Thursday, 2 May 2013

Inaugural Labour Day Protest - Day Of Reckoning


The people at Hong Lim Park protest



The May Day protest was a show of “people’s power”, according to organiser Gilbert Goh of Transitioning.org. The list of speakers comprised “ordinary people” save for Mr Tan Jee Say, a former presidential candidate. Mr Goh claimed to have a list of 30 to choose from, and decided on 11 as the voice of the common people.



But some Singaporeans didn’t want to be on the stage – they preferred to make their stand from the ground. On the green grass of Hong Lim Park. Many bore placards expressing a range of messages, from angry ones like “It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong!” to plaintive ones like “Can I afford to buy a HDB flat with my future spouse?” held by a young Chinese boy, aged eight. His parents had brought him and three young siblings, including a two-month old to the May Day protest.



At such a politically-charged event, did these Singaporeans shy away from the limelight? Speaker after speaker declared that they were unafraid of it, as they took to the stage. Those on the grass too, they said, were unafraid to be seen at a political event. One speaker who had been lined up, however, was missing. Malay activist Nizam Ismail forsook the stage to survey the event from the grass.

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CNA REPORTS PROTEST AS HAVING 2000 IN ATTENDANCE


Reports about today's protest are starting to surface on mainstream media with Channel News Asia reporting 2000 people to be in attendance between both events at Hong Lim Park today.

It gave equal weight to both the morning picnic and the afternoon protest

This report by CNA was updated at 7:37PM, well into the protest when citizens on the ground estimated numbers of at least 5000. Organiser of the event estimates that there were 5000 - 6000 people at the event around 6PM.

It seems that the state media's trend of under reporting numbers continues.

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About 2,000 people gathered on Wednesday at Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park for two separate events


People gather at Hong Lim Park at the start of the protest against the White Paper on Population.(Photo: Dylan)
 
People spraying "6.9m tak boleh (cannot)" on a banner at the May Day protest at Hong Lim Park in Singapore (Photo:TODAY)
People hold placards during a protest against the White Paper on Population at Hong Lim Park in Singapore. (Photo: Dylan Loh)

About 2,000 people gathered on Wednesday at Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park for two separate events.

In the morning, a mass picnic was held to forge stronger community ties, while in the afternoon, the second protest against the government's Population White Paper took place.

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5,000 gather for protest & mass picnic at Hong Lim Park



About 5,000 people gathered on Wednesday at Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park for two separate events.

In the morning, a mass picnic was held to forge stronger community ties, while in the afternoon, the second protest against the government's Population White Paper took place.

The mass picnic was organised by the group Stand Up For Our Singapore.

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Hong Lim Park event No. 2: The protest


A big turnout at the May Day protest (Photo by Lim Weixiang)

The red balloons were replaced by placards emblazoned with angry slogans. Young smiling faces were replaced by older ones, sterner-looking. No cupcakes were given out but tee-shirts were sold as well as hard-to-find books by political dissidents and such like.

It was a sea change in mood, from a carefree picnic in the morning to a carefully orchestrated protest in the evening. Organisers of the alternative May Day rally put the crowd figure at 5,000 to 6,000, more than their first protest in February which they said numbered about 4,000.

From 4pm, speaker after speaker took to the microphone, including an assortment of “lay’’ people as they were described – a single mother of an eight-year old, a stay-at-home mom, a 66 year old retiree, a 35 year old graduate who is a cab driver.

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May Day protest at Speakers' Corner draws thousands



Reuters/REUTERS - People gather during a May Day protest against high living costs and immigration policies at Hong Lim Park in Singapore May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Edgar Su (SINGAPORE - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY IMMIGRATION)


A huge crowd turned up at the Speaker's Corner at Hong Lim Park Wednesday afternoon to again protest the government's plans to let in more immigrants to counter Singapore's ageing population.

Wire agency AFP estimated the crowd reached 3,000 people though event organiser Gilbert Goh eventually put the final number between 5,000 and 6,000.


The protest on the grey-cast, drizzly day was organised as a sequel to the first protest in February, which was one of the largest protests held in the city-state. 

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5-6K SINGAPOREANS PROTESTING AT HONG LIM PARK



About 5-6,000 people were present at the May Day protest at Hong Lim Park this afternoon (1 May) to protest against the Govt’s 6.9 million Population White Paper a second time. The Govt has proposed to bring in more immigrants in order to hit the projected number of 6.9 million population in Singapore by 2030. 

