It was a quarter past 11pm when a seemingly mild commotion along Kinta Road fell onto the ears of 24-year-old Mohamed Usman on a typical crowded Little India Sunday.
But this commotion however, was of a different nature and at a much bigger scale.
Despite the gravity of the event, Usman couldn’t help but break into a chuckle as he peered in between the grilles of his apartment – neck craned sideways to transform his ears into a panoramic inlet for the sounds below him.
“An old man was arguing with the riot police,” he said, “and you could tell he was really angry.”
An elderly cyclist was attempting to manoeuvre his way through Race Course Road when a detail of armed policemen stopped him short in his tracks – inciting a war of words.
“Immediately, I knew he was Singaporean,” Usman sniggered, adding that his well versed nature of the English language coupled with feisty vocals were dead giveaways.
The twenty minute debate saw the senior cyclist engage in an oratory fracas as thick smoke filled the air.
Like a seasoned debater, he put across a range of arguments like his rights as a Singaporean citizen and the basis of free society, among other things.
All this, in a bid to get across to the other side of the road.
By this time, Usman had quietly beckoned the attention of his housemates – each picking a spot in between the curtains to get a piece of the action.
To the utter disbelief of his room mates and himself, the police eventually gave in – surrounding the cyclist in a protective entourage of anti-riot policemen as he casually cycled through the violence-torn street and out of Little India.
“I guess he must have felt really special. Not everyone gets to cycle pass a riot.”