CALLED ME A DOG
"YOU are a
you fight for us? We are Islam!"
A gang of about a
dozen rioters hurled abuse, yelled insults and
humiliated Mr B Chua for at least an hour. He was
The year was 1950.
was the height of the Maria
Hertogh case, and Mr Chua was new recruit
with the Singapore Police Force, having
joined just after his O levels.
He was riding his
motorbike on his way home when he was stopped
by a gang of 12 stick-wielding, angry rioters
at the junction of Arab Street and North
Bridge Road near Sultan Mosque.
Thinking that Mr Chua
was Malay because of his tanned complexion, the
rioters grabbed his tin helmet, threw it into
a nearby drain and challenged him to pick it up.
Then in his early 20s,
Mr Chua was furious and unafraid.
"But I swallowed
my pride because our British officers in charge had
warned us again and again not to retaliate if we were
verbally abused, because if they attacked us, we
would be outnumbered," recalled Mr Chua.
"We were told to
keep calm, and not show off."
uniform in the old days.
69-year-old.retiree is an alert, cheerful and
animated man who speaks with a passion. He flails his
arm about, every time he wants to make a point, and
one can see the fiery 20-year-old officer in him.
Click to hear
Mr Chuas description
of the incident
Mr Chua said that
during this time, the British officers who were in
charge were very diplomatic. They did not believe in
Even when their lives
were endangered, police officers could only step back
and fire a warning shot, said Mr Chua. They were
taught that shooting at the crowd would create more
we had for protection was a wicker shield made of
rattan," he said.
"I was lucky to
escape unhurt that time. They were all crazy at that
Maybe because he
looked like a Malay, Mr Chua was finally allowed to
go. He quickly sped off on his motorbike.
He never did pick up
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