Recently, the PAP Government saw it fit to ban a cycling event that the opposition Workers’ Party (WP) wanted to organise in East Coast Park to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.
The reasons given by the Minister in Parliament were:
- “East Coast Park is a recreational park for Singaporeans and their families. It is not meant to be used by a political party to promote its cause.”
- It could “(displace) the usual recreational users (from East Coast Park).”
- “It is an open area where there is potential for breach of peace, public disorder and unruly behaviour.”
- “You [the Opposition party members] may be well behaving, but there may be other people whom you come across when you cycle who may stop you, may want to debate with you and that may attract a crowd, therefore will result in problems the police want to avoid.”
Meanwhile, both theonlinecitizen and mrbrown have pointed out that the Young PAP (YP) has gone ahead and organised Night Cycling events (in MY constituency!) in the past without any restrictions. I guess George Orwell’s pigs were right that some animals are more equal than others.
Some points which I noted from this episode are:
- The mighty PAP is so insecure and afraid that a tiny opposition party (which couldn’t even win more than one full seat in Parliament for the past 20 years) will gain too much influence from organising a cycling event.
- The WP’s cycling event has just been given a whole lot more press coverage than they could ever hope for if it was approved. More PR mileage for less work — how much more could the WP ask for?
- The PAP thinks Singaporeans are so interested in current affairs that they would actually try to debate issues with strangers cycling in a park.
- The PAP is concerned about its own party supporters’ commitment to law and order.
- It has acknowledged that opposition party supporters are not the hooligans they are always made out to be, as they are less likely to disrupt YP cycling events than vice-versa.