15 Dec An Astrological Look at ‘Bus’ Riots in Singapore

*This article was first published in the Dec 2013 issue of International Academy of Astrology’s (IAA) Newsletter

Interruptors of Peace – An Astrological Look at Riots in Singapore

Singapore is known internationally for being a beacon of wealth, peace and most of all, its law-abiding population. So when a riot broke out on 8 Dec 2013, and images of burning police cars and ambulances, some flipped on their sides, appeared in newspapers, the world was shocked – Was this Singapore?

The riot was apparently triggered by a fatal road accident, in a locale known as Little India, involving a bus and an Indian national worker, after which a mob began attacking the bus involved and the emergency personnel who arrived at the accident site.

For many Singaporeans, this incident invites comparisons to another riot that occurred in 1955, known as the Hock Lee bus riots, wherein bus workers went on strike and crippled the entire country’s transport system. Immediate similarities include the fact that: a bus or buses were involved, and that the incidents were preceded by strikes by workers protesting poor work conditions and low wages.

 (Note to non-Singaporeans: The idea of strikes is so remarkable because Singapore is so law-abiding that strikes are simply unheard of. ‘Protests’ are carried out at a designated park and organisers apply for a police permit well in advance.)

Singapore’s Potential for Transport-Related Riots

Tri-Wheel Independence and RiotsThe link between both events and Singapore as a nation are unmistakeable: have a look at this tri-wheel displaying Singapore’s Independence chart, the 1955 Hock Lee Bus Riot, and the 2013 Little India Riot. (Right-click on chart to view on New Tab)

The first thing I’d like to point out is the partile conjunction at 17 Sco in the 11th house. Neptune in the 11th house in a country’s chart can indicate the potential for chaos and confusion in a mass-led situation. On both occasions, transiting Saturn, which also happens to be the Independence chart ruler, was conjunct this chaos indicator. Neptune rules the 3rd house of transport in the Independence chart, which also contains Saturn and Chiron, yet again emphasising the potential for pain and injury (Chiron), in a situation involving transport and/or roads. In the Independence chart, Neptune makes a water trine to Saturn, indicating the ease in which emotions can exacerbate the potential for chaos.

 In the Independence chart, Mars is in the 10th house and the most elevated planet, suggesting a strong and competitive government. Mars, however, rules the opposing 4th house of land and local people, on one hand indicating that the government has a strong hold over its people, but also that anything that challenges the might (Mars) of the government (10th house), can shake the ground (IC) on which everyone stands on.

Hence, it seems that a conjunction from transit Saturn to Neptune alone is not enough to trigger a riot; in fact, a closer study of both event charts reveal that the transits on both days also delivered planets and angles that formed a Cardinal Grand Cross to Singapore’s Mars in the 10th house. On yet closer inspection, you might notice that these transiting planets and points are either major angles (Ascendant, Midheaven) or angle rulers (Venus rules MC, Moon rules Dsc, Ura rules Asc).

Riots as a Agent of Ideological Transformation in Singapore

Another startling discovery is that the event charts of both riots contain very noticeable Thor’s Hammers with an 5th house / 8th house base, culminating at the Ascendant as the apex. Visually it is almost as if they are literally pointing an arrow at the Ascendant, saying ‘Look at what’s happening!’ See figures below.

Hock Lee ChartLittle India Chart

Also similar in both cases, the 9th house ruler plays a large role in the Thor’s Hammer pattern – In 1955 the 9th house ruler was Venus, in 2013 it was Neptune, both are found in the 8th house of their respective charts, and in both cases they also formed the 8th house ‘base leg’ of the Thor’s Hammer.

This links up with the issues that were the point of contention in both cases; in 1955 the communist supporters had made use of the bus worker’s dissatisfaction to incite violence and in the recent 2013 incident almost all the rioters were foreign workers of South Asian ethnicity – pointing to the involvement of 9th archetype themes like political ideology and foreign immigration policies respectively. The 8th house placement essentially indicates the crisis-nature of the issue at hand.

