25 August 2006

How NOT to succeed in the conventions business

The World Bank and IMF will be holding their summit in Singapore next month, but we have banned all outdoor NGO activities that are a customary part of such summits. The World Bank expresses its disapproval of Singapore's heavy-handed regulation, and we think we're winning good press for our conventions business? Full essay.


teck soon said...

In the posting, Alex asks if "London, Sydney, Los Angeles, etc are also multi-ethnic and multi-religious cities? How is it that they can manage things when we cannot?"

Perhaps the Singapore police and the elected Singapore government are just incompetent. They simply can't manage large groups of people outdoors. It's too much work and they're not experienced enough. Or the police prefer working in air conditioning, not in the sun. Or they're not smart enough. Based on the police's interpretation of Singapore law, perhaps they truly are not intelligent enough to manage a street protest if one were to ever occur. So much for "famed" Singapore efficiency! Cannot even manage a few environmentalists holding signs? No wonder Singapore's GDP per capita is still so low compared with Western countries'. Poor leaders, poor management, incompetent police.

yuen said...

>>The public will not be admitted into the indoor area. Not even the streets around, for they will be closed.

I think you have the wrong impression that all the streets will be closed; people can still go to the shopping centre, but by a round about route into the carpark; it is normal for conferences to be for registered participants only (usually because you have to pay and unpaid people are kept out)

>>an indoor area will be cordoned off and "accreditted" persons will be allowed to enter the area in order to express their concerns. Presumably, to the four walls.

I think the Suntec lobby is being used for this so protests will get audience - whether they get the intended audience is another question, but looking at the December WTO conference in HK, the intended audience is usually not the conference delegates, who are inside, but the world media, whose reporters are in the streets

>>Singapore is demonstrating our world-class ability to be totally schizophrenic. We want people's money, but we don't want to give people the freedom to do what they wish to do

dont see why that's schizo; but usually the people who provide money do get the freedom; those deprived are usually the ones with no money

Anonymous said...

i experienced the last WTO in HK. those protesters initially said they'll do peaceful demonstrations. and as we have seen all over the world, it never will be peaceful. these demonstrations are well-planned, even the violent ones. they're disruptive, and destructive. Once the demonstrators feel tehir wors isnt getting across, they will turn to violence to get heard. We were given advice by the public to stay home and stay away from the trouble areas.

i can understand why the Singapore Police Force are not willing to allow the demonstrations.

What intrigues me more is what the IMF said - they're unhappy that Singapore not allowing demonstrations, and they want their detractors to have a word. They bloody well know of Singapore's stance on public demonstrations, yet they decided to bring the meetings to singapore. Why?

And what did the Singapore govt offer to the IMF to induce them to come to singapore too?

those questions, to me, are the bigger questions we need to ask.

Anonymous said...

so IMF guys are hypocritical; of course; they are people with power and money

but protesters wont be able to do in SG what they did in HK: many will be denied entry at the airport because the officials have a huge database of past protesters from Davos, WTO, IMF...; also, it takes some time and practice to mount coordinated demos that overwhelm police presence, but staying in SG is expensive unless you have local groups supporting you, providing accommodation and street directories; this wont be the case here

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Re the point made by Anonymous 25 Aug 20:17 about well-planned, violent demonstrations, my response is in the first addendum.

Your other point - what DID Singapore promise to lure the conference here? is a good one too. Of course, as it stands, it is not public knowledge.

Anonymous 26 August 08:04 makes an important point. Entry control into Singapore is perhaps more effective than a ban on protests.

Paddy Tan said...

I also question what form of agreement did our singapore gahmen reached to get them here too and is it part of the agreement to have demostrations to be held within a confined area. Or all along it has been separate discussions?

ColdZero said...

I want to ask, does protesting make a difference when the people you are protesting against know you will be protesting against them and have made arrangements to facilitate your protest?

Should not an act such as protesting derive its effectiveness from the fact that it is extraordinary, unexpected and certainly unplanned for? A case in point, here in Melbourne, people are protesting the Israeli invasion of Lebanon every Sunday at 1pm like clockwork down LaTrobe St.

So I ask you, has the revolutionary potential of the protest been in dulled but its repetitiveness and predictability?