the public spiritedness of the people, but also its cosmopolitan mix. Of the English-language MSM, only TNP managed to throw up a name, a 28 year old auditor Mohammad Nazir Abdul Rahman, who helped pin down the assailant. Go buy TNP. Its sub-editors, however, seemed to have forgotten the need for proper picture captions and I can only assume that he is the man in the dark blue polo tee-shirt and beige pants. (I guess Friday is casual day at KPMG). And the police will be pleased to know that he pinned down the attacker because his national service police training kicked in. He must therefore be Singaporean, or least a second generation PR. Nah. Singaporean. I hear you ask, Is this important? Not to me, but to the cynical who think Singaporeans can’t be bothered to do anything but watch or complain.

Good on you, Mr Mohammad Nazir! I hope police will give you an award!

Now who were the rest of the people? TODAY said it tried to approach some of them, including the woman in the beige jacket who seemed to be tending to both victim and assailant in the pictures that have been circulating, but they declined to be interviewed. What I really want to know is the identity of this brave woman who was the first to act. She held on to the assailant right after the attacker stabbed him but couldn’t hold on to him. And what about the women whom Mr Mohammad Nazir referred to as having saved the victim’s life by tending to his injuries and which woman went to get hold of a first-aid kit?

I am sure there will be some who will point out that many others simply watched and took pictures. Curious bystanders and gawkers. Maybe we expected the whole of Raffles Place to be chasing down the man, like some kind of lynch mob. But it is enough methinks for some good souls to take the lead for the rest who were too stunned or did not want to put themselves forward for some reason. And they showed that good sense and quick thinking can come in many stripes and colours…

Of course, now everybody is wondering about the identities of the stabber and the stabbed. TODAY said that the victim was a frequent visitor to The Arcade, with its myriad of moneychangers but the moneychangers declined to speak to reporters. Many will note that the victim spoke in Mandarin. Let’s not jump the gun and conclude that they are Chinese who are not from these shores because we can’t conceive of such a brazen attack from our “own kind’’. I hear you ask, Is that important? Not to me, but to the anti-foreigner lobby who will chalk it up as another point in its favour. The stabber and stabbed can be of any nationality, just like the people who helped.

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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