SINGAPORE: A woman who made racist remarks against another passenger while they were both travelling in a bus was on Wednesday (Jun 23) sentenced to four weeks in jail.
Siti Ai’sha Jaffar, 40, and the 33-year-old victim were the only two people in the lower deck of bus service 182 at 9.37am on Sep 3, 2020, when she started making the remarks, the court heard.
According to court documents, the victim was listening to music on her earpiece, when she observed that Siti Ai’sha was staring and pointing at her “multiple times”.
"The victim then switched off her music and heard the accused shouting remarks towards her, calling her an Indian with dark skin," according to the documents.
The victim took out her mobile phone and recorded the incident "discreetly" in three separate video clips that lasted about seven minutes in total.
The court heard that after recording the incident for a short while, the victim approached Siti Ai'sha and confronted her, asking her if there was anything wrong. Siti Ai'sha continued making remarks at her.
The victim then called the police and informed the bus captain to stop the bus. At the time, they were near Singapore Discovery Centre on Upper Jurong Road.
In two videos that were played in court, Siti Ai’sha, who was not sitting near the victim, could be seen gesticulating towards her and heard shouting.
According to court documents, among the remarks made were: “Your heart is also black … everything is black."
Siti Ai’sha also told the victim, who is Singaporean, that “your native country is India, not Singapore” and added that she should go back there.
Siti Ai'sha also said "f***ing black Indians" and said to the victim "you and your black magic face".
She pleaded guilty to one charge of uttering racial slurs at the victim with the deliberate intention to wound the victim’s racial feelings.
The prosecution sought a jail term of two to four weeks for her, noting that her remarks held a “persistent emphasis on colour”.
The offence was “entirely unprovoked” and “protracted in nature”, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kwang Jia Min said.
Siti Ai'sha, who was unrepresented and appeared via video-link did not say anything.
In sentencing Siti Ai'sha, District Judge Tan Jen Tse said that her offence was “serious”. He said that he was giving a deterrent sentence to deter her and other like-minded individuals.
“Your tirade was prolonged and occurred in a public place,” the judge said. He added that such offences where people abuse others racially cannot be condoned in society.
For her offence, Siti Ai’sha could have been jailed up to three years and fined.