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Gilbert has organised several protests before and got only lukewarm responses but he persisted -- and made history -- proving history is not made by single big episodes but persistent, dogged work -- until the Moment happens

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  • Robert Ho
    Significance of May day sequel – For a Better Singapore [image:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 21, 2013

      Significance of May day sequel – For a Better Singapore

      Its been almost  1 1/2 month since the  epic protest on 16 February.

      Much has happened since and the euphoria continues unabated…

      The media still came in strongly a month after the protest  and we have spoken to SMU and RI students who are carrying out school projects on the white paper.

      Foreign students also came in for interviews and we have spoken to embassies interested on the protest matters.

      The Japanese and Korean presses are also well represented and Qatar TV even flown in for a filmed interview.

      By now, as many as 3 million people living in our tiny red dot would have heard or read about the protest unless he lives by himself without any outside contact and we thanked the international and local presses reporting on the event.

      We are also planning for a sequel protest against the population white paper on May 1st – international labour day – and it promises to be a cracking event.

      The theme of our sequel event is For a Better Singapore and as its also labour day, we will want the event to be represented by many Singaporeans from all walks of life.

      We have a 66-year-old Singaporean speaking on the CPF retirement scheme, two mothers talking about the fears their children will face in future and a young disabled guy speaking about challenges the disbled face in our country.

      Nevertheless, its difficult to plan for a better sequel after the massive success  on 16 February and as organisers, the pressure piles on relentlessly – both from the local people and  international community.

      On labour day worldwide, workers usually come out and protest against all sorts of labour issues but unfortunately this has not being  not the case here as public civil defiance is frowned upon.

      Traditionally, the labour day  event  here is conducted by NTUC and it is very muted and too organised to be a worker event.

      It is also a theatre-styled gathering and our labour chief –  minister without portfolio will address the union leaders and members.

      PRC SMRT bus strike

      NTUC has its work cut out during the past six months when the Chinese SMRT bus drivers staged a strike against wage and living conditions.

      It was the first labour strike – ironically conducted by incoming foreign workers – for the past three decades.

      Four PRC drivers who were jailed for the illegal strike have since left Singapore after serving their jail terms.

      Many of the foreign bus drivers who were not unionised have since joined the unions and hopefully their needs are represented fairly.

      Why a sequel protest?

      A sequel protest is imminent as  organisers  do not want to see only  a one-off massive united gathering of peaceful protestors.

      We hope that the sequel will see a stronger turn-out and  hopefully a  rejuvenation of power’s power as I have heard many Singaporeans felt helpless and hopeless as all along we are very disunited and fragmented as a country.

      We are not advocating a revolution or Malaysian-like Bersih here but we want Singaporeans to come out in a peaceful dignifed manner when they want to gather amass against any policy that they dislike.

      For too long, Singaporeans live in fear of the unknown when they want to come out in the open to speak out against any government’s policy.

      It does not help that even a one-man protestor outside of Hong Lim Park is illegal and I guess the 1602 protest has lifted the fear lid off a little.

      Many unhappy Singaporeans have all along complained on  their facebook walls and socio-political blogs that they will want to wait to cast their votes in the next general election whenever a unfavourable policy is passed through parliament.

      Now, they can come out openly in person to protest at Speakers’ Corner when we call for such an occasion in future and that is what the corner is specifically set up for   in 2000.

      Speakers’ Corner intention fulfilled

      Speakers’ Corner is modelled after the London’s Hyde park whereby speakers stand on shoe box and speak randomly on issues that matter.

      Spectators will then go round each speaker and listen intently to their speeches.

      Its spontaneous, unorganised and very random.

      A Straits Times reporter has asked me why we cant really model speakers’ corner after the  Hyde Park one and I told her that Singapore is different as firstly we are shy to speak aloud openly as an Asian and secondly the lack of freedom of speech here has curtailed alot of the courage to speak out even though we have a burning issue in our  heart.

      However, we are glad  that at least Singapore has speakers’  corner for  the  legal peaceful gathering of protestors,  many countries around us could not protest legally and if they do so the police will be called in to stem the outbreak.

      New frontier for the people

      Nevertheless, I agreed with some politicians that the protest has created another new fresh frontier for the population to vent out their frustration against the policies of government – legitimately and within the law.

      Such  peaceful united protest  is not only healthy but necessary as it provides a valuable  avenue for one to offload anything that he is unhappy with.

      I have also heard how many Singaporeans decided to leave the country for good  as they felt helpless about their situation whereby the redressing avenue is missing.

      People may also be too concerned with making ends meet that when there is a protest, they simply ignore it in the past or find that there is nothing that they could do to change their situation.

      We have organised several protests in the past and our attendance at best is only 200 people.

      Apathy soon takes over and nothing moves them anymore until the 6.9 million population white paper.

      People felt angry that they were not consulted on succh an important matter and that by 2030, the foreign population ratio (55%) will supersede that of the local population (45%).

      I have asked many people why they came for the 1602 protest in the pouring rain and they told me that they came for their children – most of them almost in tears when they said that. Their children are nearby them at Hong Lim Park.

      I guess it will take alot out of fearful Singaporeans to steep out of their comfort zone and paprticipated in a very un-Sporeean event likee a protest or demonstration.

      We are too law-abiding to  openly speak up against a policy and much if it has to do with our Asian conditioning of respecting elders and obeying authorities.

      Our national service (NS) has also robbed us of our ability to think clearly for our individual self as NS has forced us to be conformist in our outlook.

      On another aspect, the government can also listen to the voice of the people through such events and hopefully this will be the real truthful National Conversation which is unstaged  and from the ground up.

      For too long, anything that needs interaction with the ground is often organised top down and the same thing happens with our National Conversation.

      A minister will preside over the event and people are invited to voice out their concerns and fears during the National Conversation sessions.

      The setback of our ongoing National Conversation sessions is that much has been spoken but so far we are not convinced that the ideas are translated into action.

      I am heartened to see that our protests are organised from the ground up and many speakers at the sequel event are ordinary Singaporeans who want to speak  out against the government’s policies.

      Conclusion

      We hope that many Singaporeans will turn out for the may day sequel protest and for the 4000 die-hard Singaporeans who turned out on 16 Feb to return for the may day event.

      Its signficant as we want Singapore to realise that the 1602 event is not a one-off.

      Many critics will want the sequel event to be a failure so that we will withdraw back to the  cave age of compliant and submission.

      That will really be Singapore’s darkest period…

      It took us almost 50 years to achieve a 4000-strong massive turnout for a political protest on 16 Feb and hopefully the triumph march of people’s power will return on May 1st.

      Count on me Singapore!

      .

      Gilbert Goh

      .

      Please visit our sequel event page on: [ FACEBOOK ]


      --
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      My wife, an accountant, then a manager in an MNC drawing a 5-figure salary before she retired, can confirm that I write the Truth in all these.  <<<<<<<<<<

      RH:   LKY LHL WKS ELECTION RIGGINGS EMAILED TO ALMOST ENTIRE GOVT:
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      MY ACQUAINTANCE, MR DAVID DUCLOS, A FORMER POLICE INSPECTOR, AND HIS LAWYER FRIEND, EYEWITNESSED LEE KUAN YEW RIGGING THE 1997 CHENG SAN GRC ELECTION.  READ MORE AT MY BLOG ENTITLED "I CAME, I SAW, I SOLVED IT" : 

      b.  SWORN EXHIBIT IN SUPPORT OF AFFIDAVIT:

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