Singapore is touted by its authoritarian government as a low crime, safe country. Harsh jail sentences for breaking the law supposedly discourage potential criminals from acting.
So it was a great surprise for me to stumble upon a huge fight between two rival martial arts gangs in a residential area of Tampines. Hidden behind concrete apartment tower pillars, I used my 7x zoom lens to get some photos. Ironically, the fight took place on a playground which had this sign posted:
These two guys are the ones I first noticed. The guy in black had just kicked the guy in red, in a place most people wouldn’t want to be kicked. “Mr Red” promptly fell to the ground in pain.
“Mr Black” then saw two guys coming after him and ran. One of his buddies, the guy in white, tried to run too, but tripped and the two guys, “Mr Yellow” and “Shorts Man,” caught up to him. They socked him a few good ones in the kidneys and sides before the “Shirtless Wonder” arrived.
Shirtless Wonder tried to help Mr White, but the two guys were as ruthless as the Hanson Brothers from the movie, Slapshot. They pulled off some crazy tandem stuff, looked like capoeira, and threw him through the air like a ragdoll.
I was sure the Shirtless Wonder would break his neck, but somehow he tucked into a dive roll and was able to run away.
Meanwhile, the gang comprised of Mr Red, Mr Yellow and Shorts Man were joined by another guy, “Sleeveless Man.” Mr White was trying to get away, but most possible exits involved ploughing through at least one of his opponents. He suddenly made a mad dash, and Sleeveless Man did a crazy flip kick thingy to take him out. However, Mr White dove to the ground and avoided the kick!
At this point in time, I’m starting to really wonder when the cops will arrive, and whether I should be worried for my own safety.
Before I could think of a good plan on leaving without emerging from my hiding place, two new guys appear. They must have been on their way, or waiting out of sight, as I hadn’t seen them involved in the fight yet. It was clear they weren’t on the same side though, as “Bruce Lee” quickly took advantage of his position on a little ledge, letting out a bloodcurdling scream as he ‘flew’ through the air at “Grey Pants.”
Grey Pants went flying through the air like a pillow at a sorority house, but didn’t land like a pillow at all.
I thought I was in a movie or something, cuz the gang members just kept coming from out of nowhere! “Cancer Boy” entered the arena as soon as he saw “Khaki Pants” round the corner of one of the apartment blocks to help his friends. I figure he was trying to run past as a diversion so that one of his gang members could make a dash past Mr Yellow. Either way, he was met with some rather stiff opposition. Cancer Boy did a cartwheel-kick, cigarette still in mouth, knocking Khaki Pants off his feet.
I figured I should do something, but with no mobile and no martial arts skills, I figured it was a better idea to stay put and wait the whole thing out.
No sooner had I decided this, when Mr Red, still limping from Mr Black’s kick, went past my hiding place and spotted me. Not good, I thought. Not good at all.
Suddenly more worried about their actions, the gang that had dominated the fight decided to have a word with me. Well, several words actually.
The long and the short of it is that I pretended to delete all the photos, when really I flipped a little switch on my camera. That little switch changes the memory card being used, as I can have two cards in the camera at the same time. I pretended not to speak English, and just kept repeating the only German I know, “Das ist mein lieblingsbier” (this is my favourite beer). They seemed fairly convinced by my little act, and one of them even showed me a photo he had taken with his mobile phone (he thought it was funny that I was so scared by Mr Red), and he emailed it to me (hence the photo of me and Mr Red above).
While they spoke to me, Khaki Pants ran off to safety.
Tired out from the small war, the gang members headed off somewhere and I went to the nearest 7-11 and bought myself a cold beer.