Monday, 18 February 2013

A Photo Documentary Of Hong Lim Protest

Update: Voice Of The People @ Hong Lim Park

A elderly gentleman spotted with this umbrella at Hong Lim Park on 16 Feb 2013, Sat (Photo by Cheong Yao Ming Leo)

Historic event at Hong Lim Park on Saturday by David Teo Boon Hwee

A youth holds up a placard proudly proclaiming “Singapore for Singaporeans” at the historic protest in Singapore against the government’s population white paper, the largest bi-partisan protest since Singapore’s Independence.

The government has for years run the country by numbers, boasting of economic growth while neglecting, even ignoring the difficulties of the people they claim to serve.

A placard with the message from the people of Singapore to the ruling party – “Say No to an Overpopulated Singapore”

Crowd attendance was more than 5000 by all estimates. Because of the rain, not everyone got onto the field, which meant 5000 is conservative.

This group of guys wore jerseys emblazoned with the Singapore flag and carried Lions XII soccer team scarfs in support of the protest.

Singaporeans want to be heard, and they want to be heard about the population white paper.

Rain or shine, the protest goes on amidst a dazzling display of different umbrella designs.

A united family standing in protest at the historic mass rally, the largest bipartisan protest since Singapore’s independence, with more than 5000 in attendance.

A guy in a Guy Fawkes mask speaking to his friend about the protest. The mask has come to symbolize protest, and was featured in the movie V for Vendetta.

Undeterred by the rain, this man is a symbol of defiance against the policies laid down in the population white paper.

Rattling his clapper loudly, this man is full of support for the protest. Both the young and old are united by a common spirit.

A supporter applauding the speaker at the protest. Young and old flocked to the protest wanting their voices to be heard.

I saw a lot of young Singaporeans at the protest, a healthy sign that we are not as apathetic and apolitical as most think. We care.

Without the lure of free food and free transport typical of the ruling party to bring supporters to their events in an organised fashion, the people came here on their own, rain or shine.

The over-riding message – “We will fix you 2016″, making a reference to the next scheduled General Election in Singapore.

At first I thought a bride had come to join in the protest!

Clappers, whistles and cheers add to the carnival like atmosphere of the protest.

The message to the government was clear and simple – NO to 6.9 million in Singapore.

People listened to the line up of 13 speakers talk about the problems of population. Housing, transport woes, over crowding and lack of jobs were sore issues.

Should I migrate to make more space?

Many came to the protest for the sake of their kids. Would they have a place in school, a job in the face of 6.9 million people, half of which are not Singaporeans?

Even at 5.3 million, Singapore’s transport, housing and infrastructure are already straining under the weight. Just look at our pathetic train system!

Placards were seen making a mockery of the number 6.9 million….

Ah Loong refers to the Prime Minister, and 6.9 million is the one population figure the people made clear they do not want.

Braving the weather, people live tweeted / instagrammed / pathed / facebooked the event in the large display of citizen journalism.

Protesters reciting the Singapore pledge in a giant show of patriotism and love of our nation.

We the citizens of Singapore … reciting the nation pledge in a massive show of patriotism

We are not your sheeple – the placard proclaims, making a reference to people being treated like mindless sheep in Singapore. Real soft toy sheep used there!

We want to be heard, not herded – possibly my favorite tagline from the protest!
We are Singapore, and this is our home. And I’m glad to say, we have matured.

Waiting for 2016 – we want to be heard, not herded. Well said!

Say No to 6.9 million is a protest organised by 

The General Elections in 2016 will be very interesting indeed. The voice of the people cannot be ignored now. We have shown that we care, and we will act, if needed, to be heard. For more pictures of the protest, please visit my Flicker set. My instagram feed also contains additional images during my live tweeting. Images are copyright – please ask permission if you wish to use them!

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Photo essay of Hong Lim protest: More pics sent in by readers

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Shame on our Mainstream Media for failing its readers and Singaporeans

It is a crying shame that we Singaporeans have to resort to reading overseas media reports to get the full impact of the protest held at Hong Lim Park yesterday. The international media including the BBC News,Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Aljazeera, Bloomberg, Reuters, Jakarta Post and South China Morning Post (SCMP) all gave very substantial coverage to the event which will surely go down in our history as a significant milestone. Several of the foreign press noted that this was an important and rare protest in our tightly-controlled country of docile beings.  Hongkong’s SCMP even reported it on their front page!

To the editors at Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp. I know your hands are literally chained by the government but I hope you had at least tried your best to fight for more worthy coverage. You know deep down this was a newsworthy historical event. By giving it shallow coverage, you have a) set a lousy example to your journos as an editor and shown how your journalistic integrity was compromised  b) done your readers a great disservice and c) failed your fellow citizens and your country.

I hope you and your conscience sleep well at night.

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Why Is Straits Times So Shy?

I'm grateful for these great pictures in facebook [Link]. I'm amazed why such pictures are not featured in the Straits Times newsprint.

A dear friend of mine working in University of Hong Kong who is as engrossed as I am in the 'Save Singapore Event' [Link] sent me these newsprints dated Sunday, 17 Feb 2013. 

If Hong Kong's South China Morning Post [Link] can print the above on their front page, why is Straits Times so shy that it has to hide such momentous history-making local news at page four of Sunday Times

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Reporting Hong Lim Park

Something big happened in Singapore yesterday and it was on the front page of….the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. The kindest thing I can say about MSM here is that they don’t track events as thoroughly as the foreign media. But I know that’s a lie. So we have to read foreign versions of what happened in Singapore, filed by wire agencies and other publications. Or you get bits and pieces of what happened through social media and YouTube clips. I would have liked a comprehensive report on what the speakers said done by professionals who have a stake in this country’s future.

