Saturday, 4 October 2014

The YMCA Vs #ReturnMyCPF Fracas

Update 11 Oct 2014: Return our CPF protesters 'assisting with police investigations'
Yahoo Newsroom Videos - Bloggers Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui lead a protest march against CPF policies around Hong Lim Park, while performances at a YMCA event were taking place concurrently

Organisers and some participants of the Return our Central Provident Fund (CPF) Rally were called in for questioning by the police on Friday afternoon.

Yahoo Singapore understands that the rally’s main organiser, Ms Han Hui Hui, was questioned for seven hours at the Police Cantonment Complex as part of investigations into whether the protest, held at Hong Lim Park on 27 Sept, had been an unlawful assembly.

The Return our CPF protest had caused an uproar when it clashed with a YMCA charity carnival held on the same day and at the same time.


When protests cross the line
Mr Roy Ngerng (with flag) and Ms Han Hui Hui (right) encroaching on the YMCA’s Proms@the Park event at Hong Lim Park last Saturday

The rallying cries of activist Han Hui Hui at Hong Lim Park could be heard two blocks away at Hong Lim Complex at 4.05pm, on a particularly hot day when the thermometer hit 34 deg C.

With a charity carnival by voluntary welfare organisation YMCA called Proms@the Park going on at the same time last Saturday, the 22-year-old organiser of the fourth Return Our CPF protest at the park yelled into a microphone a laundry list of her misgivings with the Government. She was dogged in making herself heard from an elevated mound at one corner.

Several hundred people, largely retirees, turned up to hear Ms Han and blogger Roy Ngerng, 33, speak about Central Provident Fund issues.

Learning to share public space
Blogger Mr Roy Ngerng (in blue, holding microphone), Ms Han Hui Hui (in black, holding microphone) and their fellow Return Our CPF protesters at the YMCA Proms @ the Park event

In the wake of the disturbance caused by Central Provident Fund rally protesters at Hong Lim Park, outraged citizens have urged the authorities to bar multiple gatherings and all "social or family-oriented" events from being held there when there is risk of a clash.

Whether or not special needs children were heckled, the protesters' overall conduct was so egregiously bad that few would think the public censure that followed was overdone. However, the corrective measures that have been suggested warrant deeper reflection as they invoke larger considerations.

An argument for "Speakers' Corner" to be reserved for just speakers and protesters would ironically make a public space with a long history less public by progressively limiting its uses by fiat. Bequeathed to all by a philanthropist, it is a space that all should be free to use, in the spirit of greater inclusion, access and participation. This would create room, too, for the expression of alternative ideas and the projection of non-mainstream movements.

Plans to ensure no repeat of Hong Lim Park fracas
A group which attended a Return Our CPF rally organised by activist Han Hui Hui, 22, proceeded to march around the park, and encroached on the space of a charity carnival staged by the YMCA in an adjacent part of the park

The police and National Parks Board (NParks) will consider measures to ensure that last Saturday's incident in Hong Lim Park, when two groups staged events there, will not recur.

There was no immediate information on what these might be, but a statement to The Straits Times, in response to questions on how applications for multiple events on the same day are handled, said: "To mitigate potential public order incidents, the Singapore Police Force and NParks may put in place appropriate measures or engage organisers prior to the event to explain the rules and regulations, remind them to act responsibly, observe NParks' regulations and abide by the laws."

It added that applications for multiple events on the same day are dealt with on a first come, first served basis.

The National Parks Board noted that, prior to the turn of events at the site last Saturday, no clashes had been reported at any multiple gatherings, including those with opposing agendas (“No previous incidents with multiple events”; Tuesday)

The fracas at Hong Lim Park last Saturday was unfortunate, regrettable and, with hindsight, avoidable.

Hong Lim Park is the only place in Singapore where legitimate peaceful protests are permitted. Indeed, gatherings at Hong Lim Park are generally orderly. However, when people are permitted the space to voice out their dissent, there is no guarantee that emotions will not get out of control. People who gather at the site should be prepared for an unlikely and unexpected breakdown in social order.

With this is mind, why couldn’t the YMCA have held its charity carnival elsewhere?


Should NParks still be running Hong Lim Park?
  • 9 September – YMCA given approval by NParks and the police to use Hong Lim Park.
  • 22 September – Han Hui Hui given approval to use the same venue.
The intention of holding another protest rally at Hong Lim Park was made known one month ago after the last one held on August 23. Is it a coincidence YMCA’s event was given approval on 9 September, one day after Yang Yin made headlines?

Why was YMCA allowed to change its timing to afternoon to coincide with the protest rally?

Why can’t YMCA use Hong Lim Park too?

What really happened? October 7, 2014 at 8:32 am
  1. YMCA’s event is a family oriented event with performances by children etc..
  2. We understand that the YMCA’s application was approved before the application by the protest group.
  3. Anybody in their right mind should have rejected the application by the protest group, all the more if the timings coincide.
  4. Anybody in their right mind knowing what the two contrasting events are all about would play it safe and should have separated the two events and allocated a different day for each.
  5. Why the approving authorities did not do so is had raised many serious doubts about what goes on behind the scenes.
  6. People are left wondering what “political” games are being played throwing a whole lot of innocent children on the path.
  7. This is tantamount to a serious dereliction of duty and of being highly irresponsible on the part of the authorities involved.
  8. A public enquiry should be conducted into this matter.

Special needs children heckled as Hong Lim Park rallygoers disrupt charity carnival
Bloggers Roy Ngerng (with flag) and Han Hui Hui (right) march to the stage area during a charity carnival for YMCA beneficiaries at Hong Lim Park on Sept 27, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

A protest rally on Saturday turned chaotic as it jostled for space with a charity carnival at Hong Lim Park, with protesters heckling special needs children and confronting a Minister of State.

Police will be conducting investigations into the incident, they said in a joint statement with the National Parks Board (NParks).

