Our family just moved house, out to the wilds of Bukit Batok (a lovely apartment, actually, next to the Bukit Gombak MRT). Up till October, though, we were living right up the road from the spot where it took place, like 700m away; we would have been able to hear the yelling no question, and the bus exploding with what I imagine would have been rather startling ease. The riot started when a private bus, driven by a Singaporean, struck and killed an Indian worker while backing up. The bus driver was injured in the riot, and the bus itself destroyed completely. There is video of the windshield being smashed, and later footage of the bus completely aflame, suddenly punctuated by the gas tank bursting. Ambulances and, later, police cars (??! there aren’t enough interrobangs to express my feelings about typing this sentence) were also turned over and torched. A number of policemen were injured in the riot, as were some rioters, but the police never fired on the crowd, and got things under control within two hours, and happily no one else died.
But for all the detail in her post about the riot and the context in which it took place, her description of tropical heat is what stayed with me the most:
The sun at the equator is not friendly. My father told me this when I was little, because he was a sailor for a while and one time worked on a boat with my godfather that went down to Brazil and up the Amazon river. He told me this and I always wanted to feel. When it is only 9 o’clock in the morning, the sun already has that weight to it, that power. This is a thing that I love. I love it when it is August, at the beach, in East Hampton, and there is a breeze, but I can lie down and feel this heaviness. I love it then. I feel as if someone had taken the lead aprons they make you wear during X-rays and pushed them down all over me, but made of gold, and equally, everywhere, even between my thighs, even in the hollows of my temples, even among my eyelashes, pushing down heavily—you couldn’t shake this cover over someone. It has only…come down. Forcefully. I like that it pushes me down into the sand and makes it difficult to sit up. Even in Singapore I like it, but next to the pool, and briefly, because there is the golden heavy weight, the true weight of gold that is like lead, but the covering has been heated also before being applied. You want to get out from under it before it burns you. It is like sitting too close to a well-made fire in the fireplace, you must turn your face away at a certain point, you cannot keep it there and look at those leaping things any longer.