By Terry Xu
A protest against the recently endorsed White Paper on Population has been planned by Transitioning.org (A support site for the unemployed & underemployed) to take place at Hong Lim Park, this coming Saturday, 16th Feb 2013, from 4pm to 7pm.
The protest aims to gather Singaporeans who do not agree with the 6.9 million population projection by the White Paper and asking them to make a stand against it by taking part in the protest.
This planned protest has reported by many overseas press outlet such as Bloomberg and Reuters, and now many more have purportedly said to be covering the event.
A few facebook pages have been actively helping to promote the event such as Occupy Singapore and Say “No” to an overpopulated Singapore. The event’s attendees list has garnered about 3,000 over confirmed attendance so far.
But the actual turnout rate might be hard to estimate as Singaporeans are still fearful of participating in events which would seem to be anti-government in nature.
An example would be the protest organized by Occupy Singapore at Raffles place on 15 October 2011 which was set to mimic the protests held elsewhere around the western countries to voice frustrations against social and economic inequality. However on the day itself, there were more journalists around than there were normal citizens walking about. Even the organizers themselves were nowhere to be seen.
What might be different here is that while a protest at Raffles Place would have been an illegal gathering but a protest at Hong Lim Park is perfectly legal as it had been since 1st September 2000 when it was designated as a free speech area.
Transitioning.org has since announced that it has successfully applied for the speaking permit at Speakers’ Corner on 16th Feb from the National Parks.
Gilbert Goh, President of Transitioning.org writes,
Dear Fellow Singaporeans,
While you are feeling and facing the problems of the population squeeze right how, further issues and problem will likely arise if our government continues to import more foreigners. This will affect our birthrates, jobs, personal space, housing, transport etc. I therefore urge you to join in our protest cum gathering this Saturday. Together with thousands of our fellow caring citizens, it will help to create awareness and spread the message to the whole world that Singapore belongs to Singaporeans. Our target is to reach 6900 of supporters to come together to feel the actual squeeze of overcrowding.”
Speakers for the event who are scheduled to make their appearance are well known individuals such as ; Mr Tan Jee Say, Mr Tan Kin Lian, Mr Vincent Wijey, Mr Leong Sze Hian, Mr Ravi Philemon, Ms Jeannette Chong, and Mr Kumaran Pillai.
Other speakers also include normal citizens such as Mr Lee Kah Jing, working as an actuary, Mr Cradius Tan, a medical technologist, Ms Samantha Chia , an event co-ordinator, Mr Nizam Ismail, a lawyer and Ms Sem Teo, a customer service officer.
There will be a recitation of the national pledge as well as the singing of the national anthem scheduled as part of the program for the event.