Singaporean apathy and red tape on display at Aung San Suu Kyi rally

At Maruah’s peace vigil for Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom, most of the people showing up were Burmese. Where were the Singaporeans? And the most noticeable thing at Hong Lim Park Speaker’s Corner was a cordon marked by red-and-white tape… which was there as a result of govenrment red tape. Full essay.

7 Responses to “Singaporean apathy and red tape on display at Aung San Suu Kyi rally”


  1. 1 Jackson Tan 2 June 2009 at 10:29

    Hi Alex!

    I’m not too sure if it is fair to chastise Singaporeans for being apathetic about Singapore’s foreign policies. I don’t think it is a mere issue about foreign policies: it seems to me to be a symptom of most Singaporeans being less expressive about sociopolitical events than people from other democracies.

    After all, ~100 Singaporean participants are not too far off the mark for most other events held at Hong Lim park. The only exceptions I can think of is the minibond saga and the Pink Dot event, but then they are of different nature or more directly impacting Singaporean’s life. This proportion, I’d wager a guess, is roughly consistent with protests in general.

  2. 2 yawningbread 2 June 2009 at 11:16

    I agree that it is roughly consistent with most other events at Hong Lim Park, but by world standards, I think it’s small for a 4.8 million city.

    I’m reminded of an incident recently: A filmmaker was showing his first cut of a film about political protests in Singapore to a closed door focus group. After the showing, all the Singaporeans in the room gave comments and suggestions about the edits that might be needed. One Japanese woman made a totally unexpected comment. She said something to the effect that while she understood this was a film about protests, what struck her most was how small the protests were, how few protesters there were! In other words: What protests are we talking about that you should make a film about them???

    Therefore it is important sometimes to call a spade a spade. Sure, 70 – 80 Singaporeans is par for the course here, but let’s realise it is apathetic by world standards.

  3. 3 Sgpo 2 June 2009 at 11:17

    I wonder how many per cent of Singaporeans subscribe to cable and have access to CNN and BBC. (Almost all among my friends) And I wonder how many watches foreign news. (Not many at all in my little sample population)

    Having seen the public outrage and protest against the ruling on the antagonists in Britain’s “Baby P” case. I was wondering what kind of reaction were there in Singapore’s Firdaus Abdullah case where he gets 12 strokes of cane and only 7 years imprisonment for murder of a three-year-old.

    Then again, can imagine the reactions of family and neighbours running along lines like this, “Huh? Protest in Singapore? You want to go jail, is it?”
    “Siao ah! go Hong Lim Park, register with government that you are trouble maker.” “Aung San who? Is she the latest Korean actress?”

  4. 4 lee sze yong 2 June 2009 at 11:52

    Hi Alex, for more on military links between Burma & Singapore, you can refer to a book by Andrew Selth; Burma’s Armed Forces: Power without Glory

  5. 5 Saint Splattergut 2 June 2009 at 20:53

    “Aung San who? Is she the latest Korean actress?”
    by Sgpo 2 June 2009 at 11:17

    I… I lol’ed.

    -.-” so true, so sad.

  6. 6 Alan Wong 3 June 2009 at 13:35

    I suppose it would have been different and the attendance would have been overwhelming if there had been instant lucky draws, free gifts, free vouchers or anything free to be given away to draw the crowds.

    Singaporeans have been generally been brought up in a very materialistic country. When we visit other foreign countries, Singaporeans are also infamous for a general lack of gracious manners.

    Sometimes can we blame ourselves when our own Singapore government are equally infamous for being calculative as seen in numerous diplomatic spats with our neighbours, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. Furthermore, there is a complete lack of compassion on the part of our government leaders when dealing with our country’s humanity issues, what more can we expect from them in respect of foreign humanity issues which do not bring any benefit our country. In terms of humanity, Singapore is really decades away from becoming a truly humane first world country.

  7. 7 Singapore Democrats 5 June 2009 at 18:07

    Thank you for the insightful blogpost. The Singapore Democrats have featured your post in our blogs of the week section – http://yoursdp.org/index.php/news/blogs-of-the-week

    More about our “Blogs of the week” section – http://yoursdp.org/index.php/news/singapore/2212-blogs-of-the-week


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