It was a proud moment to be a Singaporean yesterday, when 6000 of us, stood shoulder to shoulder under the unforgiving shower of rain to protest in unison against the latest draconian policy which had been shoved down our throats.
However the irony of protesting in a government sanctioned site, nestled away from the view of busy Chinatown blocked by towering woods only re-affirmed the fact that we are still, as much as we hate to admit it, a repressed people.
It was regretful to say the least that the strong message of protest against one of the most obscene population figures conjured up by a totalitarian government could not have reached the oblivious masses, whose only accurate source of information would have been the mainstream media. Not surprisingly, virtual tabloids affiliated to SPH covering the event maliciously published figures of “only a handful”, “hundreds” or “more than a thousand” to drive home the ongoing propaganda against state opposition and civil society bodies.
Imagine the impact a peaceful march to the Parliament House would have made. In the past decade, It was easy to subdue a handful of SDP activists carrying out peace protests outside key government installations and embassies because that’s all they were. A handful. The state knew it was easy to leave such random acts of lunacy unreported, or create a perception of disgust in the minds of fellow Singaporeans.
Well not anymore. The spectacle I witnessed yesterday was the evolution of a once meek, passive and gullible populace to a brave, bold and intelligent breed of lions. With only 6000 at the start, numbers could have easily swelled up to double, or even triple had the protest come into contact with the general public. I was convinced that at this point of time, what we needed was the re-emergence of non-violent agitation and civil disobedience to curb the abusive powers of the state.
The only way to realize this is by having our civil rights and liberties; freedoms of speech, assembly, association and movement unconditionally restored without any parallel laws criminalizing them. Before asking for any referendum, let’s campaign for the restoration of our total freedoms, so that the voices of yesterday will be able to reach the sleeping majority of 60%.