The rally's organiser, blogger Han Hui Hui, 22, had led the group gathered to hear her speak about the CPF in marching around the park, together with blogger Roy Ngerng, 33, who is facing a defamation suit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The march began after Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck arrived at the event for YMCA beneficiaries, attended by 900 people

Protesters' heckling of special needs children 'vile', 'unbecoming': MPs
Protesters at Hong Lim Park trying to get the attention of people attending a parallel event organised by YMCA in another part of the park

Several Members of Parliament have expressed shock and disgust that protesters, rallying against the CPF scheme, heckled special needs children at a YMCA event at Hong Lim Park on Saturday (Sep 27).

The children had been trying to perform at the YMCA Proms @ the Park event, where volunteers and beneficiaries such as the elderly, people with special needs and underprivileged children, got together for a concert and a picnic.

The protesters, led by bloggers Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng, had encroached upon a lawn demarcated for the YCMA event. The group, some bearing placards and "shouting slogans, disrupted performances and frightened participants, including special needs children who were performing at the charity event" according to a joint statement by the National Parks Board and the Singapore Police Force.

Ugly scenes break out at Hong Lim Park
Police will be investigating Speakers' Corner incident

Ugly scenes broke out at Hong Lim Park yesterday (Sept 27), where protestors allegedly heckled participants of a YMCA carnival including special needs children.

The two events — the YMCA carnival and a rally called Return Our CPF - had been given approval to be held at the Speaker’s Corner and were allocated separate lawns, according to a joint statement by the police and National Parks Board (NParks).

The statement said NParks and the police approached rally organiser, blogger Han Hui Hui, 22, to "request her cooperation to speak at the allocated space" but Ms Han "did not heed our advice and continued to hold her event at the same lawn as YMCA".

read more

Hong Kong, Hong Lim Park Protests: Same Same, But Different Shame

Meanwhile, in Asia’s other top city, a protest against the Central Provident Fund (CPF) in Singapore’s Hong Lim Park Speakers’ Corner on Saturday (Sep 27) ended with heads hung low after the Hong Lim Park protest protesters “heckled” special needs performers at a YMCA event also held at the park.

Led by bloggers Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng, some 100 ‘Return Our CPF’ protest participants went on a “protest march” through the carnival organised by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), frightening the teens on stage.

If the latter of the blogger duo sounds familiar, it is because Mr Ngerng is currently facing a defamation suit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for earlier comments he had made on his blog. Ms Han refused to comply when NParks and police officers asked her on Saturday to move out of the lawn allocated to YMCA.

Protesters disrupt performances at YMCA carnival
Hong Lim Park saw two events held at the same time today, resulting in some unsavoury scenes

A group protesting against the CPF scheme were seen marching round a YMCA carnival at the Park. They held placards and shouted slogans, frightening those at the carnival and disrupting performances, including those by special needs children.

The YMCA said it had received approval for its event in April. A joint statement from the National Parks Board (NParks) and the police said the application to use the Park was first received from YMCA and approval was given to YMCA on Sep 9. Meanwhile the application from the anti-CPF protest organiser Han Hui Hui, who is also a blogger, was received on Sep 22. It was approved on the same day.

The YMCA event was attended by the elderly and disabled, with performances by children. The general secretary of YMCA Singapore, Mr Lo Chee Wen, said the YMCA Proms @ the Park is an annual event held at public parks in Singapore. Last year, it was held at the Botanic Gardens. The event aims to promote corporate social responsibility by matching organisations with voluntary welfare organisations.

Dissecting the Hong Lim Park fracas: How the protesters have overstepped boundaries
MISPLACED ANGER: The #ReturnOurCPF protestors reportedly directed unhappiness at a group of special needs children who were performing at the YMCA event PHOTO: Ng Yi Shu

Heckling has become the new buzzword in Singapore. This is after a group of protesters reportedly intruded into a Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) charity event at Hong Lim Park on 27 Sep. The mainstream media in Singapore reported that the protesters had “heckled” children with special needs, who were performing during the event.

The protesters, led by Ms Han Hui Hui, 22 and Mr Roy Ngerng, 33, had registered with the National Parks Board (NParks) to demonstrate against the lack of transparency in the use of Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies at the Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park. Unbeknownst to them, NParks had allocated two separate lawns for two events on that same day –– one for Ms Han and Mr Ngerng’s protest, and other for a charity carnival by the YMCA.

The use of the word ‘heckling’ to describe the protesters’ actions has come into debate, with different videos online corroborating a variety of accounts that surfaced in the aftermath of the demonstration.

read more
Hong Lim Park fracas: Rally leaders defend actions
Roy Ngerng (centre) and Han Hui Hui (right) speaking at the Return Our CPF rally at Hong Lim Park, on Sept 27, 2014. Two events were held at Hong Lim Park that day: the Return Our CPF rally and YMCA event Proms@The Park. Members of the public and MPs on Sept 28 hit out at protesters who disrupted the charity carnival, but the leaders of the rally remained adamant and defended their actions, saying the group did not heckle the special needs children on stage as many said they did. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

The blogger also said he would write to YMCA to try to meet the children "and give my sincere apologies". But he added: "YMCA might have been retooled for a political purpose at the protest."

However, many netizens felt the duo had discredited themselves through the confrontational actions seen in videos posted online.

Analyst Devadas Krishnadas said in a Facebook note: "Their actions to disrupt the YMCA event speak to self-indulgence, social carelessness, immaturity and this is ironical, a disregard for the rights and concerns of other Singaporeans, especially those in genuine need."

Hong Lim Park fracas: No anger, just disappointment, parents say

Blogger Mr Roy Ngerng (in blue, holding microphone), Ms Han Hui Hui (in black, holding microphone) and their fellow Return Our CPF protesters at the YMCA Proms @ the Park event

The Y-Stars, comprising people with special needs aged 13 to 40, had been preparing for their performance for a year.

It was supposed to be a fun day at the YMCA Proms @ the Park event at Hong Lim Park, also known as Speakers' Corner, for the performers and their families last Saturday.

But the Y-Stars are now in the spotlight after bloggers Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng led a group of protesters and disrupted their performance

The Fracas at Hong Lim Park

It is with a mixed feeling of disappointment and annoyance as I watched the video of Han Hui Hui’s confrontation against the NParks official and one of the police officers posted on Roy Ngerng’s own Facebook wall.