This is the second protest organized by Transitioning.org. The first one was held on 16 Feb also at Hong Lim Park with an estimated crowd of 4-5,000. The organizer and speakers felt that the crowd was bigger this time round for the May Day protest. Other participants who were at both 16 Feb and 1 May protest events also said that the crowd at the second protest was bigger. 

Live streaming for the protest event was also available for the first time (‘Live TV Streaming for May Day Protest at Hong Lim‘). A total of about 20,000 people viewed the event via live streaming.

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About 5000 attended the May Day protest with 20K watching live online



About 5000 people were present at the May Day protest at Hong Lim Park this afternoon (1 May) to protest against the Government’s 6.9 million Population White Paper a second time, according to readers who stayed throughout the entire event. The Govt has proposed to bring in more immigrants in order to hit the projected number of 6.9 million population in Singapore by 2030.

This is the second protest organized by Transitioning.org. The first one was held on 16 Feb also at Hong Lim Park with an estimated crowd of 4000 to 5,000. The organizer and speakers felt that the crowd was bigger this time round for the May Day protest. Other participants who were at both 16 Feb and 1 May protest events also said that the crowd at the second protest was bigger.

Live streaming for the protest event was also made available for the first time (‘Live TV Streaming for May Day Protest at Hong Lim‘). A total of about 20,000 people viewed the event via live streaming.

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May Day protesters voice mixed bag of woes



A mass protest yesterday touted as a sequel to the Population White Paper protest had speakers going beyond the hot-button topics of foreigners and population, and gunning for issues such as the wage gap and workers' rights.

The speakers were mostly ordinary Singaporeans but also included personalities like former presidential candidate and opposition figure Tan Jee Say and lawyer M. Ravi.

They aired grievances over matters close to their hearts, including wages, language and support for single parents, while getting the crowd going with jibes at the Government.

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What to make out of May Day at Hong Lim?



I was there as an observer, met some bloggers who have followed my blog and listened to the views of Singaporeans there, mostly negative. One thing, the crowd was much smaller than the previous rally, probably less than 3,000. But this time there were more media representations. The other point to note was the predominantly older crowd. The young were less represented, perhaps more busy having a good time while it still lasts.

I must say that despite the smaller crowd, the speakers were more enthusiastic this time and speaking with more vigour. Leong Sze Hian made his often statistics laced speech simpler and easier for the people to understand.

And the star speaker must be Ravi, the famous lawyer of the downtrodden. He posed for a photo shot for me. Ravi was simply exciting and witty in his speech. I remembered him saying that it needed a cleaner like Vellama to sweep clean up the Constitution or something to that effect. The crowd loved him. He was furthest from the stigma that he was having some mental problem. I think the people having mental problems are those who think so.

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May Day Protest at Hong Lim 2013 

Another milestone on the road to democracy was achieved at Hong Lim Park today. During the press conference, one of the speakers bemoaned the erosion of family ties when children can’t communicate with their grandparents in dialects. To promote Mandarin, the government suppressed the use of dialects, and this is the sorry outcome today.

A senior citizen in the audience lambasted the government over the second language requirement to enter varsity. He said many who couldn’t pass Chinese were forced to go oversees at great financial sacrifice to their parents. And many preferred to stay abroad after graduation. But with the sudden abolition of the second language requirement (rumour has it that this was to benefit a certain family), foreign students swarmed our universities. He did not mince his words in lambasting the government. His anger was palpable.

The crowd to a man roared WE WANT CHANGE.

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Only an arrogant government thinks it knows best
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May Day demonstration in a football size park (street demonstrations are illegal)

One of the many eye-catching posters at Hong Lim Park.

Many messages here denounced the government. They clearly reflected the anger and frustrations of Singaporeans

Many stepped up to add their voices which were suppressed by the PAP regime for 50 years. One declared: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

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Is it unbiblical to Protest Against Government?



It will be the second of such protest to voice citizens' concern over the proposed Population white paper. Planning ahead is never easy but it is necessary! The government did something "Good" by preparing, planning into the future but more has to be done to calm our worries.

