Winners and Losers: Who won and who lost at the Hong Lim Park fracas
Besides the politicians and protesters, here’s how the saga has affected a rather more eclectic group.
On Sept. 27, 2014, two groups of Singaporeans were each given their own turf at Hong Lim Park to express themselves and carry out their own activities.
However, one group of protesters with a bone to pick with the Central Provident Fund scheme decided to march around and encroached the turf of a charity event by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).
1. Minister of State Teo Ser Luck
The MOS was the guest-of-honour at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Proms @ the Park, a charity event to promote corporate social responsibility by matching organisations with charities and voluntary welfare organisations.
According to The Online Citizen (TOC), Teo “held his composure” despite the constant “bombardment” of slogans targeted at him. In fact, he shook the hands of individuals in the protest group to greet them as they passed by him.
His actions won the praise of TOC’s editor Andrew Loh:
His latest FB posts are a bit strange (asking Roy Ngerng to apologise and then jumping on the apology bandwagon to also say sorry to YMCA), but his actions last Saturday had generated much goodwill from people on both sides of the debate.
Before last Saturday, only 900 participants from VWOs, public volunteers and corporate volunteers from 14 organisations heard about the good work by YMCA.
Now the public know about YMCA’s efforts to help beneficiaries which included individuals with special needs, the elderly, and underprivileged children.
3. The Online Citizen
Kudos to the socio-political site for sharing a video that offers a different perspective to the protesters’ alleged heckling of the special needs kids.
1. CPF protest organiser Han Hui Hui
For sounding like a shriller version of Singapore Democratic Party’s Chee Shiok Chin, who had a confrontation with the police many years back during a protest march.
But Chee she is not.
It is not brave or noble to march into a charity event where special needs children, disabled children and the elderly were present.
She may not have heckled the children but her action to march into the charity event on Saturday was foolhardy.
And that line to reporters? “We actually planned not to do anything physical to them. We just wanted to spread our message across.”
There is always a more appropriate time and venue for your message to be heard.
2. CPF blogger Roy Ngerng
Ngerng has already admitted that he had made some mistakes during the march and apologised to the children.
In his blog, he said that “there were some things we should have done better, for that I am sorry”. He noted that he could have moved away faster when the special needs children came out to perform.
Ngerng also said that he will be writing to YMCA to meet the children and volunteer with them.
But his antics on Saturday had done his cause for CPF transparency a disservice.
Calling it “The Most Groundbreaking Protest in Singapore since 1965”? You know that you have lost most of your support from mainstream Singapore if even blog-father MrBrown decided to whack you and call you wankers.
3. The initial edited video, that was highlighted by Five Stars and a Moon blog and shared by Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin
Again, Five Stars and a Moon blog proved to be one of the fastest blog on Roy Ngerng matters. Previously, it was the first platform to report on Ngerng’s sacking.
On Saturday, it was probably the first site to share an article about Ngerng and the protesters heckling the special needs children.
How was the site informed about the edited video?
4. Channel NewsAsia and The Straits Times
You know you are less than timely when Manpower Minister Tan had to resort to sharing articles from blogs to highlight a local event.
Did the ample time to research and gather news help both Channel NewsAsia and The Straits Times?
Was it wise for NParks to approve two events occurring on the same day? Hindsight is 20/20 but we know that occasion could be politically explosive with MOS Teo potentially meeting both Ngerng and Han.
In its statement, NParks said that it has demarcated and allocated space for both events.
However, Ngerng said in his blog that the protesters were only informed on the day of the protest that the protesters should use a portion of the park that was more secluded.
Han also said that “there was no such demarcation for her event when she applied for the permit”.
Could NParks have arranged with the two organisers to negotiate on the use of the space? Did NParks indeed inform the CPF protesters on the same day itself about the allocation of space?
Top photo from here.