There are many aspects of that disappointment, and I will attempt to explain them one at a time. Firstly, I am disappointed on how a good cause of letting the government know that improvements should be made to the CPF scheme is now hijacked by such extremists. To put in it an analogy, a good pot of porridge is now ruined by a few pieces of rat shit (几块老鼠屎坏了一锅粥). In my opinion, whatever can be said about the shortcomings of the CPF has been said. Now what is left is wait for the response from the government, which to some extent we have heard from the Prime Minister himself during the National Day Rally. Frankly, what else is there to say right now? Return our CPF? To everyone, right now? Pray tell how we actually expect the government to actually even achieve that. Pray tell how voting the PAP out will make that happen. Which alternative party is insane enough to actually promised that as part of their political platform?

Next, I am disappointed with the NParks actually approving the event when they should have record the YMCA event which they have given prior approval. It allows the conspiracists to call this a deliberate “trap” set by the authorities which culminated in the confrontation that took place, such that Han and Ngerng will look bad to turn public opinion against them. While I not so politically naive to deny that such a thing may not be too far fetch as documents declassified in the United Kingdom has shown that such set-ups may have been used in the 50s and 60s, how does that justify the uncompromising, uncooperative attitude Han Hui Hui has displayed in the video Roy Ngerng posted? When I read those declassified documents and about how Lim Chin Siong was set up and betrayed, there is a well of indignation. But if I was a reader reading about Han and Ngerng, and watching that video 50 years later, I would not be surprised to have felt completely nothing at all!


Sometimes I have a problem digesting what people expect from Roy or HHH? My own personal support of Roy comes from a belief in democracy. He has a right to his opinion and to do what he wants when he breaks no law. That he has through highlighting the CPF issue became famous or infamous as the case maybe cannot fundamentally change the fact that Roy is far from being a politician. The extrapolation of Roy from one issue to being a politician to be loved or hated is ludicrous.

Miss Han is 22 years old. How many 22 years old do you expect to behave with savvy or political acumen? Seriously, how many PAP MPs behave with political acumen from PM down to the latest Intan? And that is exactly the point about PM LHL suing Roy. Roy is just an ordinary guy making, articulating his points, agree or disagree is one thing, to sue him makes a monumental ass of PM precisely because Roy was never a threat to PM’s reputation. Besides, didnt PM said he was flamed proof?

And it is this suing that elevated Roy to the same status as PM. But that is a farce, with no disrespect to Roy. And precisely because Roy is an ordinary person that even PAP supporters shake their head when PM sued Roy. It is like a 6 footer kicking a kid because he is a nuisance, all the unsavory comments of bullying and repression emanated from PM’s action to sue Roy, is there political acumen? Why expect the same of Roy and HHH? Now, there maybe mitigating circumstances why Roy and gang heckled. Whether they fully understand what they were doing, the harm is done. And they have to apologize to the kids. No one in their right mind wants kids heckled.


read more

The Save-My-CPF Hong Lim Park Fiasco

I find it hard to believe that someone has actually started a petition calling for Han Hui Hui’s citizenship to be revoked, with the following words being the only substance to that petition : “Revoke Han Hui Hui’s Singapore Citizenship!”

What Han Hui Hui did last Saturday was insensitive and appalling, but surely not worse than someone who commits a sex offence, pays a bribe, cheats an organisation of massive amounts of money, or absconds from national service (ie. goes AWOL). Yet we do not demand that the citizenship of such offenders be revoked.

Han Hui Hui has been roundly criticised on the Internet, and what she stands for (what does she stand for?) largely discredited. That is punishment enough. What do we gain by demanding the revocation of her citizenship (which will not happen anyway, because the Government cannot suka-suka anyhowly revoke people’s citizenship)? What do we gain if, as a result of all this public pressure, she is terminated from her job (assuming she is working) or forced to leave school (assuming she is studying)? Why do some people appear so keen to “finish” her off?

read more

YMCA fiasco
Crowd shouting and moving off

Suddenly, everyone is out to condemn HHH and Roy for "Disrupting" a YMCA event. There are articles calling them names, a petition to revoke HHH's citizenship, another article talking about Anarchists.

I'm not there and I've heard that the MC on the stage started engaging with the crowds before the performance and the crowd reacted and when the kids with "special needs" performed, the video was captured and there was an outrage.

There are a few things I don't get. I don't think Anarchists apply for permits to hold protests in small areas. There was a process, process was followed and when these activists got riled up and responded, it was seen as distasteful. If I was on the stage performing, and people are shouting "Return my CPF" I'd be pissed, but I'd not feel threatened, just saying.

Fiasco @ Hong Lim Park

TWO competing events on opposite ends of the social spectrum held in the same place at the same time – supreme spectacular consummate cockup

THE LOW-DOWN: On Saturday (27/9/14) an incident played out at Hong Lim Park which would have been hilarious had it not also been tragic. “Proms @ the Park” a fair cum picnic cum concert organised by YMCA Singapore, coincided with “# Return Our CPF” a monthly protest rally organised by activist Han Hui Hui.

Ms Han had been organising the rallies in a personal capacity with the support of her allies, including the opposition’s golden boy Roy Ngerng. In addition, this was the first rally at which they planned to have a protest march around the park. The Parks Board admitted to granting approval for both events as there was no rule against this. It had been done before, without any ill effects.

Fiery confrontation at Hong Lim Park over use of speaker’s corner
Confrontation with National Parks Officer and Police officers

A heated dispute between a National Parks officer and organiser of the Central Provident Funds (CPF) protest event took place last afternoon at Hong Lim Park over the shared use of the speakers’ corner.

Confrontation - When Chia Seng Jiang, National Parks’s director of the Parks division approached Han Hui Hui, the organiser of the CPF Protest just about 30 minutes before the start of her event. Ms Han was taken back by his request as he had requested that she shift her event to another part of Hong Lim Park beside the park’s toilet. He explained to her that the location is the allocated space for her event by National Parks as there is already another event taking place at Hong Lim Par. However, Ms Han refused to budge and rebuked that there was no such demarcation for her event when she applied for the permit.

When Mr Chia failed to get Ms Han to cooperate, he gathered a group of people (who were introduced as plain clothes police officers) and approached her as seen in the video below.