But I, a Singapore citizen, didn’t get it.

I suppose MSM found themselves in a tough position. There’s some OB marker somewhere they can’t cross, or won’t cross. So there was a piece in the Sunday Times which summed up the event. Bare bones. Not even a Page 1 picture. The organisers of the Say No to Population White Paper said 5,000 people attended, reported ST, which also cited AFP’s 1,000 to 1,500. The police, whom the MSM usually relies on for the definitive crowd size, said they didn’t monitor the crowd size yesterday. Unbelievable! Anyway, if ST could have quoted AFP, then it could well have come up with its estimate of crowd size – which it didn’t.

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Last evening at the press conference, the panel asked the media if they had any questions. Someone asked the Ramesh from CNA to answer. He said he has no questions. Then everyone booed and he was forced to ask. During the question and answer one of panellists also made fun of how the media is controlled. According to a news in TW, he was 'forced' to ask, so he asked "So what are you going to do next?" (translated from the chinese news)

During the end of the protest press conference, all the questions were directed by the reporters from the foreign media. Channel News Asia was totally quiet throughout. But toward the end, CNA's Remesh was pushed by the crowd to put in a question to the panel. Vincent gave a excellent reply and within seconds, Remesh just walked off and disappeared. Watch the video

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Crowd numbers at population protest

I see that many people on social media have pointed out the large discrepancies in reports of crowd size at yesterday’s protest against the Population White Paper. Variations in estimates always accompany any outdoor event unless it’s a ticketed one.

My earlier article quoted the organisers’ figure of 4,000 to 5,000, a figure they announced at least twice during the rally itself. My own calculations — which I completed only after publishing the earlier article indicate that 3,000 to 4,000 may be more accurate.

Here’s a Facebook mention of 5,000 by the emcee of the event:

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How many people were at Hong Lim Spring?

I was there for nearly two hours. I walked around the whole park taking photos along the way. My estimate is that there were at least 5 to 6,000 people there at its peak. But I don’t think anyone will trust me because I am not a reputable newspaper like Reuter, AFP, AP, CNN or the ST.

Who is the most authoritative or suitable party to give a good estimate of the number of people on the ground? A foreign media or a local media, an interested party like the organiser or a non interested party like me?

The number of people present and quoted by the various media ranges from 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 3,000, more than 4,000, 5,000 etc etc…. I am just a blogger, with no official credential and professional tag on my chest. And my estimate is just layman and subject to error or not as good as the professionals.

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– Breakfast Network: “Don’t worry. I understand. I am Singaporean.”
– fikir: Why the Government Must Listen to Voices at Hong Lim Park
– Prata Politics: Protest Hong Lim Park Style!
– [FB] Joe Augustin : Who’s yanking your chain?
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: Was the Hong Lim Park protest xenophobic?
– Martyn See’s observations about the Hong Lim rally
– Diary of a Grumpy Spinster: I Love FOREIGNERS (whites only)
– [FB] Syed Alwi Ahmad : “Well we have had our so-called White Paper Protest”
– Gurmit The Blog: Say No To 6.9 Million People Event, 16 Feb 2013
– Daily Breaks: Life As One Of 6,900,000
– Where Bears Roam Free: PAP propagandist sings old stale tune at ST forum
– flâneurose: On the Parliament Vote to Endorse the Population White Paper
– Breakfast Network: Young people’s response to the Population White Paper
– Today: The new Singapore team

– Sheri Ramli Hogan: “Back from the ‘protest’ at Hong Lim Park”
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: PM should try changing the way he makes decisions and communicates
– Singapore Recalcitrant: The Population White Paper Conundrum
– Of Kids and Education: Baby maybe
– Bertha Harian: Reporting Hong Lim Park
– The Lycan Times 狼人時報: Afterthoughts – Say “No” to an overpopulated Singapore
– A Yummy Slice of Life: More Myths in the Great Population Debate
– The Expository: The Population White Paper: The Government Should Have Just Kept Its Mouth Shut (and do something about it)
– Want some tau huay?: Singaporeans, no longer just keyboard warriors
– Iron Bowl: Protest at Hong Lim Park #Singapore on 16 Feb 2013
– Diary of A Singaporean Mind: Protest at Hong Lim Park 16 Feb 2013
– Ben Leong: Why the Population White Paper is Ill-Conceived
– Anyhow Hantam: A Papal Lesson For The PAP?
– Singapore In General: Hong Kong should take its cue from Singapore for a sound population policy
– Ravi Philemon: We may be the last Philemons – my speech at ‘Say ‘No’ to an overpopulated Singapore’
– 少年子弟江湖老: 擦枪走火的擦边球
– Yawningbread: Five thousand gather to protest population White Paper
– The Heart Truths: Reflections On The Protest Against The Population White Paper: Part 2
– Jentrified Citizen: Shame on our Mainstream Media for failing its readers and Singaporeans
– Publichouse: Complicated issues, emotive people
– Sgpolitics: 5,000 turn up at Hong Lim to reject population white paper
– David Teo Boon Hwee: The Voice of the People
– BBC: Rare mass rally over Singapore immigration plans [Thanks Adrian]

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continued from: Large Turnout At Protest Against Population White Paper