In order to cope with the expenses for the coverage of the upcoming General Election, The Online Citizen (TOC) held a fundraising dinner on Saturday night (6 July) at FiftyRafflesPlace, which was attended by many opposition party leaders, social activists, and TOC readers.
Among those who were present are former CEO of Singtel and Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) Lee Hsien Yang with his wife Lee Suet Fern who’s a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and director at Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC, Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Founder Dr Tan Cheng Bock, and Workers’ Party (WP) Chief Pritam Singh together with NCMPs Daniel Goh, Leon Perera, Dennis Tan, and former NCMP and co-founder of TOC Gerald Giam.
Not forgetting, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) head Dr Chee Soon Juan along with Chairman Dr Paul Tambyah and Vice-Chairman John L. Tan, People’s Voice Party (PVP) head and lawyer Lim Tean, Singaporeans First (SingFirst) head Tan Jee Say, as well as Singapore People’s Party (SPP) members Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss and Jose Raymond.
Other notable attendees are blogger Leong Sze Hian, activist Jolovan Wham, human rights lawyer M Ravi, co-founder of TOC and lawyer Remy Choo Zheng Xi, and former CEO of NTUC Income, Tan Kin Lian – who also ran in the Presidential Election 2011.
In a post on TOC’s Facebook page, Terry Xu, editor-in-chief of TOC, thanked everyone for their warm presence and kind support.
“At first, it seemed as if no one would turn up after we repeatedly made calls for people to support our event and the event was set to be screwed. But that disappointment turned into glee when people started to ask if there were tickets still available and soon enough we had more pax than what we had envisioned for the best case scenario,” said Terry.
“While TOC did not get enough funding to last for the next three months but the event still provided an excellent opportunity for like-minded individuals to mingle and for ties to be forged,” he added.
He also thanked the venue operator of the private kitchen and volunteers for assisting with the registration and invitations, as well as those who were unable to attend the fundraising dinner but still contributed to TOC’s cause by means of donation.
After the event was over, several politicians and activists took to social media to thank TOC for uniting everyone at the fundraising dinner while commending TOC for its hard work as an independent media in Singapore.
Pritam Singh, Workers’ Party Chief, said in a Facebook post that the online media space is a very challenging platform as founders and editors seldom possess adequate resources compared to their mainstream media counterparts. Nonetheless, the demand for quality and accurate news reporting is ever present.
He went on to say, “Whatever one’s perspective of TOC – the part it plays in the unique Singaporean media landscape is incalculable – a net positive – arguably even in the eyes of its fiercest critics. TOC performs an important role, especially if one is serious about being an active citizen in a participatory democracy, and recognises the importance of free flow of information.”
He also stressed that online outlets must continue to survive, especially since the mainstream media have the tendency to be biased and therefore may not address certain topics or issues that plague society. He then expressed that members of the Workers’ Party, including himself, were happy to have generously contributed to TOC’s fundraising efforts.
Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, Singapore People’s First member, thanked TOC in a Facebook post for bringing everyone together.
She also encouraged her friends and followers to support TOC by contributing to its running expenses in order “to keep our independent media alive and running”.
What’s more, Taiwan-based Singaporean activist and blogger Roy Ngerng expressed his patriotic and moving sentiments in a Facebook post, accompanied by a couple of “very powerful photos” featuring prominent figures and like-minded individuals “all at one event to support TOC’s fundraising dinner.”
He then added, “This is the Singapore I know. The time has come. For change. For the future of Singapore. The honorable one. Be inspired.”
Additionally, international human rights lawyer M Ravi, who recently announced that he has received back his practising certificate from the Supreme Court Registrar after four years, took to his Facebook to show appreciation to TOC for working hard “to bring us all a great alternative media platform all these years – publishing challenging and controversial truths often when such news was not reported elsewhere in mainstream media”.
He went on to say, “Let’s do our part for TOC by supporting through donation. I have some great memories with TOC and getting to know its co- founders. It provided great support to me when it collaborated fully with me on the campaign to save Yong Vui Kong. Since then, it has also been airing news about the public interest cases I have fought. Kudos to them for being that alternative media provider that has stood steadfastly to give Singaporeans an alternative voice … May we always strive for press freedom!”
Remy Choo Zheng Xi also took to his Facebook to convey his thoughts on the fundraiser event.
“TOC’s fundraiser tonight was great fun, and a reminder of how important independent news media is in bringing people together, and building the community of Singaporeans who believe in a better tomorrow,” he noted.
Ultimately, while our fundraising dinner was a fruitful initiative with the much-larger-than-expected crowd and positive post-event validations, our warchest is still not fully-stocked for the long run as the amount raised is only enough to tide our site’s operation for about three months or so.
Hence, we are still depending on the generosity of citizens for us to maintain our operations as we continue to provide readers with alternative perspectives and to cover stories often ignored or under-reported by mainstream media.
“The sum that TOC wish to raise is more than just maintain operation but to expand our operations in order to contest the narrative set by the state media. We all know how much money the establishment is throwing into supporting the state media in forms of advertisement and subscriptions so it is impossible for us to do much without the support of ordinary citizens who wish to see an improvement or change in the state of affairs in Singapore by having the population better informed. Do kindly support us in our donation drive so that we can make a difference.” – Terry Xu
That being said, for those of you who wish to contribute to our cause, you may do so by means of donation via bank transfer to any of the account below:
i) Maybank account: 04011108619
ii) PayNow account: 201543138DTOC
Once you’ve made the fund transfer, do drop us a message at 91781031 for notice.
For more info on how you can support us, click here.