Missing: The authoritative voice of NParks
“NParks stated that in general, where there is more than one application, its approach has been to allow the participants to share the space in Speaker’s Corner. “Until the incident on Saturday, no adverse or disorderly incidents have ever ensued in these previous events because the groups showed consideration and respect for each other, despite their different views and agendas.”

In the last five days following the clash of events between YMCA and the CPF protesters at Hong Lim Park (HLP), Singaporeans pored over footage of the protest, and witnessed praise, condemnation and some blatantly false accusations from or directed at the CPF protesters, YMCA, Ministers, Members of Parliament, and even members of the online community.

Hardly anyone paid any attention to the one missing piece of the puzzle that warrants a closer investigation – the role of the National Parks Board in the entire fracas.

NParks’ side of the story was painfully missing in mainstream media coverage, which was basically obsessing with the “heckling” incident that never actually existed.

Police investigate CPF protest march at Hong Lim Park
The protesters marched in open spaces betweeen the large tents set up for the YMCA event. (Yahoo photo)

Singapore police are investigating a protest march led by bloggers Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui at Hong Lim Park on Saturday after they led participants in a path that encroached the space allocated to another event occurring at the same time.

A joint statement issued on Saturday evening by the National Parks Board (NParks) and the police said each event — the other of which was organised by the YMCA — was allocated one of two lawns at Hong Lim Park in anticipation of the crowd that would attend both.

“NParks and SPF (the Singapore Police Force) approached Ms Han to request her cooperation to speak at the allocated space,” the statement said. “We regret to note that Ms Han did not heed our advice and continued to hold her event at the same lawn as YMCA. Ms Han’s group encroached into the YMCA event area, holding placards and shouting slogans, and disrupted the performance and frightened participants including special needs children who were performing at the charity event.”

related: Various accounts of CPF protest ‘heckling’ tell a different story


Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr Teo Ser Luck, chastised Mr Roy Ngerng and Ms Han Hui Hui for frightening the children with special needs during the protest at Hong Lim Park on Saturday. He said: "The children are my utmost concern." His party mates wasted no time in piling it on, waxing eloquent about how special needs children need to be protected.

Below is a compilation taken from the blogsite Singapore Notes of what the PAP MPs said:
  • Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin: “I am appalled. We now heckle special needs children? Vile. Total and absolute disgrace.”
  • Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing: “To cause alarm and distress to special needs children, and disrupting their routine cannot be right no matter how righteous you think your own cause may be.”
  • MP Janil Puthucheary: “No excuse for bad behaviour, but especially not directed at kids.”
  • MP Zaqy Mohamad: “A pity that special needs children were heckled by protesters at event by YMCA at Hong Lim Park.”
  • MP Ang Wei Neng: “There was no good reason for the bloggers to heckle children with special needs and hurl vulgarities.”
  • MP Tin Pei Ling: “What have these special needs children done to deserve being heckled down?”
If these MPs cared so much for children with special needs, it would save everyone a lot of trouble if they amended the Compulsory Education Act (CEA).

Kids with special needs have right to education

MR WEE Yeong Wei mentioned the exclusion of children with special needs from compulsory education ("It's about the kids with special needs"; last Saturday).

Eleven years ago, the Asian Women's Welfare Association initiated the setting up of the Joint Committee for Compulsory Education for All. All voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) that ran schools for children with special needs, except one, took part in this project.

A comprehensive survey was conducted and it revealed that a clear majority of parents wanted their children with disabilities to be included in compulsory education.

It's about the kids with special needs

WHILE last Saturday's incident at Hong Lim Park is regrettable, public attention on the issue needs realignment.

Children with special needs deserve society's understanding and compassion, but many comments seem to cast them as pawns in a political blame game. We should focus instead on a more critical question: How can we make Singapore a more accommodating place for children with special needs?

Children in mainstream schools are covered by the Compulsory Education Act. However, children with special needs are exempted from this, which affects them in two fundamental ways.


Teo Ser Luck, the guest of honour at the YMCA charity event at Hong Lim Park on Saturday, wrote on his facebook that Roy’s apology is “a step forward”. He also decided that it was appropriate to apologise also for the trouble he may have caused.

He explained that he felt that part of the inconvenience was caused because he was at the YMCA event as much of the protesters’ anger was actually directed at him. He wrote that he was sorry for this. He also took the opportunity to explain the photo which has been circulating online showing himself and some participants at the YMCA event taking a selfie in front of the stage instead of paying attention to and showing their respect for the special needs children who were at that time performing.

While he did explain the reason for taking the selfie and later explained in the comments section of his facebook post that the children were of his utmost concern, he did not apologise for ignoring the children to take a selfie. He said that he usually obliges when requested to take photos and he did it for the youths that he was taking photos with.


read more

Teo Ser Luck more interested in taking selfies than watching a bunch of special need children dancing for him

Comment: Wonder how the children dancing on stage would have felt seeing that the special guest they are dancing for is more preoccupied with taking selfies with his party supporters.


read more

On the #ReturnMyCPF Protesters disrupting the YMCA event

I am going to come right out and say this. If my daughter, Faith, who has autism, or any of my kids, had been on stage performing that day at the YMCA event, and Roy Ngerng, Han Hui Hui and gang came over to disrupt the proceedings, I would have taken their signs and placards and shoved the lot up their collective arses.

I don't care what your cause is. You can protest in your own time and your own space. In fact, NParks gave you your own space, the other lawn, at another part of the park. But noooooo, you wanted to target the minister who was attending the event as a guest of honour.

Was Minister of State Teo Ser Luck speaking at a CPF symposium at Hong Lim Park? No, it was a charity carnival for special needs kids by an organization that has absolutely nothing to do with the Gahmen.

I attended both event at Hong Lim Park yesterday and I would like to share my fair side of the story at what happened at Hong Lim Park yesterday because all the PAP MPs and Ministers as well as the mainstream media and also the government puppet bloggers like Mr Brown and Calvin Cheng are all jumping into the bandwagon by smearing the #ReturnOurCPF protestors

The #ReturnOurCPF protestors were initially just saying their speech in their own area when the YMCA protestors started their own chanting and shouting saying 'We Love CPF, We Love CPF' and some PAP grassroot leader even shouted at them saying 'Go Get a Job before asking people to return your CPF'.

