Firstly the media have to be responsible for what they report because what they say may cause great commotion, like the Maria hertogh riots, if media are insensitive towards certain issues like religious problems. The reporters reported a photograph of Maria hertogh kneeling in front of a Virgin Mary and this article is one of the main reason why the riots escalated so quickly. This shows that what the media report can cause desire consequences when not reported sensitively. Especially when the media has such a big influence on the society now, the more media should be careful of what they say and report. Therefore we should keep this incident in our mind so as not to commit the same mistake again.
The Mariah Hertogh riots that took place in the 1950s was due to the insensitivity of races towards the Malays, mainly Muslim. The Muslims felt that the Europeans did not show respect for the locals and their religious ways. For example, although it was normal for many Muslim girls to marry at the young age of 13 or 14, the Dutch felt that is was wrong. This resulted in the riots causing 18people to be killed and 173 others injured. In order for this to not happen again, not only the government but the people of Singapore should respect people of other races and religions. Now, we are living in a society of racial harmony but we should not take this for granted and remember the Mariah Hertogh Riots as it serves as a lesson to us to be respectful to others and not offend people of other races and religions in order to have a society of racial harmony.
In 1949, Maria’s mother, Adeline Hertogh came to take her daughter back. However Che Aminah did not want to give her up so the case was brought to the Singapore high court. Maria was returned to her parents in 1950 to her natural parents under court rule. When Maria was 13, she was married to a Malay teacher, as it was normal for Muslim girls to marry at a young age of 13 or 14. The judge did not recognize the marriage as she was under age according to Dutch law. This upset the Muslim community as the Muslim law was not respected. A Muslim leader wrote to The Straits Times, pointing out that although Islamic law permits the marriage of girls starting after puberty (which Maria had reached a year earlier), there were Muslim countries such as Egypt that legislated for a minimum marriage age of 16. He added, however, that it would not be in the interest of "the friendly understanding... between Christians and Muslims" to object to the marriage since it had already taken place. By not being sensitive to the feelings of the Muslim community when they did not recognize the marriage, it sparked the riot. During the battle for custody in November 1950, the court put Maria in the care of a Catholic convent in Thomson road before the verdict came out. According to an official of the Netherlands Consulate-General, such arrangement was because of "greater convenience" while the stay of execution pending appeal was in effect. This shows that the Government was very insensitive towards the Muslims as they did not take into consideration of the feelings of the Muslims by putting Maria in a convent when she was raised as a Muslim girl. This has proved to be a wrong move as it lit the spark the subsequent riots. They should have thought carefully of the consequences before making the decision.
Therefore, all the above are reasons why the Maria Hertogh Riot should be remembered. We should not do the same mistake again. We have to learn, those who are responsible for this riot and what leads to this riot.