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Singapore: Rising Gang Violence

Twitter hashtags #slashing and #369 became trending topics a few days ago. They refer to the slashing incidents in Singapore involving a youth gang called 3-6-9. Netizens are worried and angry over the rising cases of gangster violence in recent weeks.

Dozens of young Singaporeans, aged 14-20, have been victims already of slashing attacks which prompted authorities to beef up security measures. The suspects are youth gangsters belonging to a group called 3-6-9. What does 369 signify?

Salakau, which literally means ‘369’ in Hokkien, also known as “Sah Lak Kau”, is a street gang or secret society based in Singapore. The numbers 3, 6 and 9 add up to 18, which was the name of an older gang; the number signified the 18 lohans (principal disciples) of Shaolin

Bloggers are now starting to write about the secret societies based in Singapore. Ng E-Jay, writing for The Online Citizen, points out that the “rise in gangsterism is indicative of deeper social problems

…the alarming resurgence of disorganized youth gangs and increase in gang-related violence could point to a resurgence of the old social problems that allowed the criminal gangs of Singapore’s yesteryears to flourish.

Are our youths getting enough opportunities in the job market and in education? Are our schools keeping a close tab on problem children and teenagers? What has happened to the state of our education system, which has seemingly failed to address these issues? These are urgent questions that must be answered.

If our youths feel they are being forced out of the job market due to the large influx of low wage foreigners, could they turn to gangs as a means of support?

The authorities have placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of dysfunctional families and poor parenting. It must now be asked: What has caused so many dysfunctional families to arise? Isn’t the proliferation of dysfunctional families itself indicative that there are some deeper social problems that must be tacked?

It seems that youth gangs which proliferated in Singapore in the 1960s and 1970s are back again. Jufrie comments on the failure to prevent the formation of gangs

While we busy ourselves and get preoccupied with anti terrorist measures we have failed to detect the underlying problems afflicting our kids.

While it is commendable to guard ourselves against the unseen enemy it is no less important to ensure our kids are protected against the enemy within.

Partnership Education links lack of parental attention to the rise in gangsteerism

The root problem can be traced to lack of parental attention on kids. Modern Singapore parents are better skilled & trained so they take up higher responsibilities in office. Their success in career deprived time on their kids who wanted constant attention. Without attention from parents, they joined street gangs.

Can’t blame the school because education is about partnership with parents. It is good reminder to parents to spend more time with their kids.

Techgoondu analyzes the twitter posts about the issue

If I were to describe the tonality of the 300-odd posts on twitter since yesterday, I would say they were mostly angry, tinged with a little fear.

The first reaction is about safety. There is a significant amount of posts lamenting about Singapore’s safety and checking up on friends and family

Then there are the Singaporeans who are angry at these idiots and wondering why the hell this is happening in Singapore

One last main theme is for our police to catch these folks and whack these idiots. Practically no one was sympathetic to the gangsters

Here are some twitter posts using the #369 hashtag

karrot22: Ah beng: OI , YOU FROM #369? Me: No , I from 257. AH BENG: GOT THIS GANG MEH? Me: I tot you asking for my block number….* RUN* #Singapore
lianglin: Gang slashing innocent bystanders? That's so lame. It's 2010 leh. all you #369 wannabes please grow up. You are no longer(never) cool. #fb
adriiannaletch: @tanshengwei excuse me. Stop saying 369 all the time. They want the public attention, by encouraging them they won't rest ! Use brain abit
ykteng: Wassup with all the gang kids hanging around nowadays. A few chopping incidents and suddenly they grow balls
EdisonLiang: Former gang member on today's gangsters: ‘They are like untrained dogs’
AngryBirdz: Dear Singaporeans, because of the recent slashing incidents, please wear iron chainmail suits when you go out for safety reasons.
dinnie: With all the slashing cases going on, I wish the government would allow us to import butterfly knives. For self-defense. Hehe.
buckONtop: RT @OthnielGaijin: Singapore is a country of trends. First, bubble tea, then doughnuts, now, SLASHING!

Snippets thinks preventive actions should have been enforced by the police

I'm just wondering why we always have to wait for tragedy to happen before we take preventive actions. I feel that enough has not been done to curb street gangs – BEFORE the occurences of the two recent incidents. Wasn't it a common sight to see big groups of wayward youths hanging out – smoking/ staring etc (even in the wee hours) all these while? Aren't the police supposed to foot-patrol and check on these kids from time to time? Why aren't these kids being asked to go home or detained in a police station for the night? I don't know, these are just my burning questions in mind.

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