Such taunting got the #ReturnOurCPF protestors very angered up which is why they started doing they marching pass the YMCA events and shouting their Return Our CPF speech. There wasn't any special needs children performing on stage for most of the time during the YMCA event.

However, despite knowing that the #ReturnOurCPF protestors are there shouting the YMCA organizers purposely still send up the 'Special Needs Kids' up on stage knowing that there is already an angry mob shouting below the stage. If these YMCA people really care about these kids they shouldn't even send the kids up on stage in the first place

Online reactions to Hong Lim Park rallygoers’ heckling of special needs children at charity carnival
Should the protesters insist on their right to do whatever they wanted at the park?


This was what predominantly ruled Hong Lim Park yesterday, with bloggers Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng encroaching on an area of a YMCA event at Hong Lim Park.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck was the guest-of-honour of YMCA Proms!, an event organised by the YMCA to promote corporate social responsibility by matching organisations with charities and voluntary welfare organisations.

Defiant Han Hui Hui went ahead with protest at Hong Lim Park today

A turf war erupted at Hong Lim Park this afternoon over who should occupy Hong Lim Green between Han Hui Hui’s protest march and PAP grassroots YMCA event.

According to Han Hui Hui, some plain clothes police officers approached her and her fellow members to vacate the premises adjacent to the YMCA event and warned that a warrant of arrest will be issued should they continue. National Parks Board Director also attempted to persuade Han’s party to move to another part of the park.

Despite warnings from the police and National Parks Board, the protesters went ahead with their speeches. Han Hui Hui, the event organizer was the first to speak. She delivered a fiery speech and demanded that the government return the CPF monies back to the citizens.

The double event at HLP, and an unwarranted clash

There is a lot of anguish online and offline following the clash of events at Hong Lim Park (HLP) on Saturday between YMCA and the organisers of the Return Our CPF protests. Most of it was directed at the CPF protesters, who were accused of heckling the special needs children who were performing at the YMCA event.

It is even more odd that a lot of the comments did not come from those who attended either events – which includes me – but based almost entirely on the video showing the CPF protesters marching, waving flags and shouting in front of the stage where YMCA was conducting its event.

The TOC report on the double event would have covered what really happened. But what really happened leading up to the event to cause this unhappy incident, and could it have been done differently? I would like to examine this from the beginning to the end, when the reservations to use HLP were made all the way to the protest march.

PAP MP Teo Ser Luck edits his Facebook page several times to change his stance on CPF blogger Roy Ngerng, 29 Sep 2014

PAP MP Teo Ser Luck can’t stop editing his Facebook status about CPF blogger Roy Ngerng. Either he is the most wishy-washy MP or has obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

At first, Teo insists Roy Ngerng performs a dance for the kids he heckled to show his contrition: Full story

read more

SDP on the CPF protest saga: Criticise if we must but let us also encourage

Much acrimony has emanated from the Return Our CPF protest at Hong Lim Park last Saturday. As complex and difficult as things are, let us focus on what we can all learn from the episode.

First, Mr Roy Ngerng and Ms Han Hui Hui should offer an apology to the children and parents who were present at the event and were affected by the protest. Roy has asked to meet with the children and parents to apologise to them. This is the right thing to do.

I met Roy several weeks ago. He is a thoughtful individual and no one should believe that he intentionally targeted his or the group’s actions at the children who were performing that afternoon. It is important, nevertheless, that both he and Hui Hui offer an apology to the children.

FB: Alfian Sa'at

I see this phrase 'protesters heckle special needs children' on my newsfeed. Unsurprisingly, PAP MP's are opportunistically swooping in, claiming that as much as Singapore should tolerate debate and disagreement (though the PAP itself has no credible record of defending free speech), a line has been definitively crossed, it was a step too far, this is no longer civil society but mob barbarism etc. I look at the videos and wonder--the protesters look like they're shouting, and then on stage the special needs children assemble for a performance--but does this qualify as 'heckling'?

The phrase gives the impression that the protestors were specifically targeting the special needs children, insulting and belittling them. But the protestors had already begun chanting 'return our CPF' before the performance began, and not all of them were facing the stage. I don't think it's possible that they could have addressed the special needs children to return their CPF money. When you heckle, it is with the intention of criticising a performance and interrupting performers--with aggressive comments and abuse. 'Booing' is a form of heckling, as are shouts of 'get off the stage', 'you're lousy' and 'f*** off'.

A more accurate report would have stated: 'protesters continue chanting during performance by special needs children'. This inconsiderate and insensitive behaviour (and yes let's call it for what it is) is also hard to excuse, but it doesn't suggest the malice involved in 'heckling'. We'll probably be seeing more ink spilled on how crowds at Hong Lim Park can get emotive, that there is danger in rousing emotions, etc. But let's also be aware that words like 'heckle' are no less emotive, the kind of sniper bullet used in character assassination.

read more

‘Heckling’ at HLP – What would Ravi say?

Looks like Ravi is going have more businesses than he can handle at the rate things are happening. Roy and Han Hui Hui are going to need his help again after the ‘heckling’ incident on 27 Sep. A lot of heat has been generated and a lot of strong words have been uttered in the heat of the moment. In nature when dogs are in heat, nothing goes into the head except emotions and animal lust.

Some people are going to regret for saying things they should not be saying. I am going to avoid participating and contributing more vile comments to the situation.

I was there at Hong Lim and without getting ‘emo’ and with the benefit of hindsight, I must admit I don’t have much foresight, at best not further than the tip of my nose, but I would like to pose a few questions that were shared with me by some senior gentlemen. Ok, the seniors may not be too careful and may be irresponsible with their money, but for an event like this, the wisdom of age counts, much better than boys and girls in heat, definitely.

read more

Hong Lim Park Incident - NParks mess up or?

When I read the Sunday Times report on Hong Lim Park incident, it was not surprising that Roy and Han were painted blacker than black. Next we have PAP ministers/MPs pouring more black paint onto the picture.

