ROY NGERNG: Today was the fourth Return Our CPF protest. Before the protest began, someone from NParks and a big group of plainclothes policemen came to ask the organiser Hui Hui Han to move the protest from the centre of Hong Lim Park to a quieter more secluded area. Hui Hui asked the person from NParks and police to show their verification and asked what regulations there were which allowed them to dictate where the protest can be held. There is none.
We continued to hold the protest at the mount, where protests are regularly held. The whole park was already set up with tentages so there was nowhere else a stage could be set up. According to Hui Hui, there was supposed to be a stage but the person who was supposed to set up the stage was uncomfortable, because there were grassroots who were there, and thus the stage did not get set up.
The protest proceeded smoothly. Before the PAP came into power, protests were allowed in Singapore. But when PAP took control, they prevented Singaporeans from protesting and arrested Singaporeans who did. Later, they gave a little park and forced Singaporeans to only speak up at Hong Lim Park. It is the right of Singaporeans to speak up and to stand up for our rights.
The PAP has no right to prevent Singaporeans from doing so. If there is only a small space to protest, and it gets taken, then where else can Singaporeans protest? Where can Singaporeans speak up for our rights? But we can share the space and share we did. YMCA held their event and we protested on the other side. It is moreover about the freedom to speak and the freedom to use the space.
As we spoke, there were also some attendees to the YMCA event who were listening intently to our protest. When we marched around the park, I met a man on a wheelchair (he was attending the YMCA event) who waved his clappers at us. There was also an elderly couple who smiled as we walked past. Yes, we did march! And yes, it was the first time since 1965 since Singapore’s independence that Singaporeans were able to protest and march, in front of a minister.
Teo Ser Luck was the guest of honour for the YMCA event. We marched around the park and chanted, ‘Return Our CPF’ and ‘PAP, vote them out’. The protestors marched peacefully and we protested peacefully. Teo Ser Luck did not respond to us. We did not expect him to. I understand some protestors managed to shake his hand and asked him to return our CPF. But upon being asked, he would not answer. We also thanked the police and NParks for being there. In truth, we were speaking up for all Singaporeans. It doesn’t matter what the police and NParks had to do.
We respect what they have to do, but we wanted to speak up, for their rights as well, and for Singaporeans and for our children and their children. For the first time ever, Singaporeans were able to protest in front of a minister. We demand answers and we demand our rights to be returned. Singaporeans, we will no longer allow the PAP to do whatever they want because they feel like it. They are our servants and it is time we teach them to behave like one. PAP said that Singaporeans were happy with the CPF because no one protested outside Parliament House. But they did not allow us to and only gave a little space to protest.
No matter, if Singaporeans cannot protest outside Parliament House, we will bring to Parliament House to Hong Lim Park. And we did. Watch out for the videos and pictures as they come. Singaporeans, we made history today. We stood our ground and we fought for our rights. This is only the beginning. Singaporeans are awakening and we are fighting to regain our rights.
We will succeed.
This story was written by Roy Ngerng.
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