Secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Chee Soon Juan was all set to launch his book titled “Never On Bended Knees” on 26 January.
Unfortunately, the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) had cancelled his booking at its event hall, citing that the event and the book “do not appear” to be “related to training, skills upgrading and lifelong learning for the workforce”.
Announcing this news on his Facebook page, Dr Chee stated that he received an email yesterday (17 January) informing him of the cancellation.
It appears that when he made enquires with LLI in November 2018 about renting one of its rooms, the institute replied:
"Before we can advise you on the availability, we would like to find out more about the event that you intend to hold on campus. Please send us more relevant details on your event."
After he gave more details of the event, the institute replied and said the event can be held at their venue.
After he paid the rental in full, the institute remained quiet for the next two months until he announced the launch last Saturday. Four days later, its manager, Mr Dan Soh, informed him of the cancellation.
Dr Chee wrote, “First, no one at the LLI has read the book. The decision seems to have been made based only on "appearances". Two, why should a book discussing national issues not be regarded as relating to "lifelong learning for the workforce"?”
He went on further to say that “such arbitrary decisions and last-minute cancellations by government bodies are troubling, to say the least”.
Due to the cancellation of his previous booking, Dr Chee’s book launch event is now changed to SDP’s office at 3 Ang Mo Kio Street 62, #02-30, [email protected], with the time and date remain unchanged.
Last minute cancellation of such events are a norm. In 2013, MARUAH was forced to change the venue for its public forum “Foreign Workers, Justice and fairness” on a very short notice.
It’s very often that NGOs, civil activists and even politicians from opposition are forced to move out from venues.