It is clear that either NParks is so dumb to give approval to 2 events which need loud speakers to reach out to audience or there is some dirty political scheming behind the scene. Are NPark officers all lacking in common sense to let 2 events held concurrently at the same time in close proximity to each other? Did they mess up on purpose?

Sat CPF rally is the 4th to-date. The organiser has always announced the date/time of the next rally one month ahead. So is MSM trying to make us believe that CPF rally intentionally crash with YMCA event? They highlighted the approval date of NParks letter to YMCA which was weeks before that of CPF rally. With the govt wide net work of IB busy at work, how can they pretend not to know the date/time of the CPF rally. It was publicized in a few internet websites well in advance.

read more

Why Approve Two Events On the Same Day at Hong Lim Park?

I'm surprised the relevant authorities actually approve two events to be organized at the Hong Lim Park yesterday. Isn't Hong Lim park the designated area for protests to take place? Why did they allow YMCA to stage performance by special needs students in the Hong Lim park which is the only place allowed for protest?

What is YMCA motive? Couldn't they perform at other parks like Botanic Garden which is perhaps more conducive place to watch performance? 

In the past I would be unhappy when opposition leader heckled. But this time, I think the Return Our CPF organizer is not entirely at fault. It is inappropriate to allow two events to be organized in the same location which is known for people to protest. I just feel disappointed with the current situation. This episode really only make me more suspicious of the authority's motive who approved two different events on the same day.

read more


There were two events at Hong Lim Park on Saturday 27 September - the YMCA event involving special needs children and the Return Our CPF protests. Some people asked the question - why did N Parks allowed the two events to be held at the same venue? N Parks said that they were assigned separate lawns.

Nobody asked a bigger question. Why did YMCA have to hold their event at Hong Lim Park? They must have their own premises to hold the event. If they have to hire a bigger venue, they should be able to pay for the hire of the venue, or get sponsors to foot the bill.

Hong Lim Park was created to be a place for people to exercise their freedom of speech and to hold protest. There are no other space available for this purpose, as any protest or gathering held outside Hong Lim Park, without a police permit, is illegal and can send the organizers to jail. 
And why did YMCA decide to hold their event at the same time as the Return Our CPF protests? This event had already been announced earlier than their application to use the space.

Unanswered Questions at Hong Lim Park

During Saturday afternoon’s protest at Hong Lim Park, it was “reported” that the protesters had heckled the kids performing for YMCA.

We know the video that is being circulated around is far from the truth. With many jumping the gun, it is imperative to share again this video showing what actually happened:

This video shows that the so-called “heckling” took place before the performance by the special needs children; and the protestors started walking away as the performance was about to begin. Now we have settled this “heckling” accusation, the following questions need to be addressed:

A Bundle of Wrongs at Hong Lim Park

Self defence expert Marc MacYoung describes rights as a bundle. “Rights come in bundles. Often these rub up against each other. That is where we must compromise and come up with a working solution.” MacYoung could have been describing what happened at Hong Lim Park on Saturday, when protesters from #ReturnMyCPF rubbed up against the YMCA and the state.

People have the right to freedom of speech. People also have the right to not be disturbed by others exercising free speech. People have the right to assemble peacefully for civil purposes. People also have the right to not participate in or be disturbed by such assemblies. When rights collide, the rational response is to compromise and find a working solution. Unfortunately, this did not happen at Speakers’ Corner.

Shared space- It is easy to point the finger at the National Parks Board. Hong Lim Park is not a large park. It seems unreasonable to hold two events in the same space, demarcating areas for both. This is especially since a charity carnival and a public protest will need as much space as they can get, as the success of such events are judged and marketed primarily by public attendance. Plus, Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck was the guest of honour at the event, and #ReturnMyCPF is led by Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng, both of whom have axes to grind against the Establishment. This is a recipe for conflict.

Return My CPF protesters heckling special needs children
The Sunday Times posted this picture of the ‘Y stars’, an ensemble of children with mental disabilities including Down’s syndrome, with the caption: ‘Although the special needs performers were stunned….they SOLDIERED on and finished the slow’, blatantly evoking sympathy for the children and making Han Hui Hui’s angry uncle troupe look like a mob of Satan worshippers looking for young flesh to sacrifice at the altar

Without a full picture of what really went on at Hong Lim Park, I find it hard to believe that anyone would deliberately ruin a children’s performance, special needs or not. The Y crew trains once a week and had a ‘modern dance’ routine specially prepared. Imagine how the proud parents recording this special moment on their brand new iPhone 6plus might feel.

Guest of honour Teo Ser Luck revealed to the media that he had to console one the performers who seemed to be shaken by the CPF hecklers (Chaos at Hong Lim Park charity carnival, 28 Sept 14, Sunday Times), despite being himself harassed by profanity-spewing protesters. HHH claimed that the group just wanted to ‘spread the message’ across and argued with some NPARKs director in another video, insisting that she’s free to march wherever her permit allowed her to. Roy, the original instigator of the whole CPF hoopla, seemed to be relegated to flag-bearing duties, upstaged by a pint-sized hothead who has a blog titled ‘Honest, honorable, holistic, humbly unexplainable irresistible’ and the audacity to make a bunch of plainclothes police look like bumbling idiots. When forced to introduce himself, one inspector even BOWED before HHH. Give this guy a Singa the Lion award already. Is he here to chase some bullies away or take your damn order?

I suppose it’s normal to act in an awkwardly amicable manner when dealing with the likes of HHH in front of a camera, but some situations do call for the police to approach people with a ‘F-off!’ face. This situation probably needed that. Instead of arguing by the letter of the law, the authorities should have managed this the same way they would bust someone having a noisy orgy in the neighbourhood at 2am in the morning.

read more


I was intending to go to the Hong Lim Park today to see the chain of events happening in Hong Lim Park today but in the end I did not turn up. I came to know about the crash of the events two days ago (26 Sept 14) after Han Hui Hui complain in the facebook that grassroots’ leaders are intimating her against holding her protest on 27 Sept 14.

At the later stage, I came to know that the event held there will be YMCA annual event and being organized by volunteers. YMCA is a Non Government Organization (NGO). As what had happen on 26 Sept 14, nobody knows except those few people involved including Han Hui Hui. I should not said anything here but highly suspicious of the intention of Han Hui Hui.

