Some people turned up for an alternative National Day celebration, which was more like a protest, at Hong Lim Park. It was organised by Gilbert Goh, the nobody turned somebody overnight a few months ago when he organised the anti-foreigner protest, attacking the PAP’s White Paper on population and a target 6.9 million populace.
National Day is for everybody to celebrate together regardless of their political differences. I thought it was in 2011 and after the milestone GE, a bright spark among the organisers of the NDP finally persuaded the political parties to ditch their party whites or blues and wear red and white when attending as MPs during the annual parade. That was a conciliatory move to show moving together as one Singapore despite natural diffierences in politics.
The run up to this National Day was spiced first with gay activist Alex Au saying that it was alright to burn the Singapore flag. He crossed the line with that provocation on the rights to free speech and it was one of Alex Au’s few fumbles in his usually good blogging. The instigation to burn the state flag was a deliberate conflation of Singapore as a state and the PAP as Singapore, and confused between disliking the ruling party as the same as disliking Singapore and its emblems. The flag is sacred and a sense of collective identity and belonging steeped in history that transcends politics and parties. Learned Alex Au should have known that. Flag desecration is nonetheless controversial, and Germany, Israel and Switzerland are among those who outlaw flag desecration like burning. I’m sure Singapore has similar laws and if it doesn’t, it should.
This National Day protest at Hong Lim Park, is similarly an affront to Singapore and Singaporeans. Gilbert Goh must have got it into his head that he is some unstoppable protest pied piper and wanted to draw people from celebrating to protesting. Protesting is all well and good because that is what Hong Lim Park is mostly for but to provocatively hold it on National Day itself, or even over the National Day weekend, is bad timing and thus bad taste.
Holding a protest on the same day as the national day rally since the rally is a PAP-run affair mostly; now that is fair game. Gilbert Goh actually gave fellow activists and opposition politicians like Ravi Philemon and Leong Sze Hian a bad name when they stood with him on this Hong Lim Park protest.
TO DREAM OR NOT TO DREAM?
Traditionally for the last 47 years, Singapore celebrates its nation building with a large scale parade. Tomorrow, a very small group of people are calling Singaporeans to join them at Hong Lim Park to celebrate National Day.
Ironically, those people at Hong Lim Park don’t quite believes that the National Day should be celebrated. They are people who believed that the Singapore flag can be burnt. The National Anthem is sang each time the Singapore flag is raised. So are they going to sing the National Anthem and burn the Singapore flag tomorrow at Hong Lim Park? The National Anthem is almost inseparable of the Singapore flag.
I had a little exchange with one person who is going there. That person said that it is going to be great excitement in their camp. What started that little exchange was a comment by that person who said that cartoonist Leslie Chew could be president. I wished the person well and said that to be able to dream is a good thing. I was then extended an invitation.
There are lots of these innocent people who had good intention of doing good for Singapore. They were sold by people who promises a dream where no stray animals would be abused, no elderly people need to toil in their golden years, no challenges from foreign talents for their jobs. Perhaps past heavy handedness of people carrying out good meaning policies had upset these people.
I wished the person well again and said “enjoy and have fun (with your dream)”. I am too busy doing things for Singaporeans to indulge myself in your fun. The person then turned a little agitated and cynical and asked “Is that so? “And what are you busying over?” I told her I am busy looking out for jobs for the unemployed, coordinating animal welfare groups so that the strays may not be abused, helping the aged to earn a dignified living instead of having to ask for donations for everything. I had no reply till now.
You see….the difference between the Floating Stage at Esplanade and the on at Hong Lim Park is this : At the Esplanade floating Stage, people are celebrating real accomplishment, whereas at Hong Lim Park people are indulging in a dream. Two separate world, two different sets of people. The Realists and The Dreamers. It is good to have dreams, and to work towards realizing one’s dreams.
I was waiting for a reply so that I can explain why I cannot join their fun and the difference between being Realist at Esplanade and Dreamer at Hong Lim. You see, the real world is full of rules and guidelines, but dreams do not. In a dream, one can do anything that is beyond human and nothing will ever happen when one awakes.
So in their dream, anyone can become Prime Minister or President, and you can have as many PMs and Presidents as you wish. Their dream also consist of homosexual activities anywhere and everywhere, not sure if their PMs and Presidents are also part of that? Their dream is full of hatred and they like to SLAP the people they don;t like and never get slapped back.
Let me also make this clear. They are not Opposition politicians. The real Opposition politicians will be at the Esplanade Floating Stage celebrating real accomplishments and will not be at Hong Lim Park dreaming.