The first Population White Paper protest was held on Feb. 16 this year to rave reviews as Hong Lim Park finally came alive for the first time in history. The protest was reportedly attended by several thousand people.
The second protest on Labour Day in May managed to pull in the crowd as well, stunning the authorities as it showed them that Singaporeans were able to efficiently organise themselves.
This was a troubling spectacle for any government. Just ask the Egyptians.
Over this past weekend, the third protest was held.
Seven invited speakers spoke about taking issue with the government’s foreign worker policy instead of the foreigners themselves.
The stage was set, hopes were raised, people were invited, the sun was shining and it was meh.
About 500 people showed up -- an optimistic guesstimation and modest fraction of the past attendance for the previous two protests.
What went wrong? What was the big difference that eight months made?
7 reasons why the third Population White Paper protest was so meh:
1. Then: Cover the face. Hot.
Now: Cover the face. Fat.
2. Then: "Awww look at all these children out in full force with their mummies and daddies."
Now: "Look at this token child on stage used as a political pawn."
3. Then: Punk Boy a.k.a. Only Sexually Attractive Guy At Protest
Source: The Online Citizen Facebook
Now: T-shirt-wearing dweeb
4. Then: Protest attracts fringe anarchist
Now: Protest attracts mainstream monotheist
5. Then: "We need to interview the protest organiser to get a quote because this is an important story in Singapore's history."
Now: "Omg my friends just finished high tea buffet at a chi chi cafe and I'm standing here in the field."
6. Then: News of protest gets widely reported (even featuring in a frivolous fashion rag)
Now: Protest overlooked by media, news reports on tree-planting instead
7. Then: Much thought and preparation went into making picket signs
Now: Dude shows up with this.
Six companies were invited to Hong Lim Park to set up booths offering jobs to Singaporeans during the third protest.
This was part of the "6.9 million population white paper protest cum jobfair for Singaporeans”, as touted by protest organiser, Gilbert Goh of Transition.org.
Wonder how warm was those companies' reception to the crowd that day.