Delfina Utomo  |  Singapore
Published 2015-07-21 11:44:33

Just when we thought: “hey things can be nice in Singapore with a bunch of weepy videos”, we get presented with another sort of moving picture – of an unpleasant kind.

Last night Facebook user ApohTecky Numero uploaded a video he took stealthily of a woman allegedly abusing an elderly lady, presumably her mother at the corridor of her flat. And it was not a one-off incident. The uploader said in the post accompanying the video, “We have been seeing the changes in the old lady. From an old cheerful lady to a botak and fragile old lady whose face is bruised every time single time we saw her.”

Click to watch the video
Click to watch the video

The uploader also stated that by sharing the video, they hoped that many others would help them stop the violence and kicked off the #savethemakcik hashtag. And because it is the mighty Internet, the video and the hashtag went viral. Within hours, the case was being looked into by Singapore’s Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), and the uploader of the video also reported of some developments happening at the household — police going into the house, the makcik ushered to the hospital with bandages on here head, and the accused being held in custody.

Sparking off a forage of opinions online, the video got many Singaporeans talking online. What ApohTecky Numero set out to do — create awareness — he succeeded. The discussions online ranged from shock and horror, to something more tender on appreciating parents and elderly family members. Fast-paced as Singapore is, it’s easy to take the important things we have for granted.

While an incident like this can bring the community together, it is crucial to learn the importance of restraint, as Singapore’s favourite online ‘vigilantehs’ SMRT Ltd (Feedback) have highlighted. Having an address attached to the original video is by no means an invitation to seek out the perpetrators on your own. On their page, the local vigilantehs have taken the time to list out ways we can handle the situation (and future ones, touch wood) as conscientious and caring citizens – like making a police report, calling the authorities, and even listing out what the accused might be facing on the legal front.

Update 12.10am: The Nenek is now at the hospital for statement-taking and medical examination. The accused is now in… Posted by SMRT Ltd (Feedback) on Monday, 20 July 2015

There is no doubt that the power of social media and the hashtag sped up the process of action being taken, but let’s leave it to the authorities to do that shall we? For now, we can only hope for the elderly lady to be brave enough to communicate with the authorities on the ongoing abuse she is facing and gets the support and help she needs to see to better days ahead.

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