28 July 2006

Canned Protests

I know I'm breaking my resolution of cutting down on my blogging frequency, but I really cannot ignore this. It turns out that while protests are allowed during the IMF meetings, they're only allowed indoors. And more than indoors, they're restricted to only the lobby of Suntec Convention Centre.

While I do understand that Singapore is perhaps not ready for open demonstrations (although peaceful demonstrations will be an ideal goal for an open Singapore in the far future), capping these IMF protests indoors seems so... artificial. On top of that, I wonder if lobby is sufficient to hold the numerous groups of demonstrators. The article also mentioned "strict rules" but failed to elaborate on that, which leads me to question if the "protests" intended can be considered protests at all.

It resonates with the PAP's habit of keeping things in tidy little boxes with tidy little labels. No mess, no dirtyness, no trouble. Just like Speaker's Corner in Hong Lim Park: put a police post right beside it.

I do believe, however, that the authorities are capable of enforcing this law. There may very likely be outdoor protests (either due to defiance or insufficient space), but they will be quelled with amazing efficiency. But I wonder how badly the beating will be on Singapore's reputation.

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