Riot Recollections by Zakaria Zainal & Prabhu Silvam front cover
Riot Recollections by Zakaria Zainal & Prabhu Silvam back cover

Riot Recollections

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by Zakaria Zainal and Prabhu Silvam

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The riot that struck Little India on 8 December 2013 was the worst outbreak of violence Singapore had experienced in four decades. Within minutes, updates—and judgments—poured in thick and fast from netizens around the island and beyond. Both mainstream and alternative media issued their own explanations of the events that unfolded that night. Issues of class, the treatment of migrant workers and the efficiency of the riot force, amongst others, were brought to light for scrutiny in the conversations that followed. When rioters were often simply referred to as a mob—whether unruly and inebriated or as victims of xenophobia and slack legislation—it is easy to forget that individuals were involved.

Riot Recollections brings us back to the ground and to the individuals who were in the thick of events at Race Course Road. As the noise from disgruntled and shocked Singaporeans die down, the witnesses now speak, offering a glimpse into a place that still carries the trauma of the riot long after all debris has been cleared.

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About the Authors

Zakaria Zainal makes meaning of the world through his photographs. His first monograph, Our Gurkhas: Singapore Through Their Eyes is an anthology of portraits and anecdotes of the retired Singapore Gurkhas as they reminisce about life in the Lion City, from the 1950s till today. This was followed by The Invisible Force: Singapore Gurkhas, a book that charts the life of the Singapore Gurkhas from recruitment till retirement. While he continues making pictures, Zakaria has been moving away from traditional documentary work to photographing closer to home—or even closer to his heart. For more, visit 

Prabhu Silvam is a Singapore-based writer and poet whose works have appeared in Esquire Magazine, Campus Magazine (Singapore), POSKOD.SG, and Sports+Travel Magazine. Born and bred a Singaporean, Prabhu sees writing and documenting the human condition as a necessary means of expression—the art form of telling and re-telling a story. Most recently, his works were published in Epigram Books’ Best New Singaporean Short Stories Volume One and local literary journal Ceriph. 


"Through these stories, one will see a kaleidoscope of immediate encounters and impacts from vast angles of the incident... The simple, yet descriptive writing transports the readers to where the witnesses were or what the interviewees felt. The stories are rich in detail and coated with metaphors, painting the scenarios of both the riot and the interviews, disclosing the witnesses’ emotions to the readers."
Clarissa Cheang, NP Tribune

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ISBN: 978-981-09-3238-1
Published: 2014
Dimension: 230mm x 230mm
Extent: 80
Finish: Paperback



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