By Terry Xu
A crowd of around 900 individuals turned up for the protest about the Central Provident Fund (CPF) at Speakers’ Corner, Hong Lim Park last Saturday, organised by Ms Han Hui Hui and her team.
Speakers at the event touched on issues that went beyond CPF, including the Housing Development Board (HDB), influx of foreign workers and other areas concerning citizens.
This is the third CPF protest event since June this year and there is still no sign that the organisers will be stopping any time soon. Ms Han, the main organiser, announced that there will be another protest next month on 27 September at Speakers’ Corner.
A sizable number of elderly folks made up the crowd. While the first impression might be that the elders turned up because they are concerned about their CPF funds, further questioning debunked that assumption.
Many of the elderly who turned up at the protest event have already received their CPF funds in part or in full. Many also said that they have nothing on CPF which worries them. Rather, they are concerned about how government policies will impact future generations.
Mdm Tan, 71, spoke passionately about her support for event organiser Ms Han and speakers like Mr Roy Ngerng. She admired their courage in stepping up on stage to voice out against the government’s policies.
She related that many, including her peers and herself, are afraid of the repercussion of speaking against the government, even of they do not agree with the policies. She withheld her name out of fear that her son will be implicated in some way.
Mdm Tan was also concerned that Singaporeans are worse off now than they were during her time.
“Just imagine that my mother, who was totally uneducated as a farmer, could raise me up to go through university. The British gave us primary education for free and secondary school at only $$2.50 per month. Even the bus fares were cheap, at 10 cents a ride. With seven to nine bus companies, the competition between the companies made the fares low.”
She also felt that housing prices are ridiculously high, too high for the next generation to afford. She related that she brought her 3-room flat at around S$7,000 and lamented how high the price has gone since then.
However, she recalled how her Residents’ Committee members boasted to her about how they skipped the balloting process to get their choice of flats. She was concerned about preferential treatment given to supporters of the ruling political party.
She also took issue with how the government had been forceful on their policies, citing the “Stop at Two” policy (a scheme in the 1960’s to encourage parents not to have too many babies) and how the government had forced people to give up their homes in the name of national development.
“But things have changed now, with young people like Hui Hui daring to go on stage to talk about the government’s policies,” said Mdm Tan.
Speech by Leong Sze Hian, one of the speakers at the protest event on HDB issues.