19 August 2008

Demonstrations to be allowed in Hong Lim playpen

Prime Minister Lee Hisen Loong announced 3 new liberalisations in his National Day Rally speech. They were couched in so many ifs and buts, do they amount to anything more than mere tokenism? Full essay.

9 comments:

yuen said...

you are entitled to feel the changes are very small; still, they are what people asked for and some appreciation is in order - otherwise the pro change faction in PAP might feel discouraged, while the reluctant faction would be able to argue next time "why change if it makes no one happier?"

obviously, PAP has a lot more resources to make podcasts, and ST's coverage of the next election campaign will have many articles about this or that nice pro-government postcast; whether this would divert eyeballs away from opposition podcasts, however, would be interesting to see

Anonymous said...

Wondering whether the so called "relaxed" ruling is to be in line with IOC's Youth Olympics in 2010. As IOC requires the freedom of expression & the rights to protest at Beijing Olympics, perhaps the same ruling is to be applied for Youth Olympics. Of course, its a farce with Beijing as to date they have not granted anyone the right to protest at designated spots in Bejing. So you can expect the same "I'll let you protest but I need to scrutinize you thoroughly first" as evidenced by what the Spore govt did at the WTO at Suntec City when they barred known protestors from entering Spore. In spirit only but not in action! Sometimes you can be mistaken to think that Spore is a Communist state like China!

Anonymous said...

Good.

May I add:
Good grief, my God. Again again and again, we are being bait with candies like 3-year olds.

When are all these 'wayangs' going to stop, my goodness.

Of course one thing is for sure, this is a repsonse to the recent International Bar report - mind you a congregation of the world's best LEGAL EXPERTS.

Anonymous said...

I am just wondering why the government really needs to offer protection to religions in Singapore. If religious people are persuaded by their respective religions to make decisions that affect the political process, then why shouldn't religion be examined, questioned and criticized? If religion is as deep and powerful as people make it out to be, why does it need protection from the state? So that the government can fall back upon religion as its benchmark for moral standards?

Anonymous said...

Yuen: you are entitled to feel the changes are very small; still, they are what people asked for and some appreciation is in order - otherwise the pro change faction in PAP might feel discouraged, while the reluctant faction would be able to argue next time "why change if it makes no one happier?"

It is more likely a case of "seen to be doing something" rather than trying to make anyone happy. In other words, political expediency and mileage, another song and dance to hoodwink the masses and ease international scrutiny. As it is activists do not subjugate themselves to prescribed rules dished out by the very system they are challenging, and the PAP government knows this too.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Yuen,

I'm reminded by a friend of what opposition leader JB Jeyaretnam once told the PAP government when they last loosened some rule. Something to the effect of: "Don't expect me to get down on my knees to thank you; it is my right after all."

yuen said...

>"Don't expect me to get down on my knees to thank you;

"showing some appreciation" is hardly "get down on knees"

> it is my right after all."

it my "right" to drive my car in the streets, but only if I pay for COE, ARF, road tax, ERP, etc; the PAP is pretty experienced in handling such "rights" issues; the question is whether their opponents can learn the skills to cope

xNSman said...

“I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.”
Bishop Desmond Tutu

Hello, we must thank an authoritarian government for what was already our right? Let's see, if Dr Chee and the rest did not push the envelop and got arrested and stuff, the PAPies will automatically look at loosing up their grip? You must be joking?

yuen said...

I think IBA report has more to do the sudden change

"some appreciation" is also different from "thank"; I doubt the government cares whether you or CSJ say "thank you" or not; they want to see whether the overall effect is good for them or not and use the result to plan future policies

the change is directly beneficial to PAP because it has more resources to organize its own demonstrations and make its own podcasts; this too is something worth "appreciating", in addition to the kind of factional discussions that must have taken place before the change

I said in another thread: if people who congratulate themselves on having fought for change dismiss the outcome as meaningless, then they are also dismissing their own effort as meaningless; make up your mind which way you want to believe