The incident at Hong Lim Park on 27 September was preventable and the error was unmistakably NParks’. One should also take WP’s Bernard Chen’s comments on the “heckled” allegation with a lorry load of salt. It is not only irresponsible but utterly stupid to play into the media’s hand and comment without any verification.
Recently, when Intan made headlines daily, we did not hear PAP MPs or WP MPs uttering a single word on the issue. Suddenly, WP Bernard Chen, paper generals Tan Chuan Jin and Chan Chun Sing, escaped-NS Puthucheary, Zagy Mohamad and Ang Wei Neng found their voices? What’s going on?
And the latest to add to the chorus is Tin Pei Ling who did not know what to say a few years back suddenly has a lot to say on an allegation.
Politicians who comment on an unverified event are irresponsible and out to score political points. Frequently, they are also ineffective leaders. When the source of the “heckled” allegation comes to light, all those who have commented will look like fools. Why can’t they just let the police complete their investigation?
Not politically motivated?
PAP MP Intan became a liability to the PAP on 8 September by trying to redefine grassroots ‘position’ as well as giving her support to a foreigner in his appeal for Singapore PR, someone she “does not know (Yang) personally”.
9 September – YMCA given approval by NParks and the police to use Hong Lim Park.
22 September – Han Hui Hui given approval to use the same venue.
The intention of holding another protest rally at Hong Lim Park was made known one month ago after the last one held on August 23. Is it a coincidence YMCA’s event was given approval on 9 September, one day after Yang Yin made headlines?
Why was YMCA allowed to change its timing to afternoon to coincide with the protest rally?
NParks cannot claim it does not know:
– Protest rallies at Hong Lim Park are very noisy events
– The turnout could be unpredictable as it has numbered thousands in the past.
Would any average-intelligent person from NParks have approved both events with loudspeakers drowning out each other and an unpredictable crowd turnout? Is this an “honest mistake” or stupidity?
Abuse of public resources
Instead of admitting to its error, Mr Chia, Parks Director 1, was sent to ‘request’ Han’s cooperation. This was not done in a civilised but intimidating manner. As can be seen from this video, link Chia required 6 plainclothes policemen to accompany him for a simple task. As a Director, Chia’s competence has now been called into question.
1 – Chia clearly felt he was unable to perform the simple task of talking to the organiser and convincing her to cooperate.
2 – Since it was NParks’ error, Chia should be upfront and not hide behind the SPF ‘show of force’.
3 – Chia clearly does not know his job from the way he replied to Han’s questions in the video.
It is also an abuse of police/public resources to require 6 plainclothes policemen, a few looking more like thugs, for a simple task. Citizens have frequently complained on social media that our men in blue usually show up after a reported fight has taken place. This already reflected the low confidence in the SPF and the video has tarnished SPF’s image further.
Bullying citizens again?
The show of force was certainly an overkill. Why do we need 6 policemen to convince a 34 kg Singaporean?
It turned out the services of the SPF were not even required. They were there simply as a show of force, a waste of tax dollars, to intimidate citizens. This appears to be an intimidation tactic used by the PAP in the past on citizens. Where were the police when citizens were assaulted by foreigners? Why were the police able to arrest the Toa Payoh vandals within days but unwilling to commit resources to quickly arrest foreigners who had assaulted Singaporeans, especially taxi drivers?
Sending 7 middle-aged men, one highly paid, at taxpayers’ expense to ‘fix’ a young Singaporean is like calling in heavy artillery to target a lone soldier on the battlefield. This would not have happened in any other country and is such a disgraceful act.
Hong Lim Park is an open public area in Singapore, not some slums in countries which are out of bounds to the police.
Don’t always resort to force/threats, other solutions available
NParks direct role in the Hong Lim Park incident is unmistakable because the previous 3 CPF protest rallies were all uneventful. Director Chia could have applied some common sense PR which would have made Han looked really unreasonable if she did not cooperate. Instead, he blindly applied PAP’s tactics of intimidation and threat.
More than a year ago, PAP MP Zagy had also threatened TRS with legal action for an article written by his frustrated resident. As was highlighted, Zagy could have also used some common sense PR and gained political mileage by engaging his resident. Like Chia, as well as other PAP politicians, Zagy had chosen not to engage.
PAP MP Intan and NParks no different
Intan made an epic error in supporting Yang Yin’s PR appeal. She did not apologise but subsequently shifted the issue to one of trying to help a fellow elderly citizen. The mainstream media were roped in to her rescue and her Facebook administrator was also blamed.
Fast forward to 27 September, we can see the similarities between Intan and NParks. NParks had made an ‘error’ in approving 2 noisy events with big turnouts to be held simultaneously. Like Intan, there has been no apology from NParks. The media is now helping to deflect the issue from one of NParks’ error to something else.
It is unmistakable that NParks must shoulder the responsibility for the Hong Lim Park incident. Remove NParks politically-motivated ‘error’ or its stupidity in approving both events, the incident would not have arisen.
PAP MPs and ministers are acting irresponsibly by commenting on the “heckled” allegation without verification. When the dust has settled, the source of the “heckled” allegation is likely to be linked to the PAP.
What’s shocking this time round are the comments by WP’s Bernard Chen. Why did Bernard speak up on an unverified incident when he has been silent on more serious and chronic issues such as housing, healthcare, public transport and education? Is this to score political points or put himself in PAP’s good books?
PAP wayang has been ongoing for decades, same script but different players. The PAP is always right, blame is shifted to something/someone, the media help to deflect blame and PAP wins every time. More citizens are losing trust in the PAP system but we keep being treated to the same wayang. It’s getting really boring so how about something new?