An examination of the other ‘base leg’ also proves illuminating – the 8th house base leg provided the ‘what’, the 5th house base leg provides the ‘who’. In 1955 the 5th house base leg was the Moon, which ruled the 11th house, and in 2013 it was Mercury, which rules the 12th house (and 3rd). The earlier riot was exacerbated, if not started, by communist campaigners, and was largely driven by groups of ‘comrades’ (given it was a communist group), hence the 11th house rulership. The recent riots, however, were brought about by South Asian workers who were brought to Singapore primarily to take on jobs nobody wanted to do (e.g. construction, janitorial, manual labour), at a low wage, and then expected to stay out of sight when off duty. They are the hidden, unrecognised contributors to Singapore, hence the 12th house rulership.

The 5th house placement is significant as well, since in 1955 this was a creative (albeit destructive) effort by campaigners (most of whom were impulsive male students) and in the case of the 2013 riot, Little India is basically where the workers congregate on their weekend days off (hence the name), one of their few recreation venues.

Since in both cases the apex of the Thor’s Hammer is the Ascendant (or Jupiter and Ascendant, in 2013’s case), the issues (9th house rulers) and people (11th and 12th house rulers respectively) have come together to force (square) attention on specific conditions (Thor’s Hammer) in the country.

The Angles Reveal Reactions of the Populace

In the chart of the 1955 incident, the angle rulers are locked into a closed aspect pattern connected by a square, semi-square and a sesquiquadrate, in a pattern I call the Red Triangle. Jupiter, the ruler of the local people (4th house) is in the 11th house of ‘comrades’ in a partile conjunction to Uranus, ruler of the 6th house of unions and workers. Mercury, which rules the Ascendant and MC, is in the 10th house closely conjunct the MC, represents the local government which was at the time fighting to obtain independence from the English colonial rulers. Neptune in the 2nd house rules the Descendant, which to me represents the English authorities since they are the ‘other guy’.

The square between Jupiter/Uranus and Neptune indicate the ideological clash between communist sympathisers and the colonial rulers, with the local government (Mercury) barely able to keep both within control (semi-square one and sesquiquadrate the other). The Red Triangle represents the deadlock between the three parties, and in fact, since Neptune is the only party with outlets (easy aspect) out of the Red Triangle, the English authorities manage to retain power for the time being, and denied independence to Singapore (sesquiquadrate) while clamping down (square) on the communist insurgents.

The story behind the 2013 riot is very different, however. Far from being deadlocked into a close aspect pattern, only two out of four angle rulers are in aspect, and it is a trine. The people are represented by IC ruler Venus trine Mars, which is the MC ruler representing the government, hence the people are in agreement with the government’s handling of the situation. The Ascendant ruler, Moon, while being part of the Thor’s Hammer (it’s part of the 8th house ‘base leg’) is in aspect with neither Mars nor Venus, indicating that neither the government nor the general population is compelled to deal directly and immediately with the issue at hand.

What Happens Next?

Since the two events are connected so closely with numerous associations, we may glean some valuable information on how the recent riot will affect Singapore by studying the 1955 chart.

In the 1955 chart, the Ascendant did not make easy aspect to any planets, meaning there was no actual ‘solution’ to the problem highlighted by the riot. The only ‘solution’ available applied only to the political deadlock, and that resulted in the British retaining power because its planet indicator, Neptune, was the only one that had easy aspects out of the Red Triangle. Its trine to Mars in the 10th house indicated how the British authorities simply over-stepped the local goverment to maintain status quo (Mars conjunct South Node).

If we look at the 2013 chart, the trine between Mars and Venus suggest that all is well between the government and the local people. However, the aspect is out of sign, indicating that the seeming agreement is somewhat complex. Venus is also conjunct the Descendant, suggesting that the people are aligning themselves with an alternative point of view. That ‘alternative point of view’, the Descendant, is ruled by Saturn in the 4th house, suggesting a mindset change that comes from the people and can be progressive (Saturn loosely conjunct North Node).

 Also, unlike the 1955 Ascendant, which made no easy aspects, the 2013 Ascendant trines this Saturn that represents the alternative point of view. I would like to suggest that the ‘solution’ to the recent riot is that the people begin to see and appreciate the ‘other guy’, and that an integrationist, rather than separatist policy towards migrant workers, could be the key to Singapore’s progress moving on from this incident.

For Discussion:

The 1955 riot occurred before Singapore’s Independence date, which is 9 August 1965.

Is it astrologically acceptable to use a relatively recent country’s ‘birth’ chart for historical events that occur prior to the selected date?

Additional Reading:

About the 1955 Hock Lee Bus Riot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hock_Lee_bus_riots

About the recent 2013 Little India Riot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Little_India_Riots

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