Sunday, September 28, 2014

What if it had turned out uglier?

I am sure decent Singaporeans are appalled by what happened at Hong Lim Park yesterday (Sept 27):

SunTimes, Sept 28

* The organisers of the CPF protest rally must apologise unreservedly for the rowdiness that took place. The law will have to take its course too.

* But there is the bigger issue of the purpose of Hong Lim Park in spirit and intent. Does the public see it as the country's de facto Speakers' Corner? If so:

* Why did the YMCA hold its event there (let's not quibble over the fact that Hong Lim Park is not designated exclusively for political events)? If that space is now seen as ideal for charity events, then all interested parties should look for and agree on an alternative (not in the boondocks!) site for a suitable Speakers' Corner.

* All the political parties in Singapore should state their stand on what happened on Saturday. There should be official statements and not just comments by party individuals in their personal capacity. Silence is not an option. Risking Singapore's stability is not an option.

* Finally, for all the oft-touted talk about the danger of Black Swan events, how much bureaucratic IQ is needed to work out what might happen when a politically charged rally -- even if attended by just a few people -- takes place at the same venue on the same day as a charity event that had been given much publicity and hence expected to draw a crowd. Again, please do not say that different timings and zones were allocated.

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