She was body slammed against the doors of a SBS bus by a Caucasian male who later told the police that she was talking too loudly on the phone and making a lot of noise. All the working mother did was to make a call to her daughter, informing the kid that mom will be home late because of the traffic situation. Her bus bully tapped her on the shoulder, told her to shut up, let fly with the profanities, and challenged her to call the cops if she dared. She did.
Apparently the tiniest sounds can trigger irrational rage in some sick people. Dr. Pawel Jastreboff introduced the term misophonia in 2002, and this is the most common term for this malady. Dr Masha Johnson, an audiologist in Portland, Oregon runs an online forum on misophonia ("dislike of sound"). For people with misophonia, gum chewing, lip smacking, swallowing, slurping and gurgling can send them into a blood-boiling rage. "The reaction is irrational," said Adah Siganoff, 52, but yet she can no longer eat with her husband.
A neuroscientist at the University of Texas believes the condition is probably a "physiological abnormality" in brain structures activated by processed sound, "There is no known effective treatment." Johnson said misophonia is sometimes confused with hyperacusis, in which sound is perceived to be abnormally loud or physically painful. Misophonia patients like sound, the louder the better. But some can't stand a dog licking his paws, the common soft, hardly audible sounds that irritate them most.
But how does one explain the action of the Caucasian Bentley owner smashing with his bare fist the windscreen of a Mercedes-Benz driven by a lady who had allegedly cut into his lane? The top executive at Royal Bank of Scotland overtook her, stopped, got out of his limousine and started shouting like Bruce Banner ("Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry"), adding two punches to the shatter-proof glass for good measure. No arrest has been made. In another road rage incident, angry motorist Ong slammed his clenched fist against the windscreen of dentist Dr Ho who had honked at him for stopping his vehicle at a pedestrian crossing to let his daughter alight for school. The cracks cost $1,391 to repair and Ong was fined $4,000 for mischief. He could have been jailed for up to 2 years and/or fined.
With or without a medical explanation, no one should be at the receiving end of a violent outburst. But when it does occur, and the cops turn did up, it must be infuriating to read that "both parties were advised on their legal recourse." Maybe the law enforcement types have a graph that trends resolved incidents of violence, and unresolved incidents of violence, just like the CNB charts. And an IT system ready to take the rap when peace is not preserved in the city.
Ms Lim, the working mom who was physically attacked in public, intends to press charges, saying: "We need to send a signal that we will not tolerate bullying on the bus." That plus the police's selective inaction.