Over the years I have found Christians are little different than non-Christians in their attitudes and responses toward authority. Compliance is given, but cooperation is not. For example, I would be just as likely to find a radar detector in the car of a Christian (even one serving the Lord), as I would in the car of an unbeliever. Christians comply with the law. We slow down as we pass the police car with its radar speed detection equipment. We drive carefully and lawfully when the patrol car is following us.


But as soon as we are sure it is safe, we drive normally—and illegally.

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Big Crowd at May Day Protest



Helped unwittingly by the Singapore government, a big crowd turned up at the Speaker's Corner at Hong Lim Park yesterday for a political protest against the government's immigration policies. Event organiser Gilbert Goh put the figure between 5,000 and 6,000, though international wire agency AFP estimated the crowd at over 3,000 people.

No matter the final number, the people who showed up proved that the anger against Singapore's immigration policies as not abated. The May Day protest was a follow-up to one held in Feburary where 4,000 people turned up. With the number between 3,000 to 5,000 this time around, the number of people who turned up remained the same (if not, slightly more). This is good news for the protest movement as the number of people who attended has remained constant despite there being a 10 week break between the 2 protests. Most people, including me, had thought that less people would attend the protest yesterday but this is not the case.

Delighted with the number of people who attended, Mr. Goh has already indicated that more protests would be held at the park and that means more headache for the Singapore government in the future. Hopefully, the government would learned a lesson from the AMP saga. For the next protest, do NOT stop people from speaking at the protest. It help the protest movement far more than it hurts.

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Second protest against population white paper: 01 May 2013

On 01 May 2013, from 4pm to 7pm, over 5000 Singaporeans again gathered at Speaker’s Corner for a second protest against the Population White Paper. The turnout was on par with the first protest held in February.

People carried placards that displayed heartfelt messages about how life in Singapore was being progressively ruined by government policies that have caused underemployment and displacement of Singaporeans in the workforce, as well as the hurt and pain caused by the government’s immigration policies.

Placards included: “Singaporeans extinct in 2030“, “High HDB prices: Asset enhancement or artificial inflation“, “Jobs for Singaporeans! Many ex-PMETS cannot find work and end up driving taxis only!“.










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Hong Lim Park Event No. 1: The picnic



Yet, the organizers themselves are a bunch of 30-somethings in various professions. I recalled what one of them had said to me: “We are not cynical people.” The turn-out, at most 400, was not as large as expected, given that it achieved a higher profile after a minor fracas had erupted over the group’s decision to stage the event at Hong Lim Park, on the same a May Day protest event was being held. Mr Tong Yee pronounced that he was happy enough.

As the morning wore on, white tents were being set up at the other side of the park. Sound systems were being tested.

The picnickers stuck to their corner.

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Indonesia 1, Singapore 0


Indonesian policewoman and demonstrators break out into a 'Gangnam Style' dance performance while securing a Labor Day rally in front of the city hall of Surabaya in East Java province on May 1, 2013. (AFP Photo/Juni Kriswanto) See article in Jakarta Globe

I have been noticing bursts of creativity among our neighboring countries especially in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. Good for them.

I am disappointed that we are not able to produce our own equivalent because we are so contrived, and top down driven. The MRT fiasco only served to reinforced this.

Stick rigidly to our old winning formula and eventually our neighbors will pass us by. We are truly becoming old. Just look at how tired SQ is. Our national bird is also our canary in the coal mine. 

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Daily SG: 2 May 2013





– My Singapore News: What to make out of May Day at Hong Lim?
– DKSG: May Day protest at Hong Lim Park
– Sgpolitics.net: Second protest against population white paper: 01 May 2013
– Spotlight on Singapore: May Day Protest at Hong Lim 2013
– Breakfast Network: Hong Lim Park Event No. 1: The picnic
– Breakfast Network: Hong Lim Park event No. 2: The protest
– sparrows and sandcastles: some singapore may day protest placards
– covered in His blood: Is it unbiblical to Protest Against Government?
– [FB] Jolovan Wham: The Population White Paper is an Assault on Workers’ Rights
– Yahoo: May Day protest at Speakers’ Corner draws thousands
– New Nation: S’poreans should learn to write shorter slogans


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continued from:
Snapshots of Inaugural Labour Day Protest
Inaugural Labour Day Protest Against 6.9m Population