How could the events be better managed?

read more


“The police should allow for more peaceful protests in Singapore, so that the police can practice their policing capabilities. We don’t want to damage public property or loss of lives, but peaceful protests are arguably a freedom of speech and a civil liberty we want to protect.” She (Sylvia Lim) said.

Well today, there wasn’t a damage to public property or a loss of lives as a result of a “peaceful protest”, but a severe blow to the morale of children and a loss in my faith in humanity. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, have a look here.

We may have our grievances with the government or even with the PAP, but to go so far as to implicate children in these political activities and go so far as to prevent them from continuing with their performance, it’s nothing short of despicable.

read more

Yes, Roy should apologise, but so too some MPs

It has been three days since the controversial protest at Hong Lim Park, and the debate rages on.

Who is right, who is wrong? What actually transpired? Who said what? It is thus important that when the dust has settled, we look at things rationally and factually with the aim of understanding what happened and how to move on and prevent future altercations or clashes.

In this spirit, we would look to all sides practising restraint, and leaders to show leadership.

Special needs children heckled as Hong Lim Park rallygoers disrupt charity carnival

A protest rally on Saturday turned chaotic as it jostled for space with a charity carnival at Hong Lim Park, with protesters heckling special needs children and confronting a Minister of State.

Police will be conducting investigations into the incident, they said in a joint statement with the National Parks Board (NParks).

The rally's organiser, blogger Han Hui Hui, 22, had led the group gathered to hear her speak about the CPF in marching around the park, together with blogger Roy Ngerng, 33, who is facing a defamation suit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Suffer The Little Children

Don't mix up Hong Lim with Hong Kong
  • Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin: "I am appalled. We now heckle special needs children? Vile. Total and absolute disgrace."
  • Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing: "To cause alarm and distress to special needs children, and disrupting their routine cannot be right no matter how righteous you think your own cause may be. "
  • MP Janil Puthucheary: "No excuse for bad behaviour, but especially not directed at kids."
  • MP Zaqy Mohamad: "A pity that special needs children were heckled by protesters at event by YMCA at Hong Lim Park."
  • MP Ang Wei Neng: "There was no good reason for the bloggers to heckle childrenwith special needs and hurl vulgarities."
  • MP Denise Phua: "I heard while the kids were not physically harmed, many were alarmed, confused and disturbed by the unexpected unruly turn of events."
  • MP Tin Pei Ling: “What have these special needs children done to deserve beingheckled down?”
Our Very Own Zapruder Clip
Who Do You Trust?

read more

FB: Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin

I am appalled. We now heckle special needs children? Vile. Total and absolute disgrace.

We can disagree. We can be critical. We can debate. How we do so defines us and our society.

The space is wide. But there are some lines they we should not cross. This is one line I never expected to see violated in this manner.

read more

Various accounts of ‘heckling’ tell a different story

Just recently, I found a Web article about an artist whose “invisible art” sold for millions. The words were prefaced by a photo of artgoers looking at blank walls, trying to find the “art” that was presented by the artist.

I shared it on my Facebook news feed, incredulous that such a gimmick made the artist a fortune. I then saw another friend sharing the same article. A comment under that post highlighted how the writers of the article came from a satire radio show that was fabricating articles and passing them off as news. I got trolled, big time. For some reason, I got the same feeling when I saw a video released by The Online Citizen showing a different view of the heckling that happened between Return Our CPF protesters Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui, as well as participants from an event held by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).

The ‘heckling’ – which actually consisted of disruptive chanting of ‘Return our CPF’ – made the news because, well, surely anti-government protesters would be exactly the type of mean-spirited, heartless people that would heckle special-needs children, right? Unlike the many who were quick to shower a barrage of curse words and similarly-powerful words of hatred towards the duo, I had my reservations. Blame it on my part-cynic, part-hopeful persona, but I had a reason to believe that humans still have a shred of kindness in them not to chastise special-needs kids.

Hong Lim Park fracas: Kids' parents don't want to meet blogger Roy Ngerng
Mr Roy Ngerng waving the Singapore flag as he led protesters at Hong Lim Park last Saturday. They marched through a charity carnival, scaring special needs children and adults performing on stage. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Parents of a special needs group whose performance at Hong Lim Park was disrupted by protesters from an adjacent event are declining to meet the protesters' co-leader Roy Ngerng, who wants to apologise to them and their children.

Mr Ngerng, 33, part of a group of protesters who marched last Saturday through a charity carnival and scared special needs children and adults performing on stage, had e-mailed the event's organiser asking if he could get in touch with the children and their parents in order to apologise.

Mr Lo Chee Wen, general secretary of the YMCA, which organised the carnival, confirmed that Mr Ngerng's e-mail had been received. He did not disclose its contents, but said the YMCA would consult the parents on whether they were agreeable to a meeting.


Events at HLP, can you smell politics?

Singapore will be fifty next year. If Singapore were a human, fifty is considered old (especially in Singapore). It could be the end of a person’s economic life (fired). And if it is the end of his economic life, it could also be the end of his physical life (suicide). Hence, at such an old age, one would have thought that it would have matured and become wiser. It is sad to see that a recent incident at Hong Lim Park showed otherwise.

For those who are familiar with the current Singapore politics, it is common knowledge that there is a group of activists who holds a monthly protest against the government at Hong Lim Park. So, for the protest that was held on 27 September 2014, what was the sense for the approving authority to approve another event to be held there on the same date?

While the two events may not be described as “conflicting”, it was certainly “incompatible” as one event was against the government while the other event had a guest-of-honour who was from the government. It should not be difficult to foresee that unpleasantness could erupt when the two events were “allowed” to be held together at the same time and at the same place – which was exactly what happened. Further, what made the incident really bad (inhuman) was that it involved some innocent children of special needs. How on earth could the organizer of the other event, which had religious affiliation, bring these children to such a potential eruptible situation? They were meant to protect and keep these children at a safe place – and they did exactly the opposite. So, the protesters were accused to have heckled the children. And many MPs came out and condemned the protesters when they were “normally”quite quiet on other more “important” issues. Can you smell politics?



There is nothing wrong in disagreeing with policies, issues or even ways of doing things.

