Sec 4 student breaks boy's nose in queue-cutting rage
After scuffle over queue-cutting, teen hits schoolmate's face with heel of palm
It started as an argument over queue-cutting.
It ended with one boy suffering a broken nose.
The incident occurred in a school and involved a Secondary 4 student, Jason Lim Jia Sheng, who was then 16, hitting a 13-year-old schoolmate.
The victim had been queueing for about 15 minutes in the school canteen on Jan 29 when Jason's friend, a 15-year-old boy, cut the queue.
When the victim told him off, they had a scuffle before being separated.
Jason, who was nearby, ran after the victim and attacked him.
Jason, who is now 17, was yesterday given 15 months' probation after pleading guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt.
A separate charge of disturbing public peace by fighting with another boy just outside his school in April last year was taken into consideration during sentencing.
Jason's parents are bonded for $5,000 to ensure his good behaviour and must pay $1,364 in compensation to the victim.
He must also remain indoors between 10pm and 6am daily and perform 120 hours of community service.
As the other two boys involved in the incident are minors, they and their school, which is in the west, cannot be identified.
The court was told that after the 15-year-old boy jumped the queue, the victim told him to go to the rear. The queue-cutter replied: "You not happy ar?" and punched him on the right cheek.
The victim retaliated with a punch and other students intervened to stop the fight and separated them.
As the victim was walking away, Jason ran after him and used the heel of his right palm to strike the victim's face.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan that the blow caused the younger boy to fall and suffer a nasal fracture.
The police were notified about 10 minutes later that a student was bleeding and semi-conscious after being attacked.
Jason's lawyer, Ms Chow Wen Si, said in mitigation that Jason had acted on impulse and was still young.
Jason's parents, who were in court during sentencing, looked relieved when they heard that their son had been given probation.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, his father, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim, said: "I will keep an eye on him, but he has to depend on himself."
For voluntarily causing hurt, Jason could have been jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.
'It's the moral thing to do'
DILEMMA: Would you tell a queue-jumper off and risk confrontation? - ST FILE PHOTO
If someone were to cut the queue in front of you, would you tell the person off or keep quiet to avoid a potential confrontation?
Of the 20 people polled at random by The New Paper yesterday, 14 said they would speak up and ask the queue-jumper to line up like everyone else.
Mr Brandon Dass, a 24-year-old student at the SAE Institute, said he would politely ask the person to move to the back of the queue.
"If he or she ignores me, I would raise my voice and repeat the request to alert other people in the queue that someone is trying to cut in," he said.
Mr Dass added that the queue-cutter may then feel pressured to toe the line. "I feel that this is the moral thing to do. I would speak up not just for myself, but for the others waiting in line as well."
Madam Neeraja Rao, a 40-year-old housewife, also feels that most people would not remain passive in such situations.
"If someone cuts the line in front of me, I'll tell them to move to the back. I'm sure that the others standing in line will tell them to do so too, because I've seen other Singaporeans do it before," she said.
Some of those polled said they would tailor their response depending on the situation.
"If the person cutting the queue is old, clearly rushing for time, or if he asks me before standing in front of me, I would just let the person go before me," said management executive Jack Lau, 25.
Others, such as Meridian Junior College student Jasmine Tan, 18, said they would complain loudly to their friends to make sure the queue-cutter gets the hint.
The six who said they would refrain from saying anything felt that engaging a queue-cutter was not worth the hassle.
"This is a small matter to me. I have a high level of tolerance and I don't think I would waste my time by telling someone not to cut the queue," maintained Miss Nurhidayah, a 21-year-old Republic Polytechnic student.
Singapore Kindness Movement general secretary William Wan said that as queueing becomes common practice in most places here, the people here should also be more vocal when faced with a queue-jumper.
"When someone cuts the queue, it is not just one person who is affected, but everyone else in the queue," said Dr Wan.
"Singaporeans should develop a culture of collective enforcement, where other people in the queue also politely ask the jumper to get in line.
"If everyone chimes in, the person may not be so bold to insist on his or her own way."