However, the way of discourse to share our different views must be constructive and carried out with decorum and respect for one another, and in a way where the safety and interests of the more vulnerable in our society are being protected.

What happened in Hong Lim Park yesterday was unjustifiable by those who claimed to be carrying out a "peaceful protest".


This is unacceptable behaviour if the Police investigations confirm it. Heckling is wrong. Heckling at special needs children is doubly wrong. What has these special needs children done to deserve being heckled down? There are a few issues here beyond this act of heckling.

Firstly, heckling is an act of tyranny against freedom of expression, something that I believe we have been promoting. Ironically, this happened at Hong Lim Park and by the group who clearly went to Hong Lim Park because they wanted to freely express themselves.

Secondly, and following from the first point, it seems the concept of freedom of expression has been partially applied when the group deemed it convenient - that they want to express their opinions freely but will not hesitate to shout down others who do not seem to be "on their side". I would think that if one truly believes in freedom of expression, then one must respect the space and right of others to do so as well. It's okay to debate, but heckling is an act of aggression with the aim of either humiliating or shutting others up. So, heckle is not okay.

Hecklegate splits opposition into 3 groups
  • Conspiracy theorist. Somehow they are the victim. They’re always the victim/hero. These guys are in turn supported by some folks with Guy Fawkes masks in their profile pictures who will argue about technicalities like how it wasn’t “heckling”, but just a damn blardy rude interruption, or else they will ad hominem people who condemn the act and label them all as PAP IBs. Damn, suddenly so many people become PAP IBs. If PAP was capable of plotting something so smooth and ingenuous, I swear I will join them right away.
  • Silence is golden. Here stand most of the people who were vocally supportive of Roy and Han… until now. Unable to break ties with their most visible political allies but at the same time unable to jump onto the loony train and screw their credibility. Lie low and you may yet survive the shitstorm.
  • The “reasonable” opposition. These guys are happy to distance themselves from the increasingly-alarming CPF gang. Full retard is just too much. Never go full retard.

The Hong Lim Disgrace: A Fence Sitter’s Disgust
Chia Seng Jiang, Director of Parks 1 of the Parks Division in NParks, attempts to intimidate Roy and Hui Hui to move their site at the 11th hour

I am writing to express my disgust and disappointment in the events which unfolded at Hong Lim Park during the CPF Protest held last Saturday (27 September 2014). My disgust and disappointment is in the way NParks and YMCA used YMCA’s Proms @ the Park for political purposes and dirty play.

NParks, which manages Hong Lim Park, was certainly aware that the CPF protest would clash with YMCA’s Proms @ the Park. Yet, they arranged both the events to happen around the same time, knowing that Mr Teo Ser Luck, a minister of state would be present.

Given the record that such a protest on a controversial matter such as the CPF would be emotionally charged, scheduling the protest close to an event where a Minister of State from the PAP would be present would certainly lead to tensions.

HLP incident – Who do you trust?


九月二十七日,实属现今江湖罕见,截然不同性质的两批人马,同日浮现芳林公园。本以为只是单纯,简单的活动,但穾发奇想,或许,有些心存歹意者,为讨好某方势力,或会为这两场活动增添变数,蒙上些许政治色彩? 出自于好奇的心态,也想借此机会,亲自目睹耳闻,两方阵营彼此间的能耐与软实力,总的来说,这可能是一场变相的公开较量,比拼风度、胆量、智慧、临场反应、等等等。


另一边厢,则是弱势,当然了,扛旗的领导,虽说是女侠,也只是个黄毛丫头,外加个文弱书生,带领着一群老弱残兵,毫无帐篷遮挡烈日当空的太阳,微弱的喇叭声,像似加护病房,垂死挣扎的救命声,呼唤着Return My CFP,形成鲜明对比。当时的我,悲痛油然而生,自问,曾几何时,我们新加坡人,分裂成如此的两大阵营?

The Singapore Daily

Heckling YMCA:

– Tweety: #returnourCPF
– The Singapore Beacon: Antiestablishmentarianism
– The Singapore Beacon: Freedom Is Not Free
– Aligheri2014: Of Law and Order
– The Singapore Beacon: In Search Of An Idiot’s Paradise
– Singapore Notes: More Fun Than A Barrel Of Monkeys
– Osman Sulaiman: Our police force a bully?
– Tots of a Cynical Investor: What Hui Hui & WP have in common
– Just Speaking My Mind: Disappointed with Our Police Force
– My Singapore News: The silence of the sheep
– Singapore Notes: Good Cop, Bad Cop
– The Nanyang Chronicle: Dissecting the Hong Lim Park fracas
– Tots of Cynical Investor: No need to change Hong Leong Park rules
– Second November: Downright Embarrassing
– Evergreen Bamboo: The Chee Defense of HLP Commotion
– Singapore 2B: And a child shall lead them
– Salt * Wet * Fish: Growing pains and collateral damage
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Roy’s & New Citizen H3 should go to HK
– Singapore in General: Missing: The authoritative voice of NParks
– Musings, thoughts, life.: Singapore’s dissidents…too self-righteous?
– Barisan Kuning: Learning Points
– PetuniaLee™: Need to Fight for Freedom meh?
– Chemical Generation Singapore: The CPF Protest and Bad Manners
– The Temple Of Thoughts 3: Roy & Freedom vs YMCA & Special Needs Kids
– Five Stars and a Moon: Return of The Gorblok – Part 2
– Iron Bowl: YMCA fiasco
– Dewdrop Notes 露语: Human Shields & Political Pawns
– Cheryl Marie Tay: Come, We Clap For Them
– Basis Of Singaporean Spirit: Hong Lim Park Crash – Who is Right?
– My Singapore News: Teo Ser Luck apologised on Facebook
– Singapore Notes: Our Very Own Zapruder Clip
– Mindspur: Fiasco @ Hong Lim Park
– The Lycan Times: The Fracas at Hong Lim Park
– Five Stars and a Moon: Return of The Gorblok – Part 1
– Blogging for Myself: Ropes or Petard for Roy Ngerng
– Onthesannyside: What if it had turned out uglier?
– Singapore Notes: Suffer The Little Children