The letter below was submitted by Gretchen Ho.
The protestors in Hong Kong were tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed by the police. THIS was their retaliation:
It is a protest, but the students in Hong Kong continued to be civilized and peaceful in their appeal for universal suffrage. In fact, they even had a “Manual of Disobedience”, talk about being very clear-minded about what they wanted to do, and to do it gracefully.
Now we turn the focus back to our home. 27 September was a sad day for many people, many of us who believe in standing up for what’s right, in a right manner and attitude.
The mainstream media called it “heckling”, the CPF protestor camp denied it and condemned the strong word used. I’d call a spade a spade. I thought the 154 (referring to local media, 154th place in media freedom worldwide) was already very mild in its choice of word. I would have labeled them bullies, nothing short of hooliganism, in the way the protestors behaved, whether it was towards Teo Ser Luck, the YMCA staff and volunteers or the special needs children. It is important we understand the meaning of “shared space”. It took years to have Hong Lim Park come into existence. In order for the alternative voice to gain more share of the pie and become mainstream, we need credibility and public trust. With no support, there is no citizen movement. With each idiotic act, we give the authorities ammunition to smother the alternative voice. We need to behave like mature adults, not throw childish tantrums.
Parenthood is about protecting your child. Being a parent to a special needs child, protecting the child then becomes an even more important task, because one traumatic incident could mean many steps backward for any progress made in bridging the child’s world with the real world. One might as well try to take a bite of a cub in front of a lioness. I support the parents’ decision not to meet Roy Ngerng. If I were them, why would I want to relive the nightmare of people drumming, shouting at the top of their voices while my autistic child was in close proximity? Why should I coordinate with your public “wayang” to win back support after I was the one who had to pacify my child screaming from a nightmare that night after the incident, or having to painstakingly explain why some adults behaved they way to my child so that she will not declare the stage off-limits forever in her life? It is too much of a heartache for the parents. I can empathize as a parent.
Han Hui Hui (who by the way is 22, probably has no CPF, and was not so long ago a Malaysian) should have thought carefully before she chose this CPF battle. She can’t speak for me credibly. She hasn’t been there serving NS. She hasn’t been there contributing CPF every month from her paycheck (does she even work?). She hasn’t joined the queue for a HDB flat or applied for a housing loan while staring at the figures after logging into SingPass. With no credibility, and then caught on camera acting like a brat at Hong Lim (sorry, that high pitched voice bothering on hysteria doesn’t quite cut it), she has only served to alienate herself from the rest of the sane civil activists, and the rest of fence sitters who are not fans of the PAP, but fervently hope for a better Singapore. We want to do it the right way.
I’d suggest she and her supporter learn from the Hong Kong students who have mastered the art of knowing how to behave themselves publicly so as to garner more support, and win public goodwill. This is after all, the 21st century. Let’s not act like brats or thugs. If we want to be taken seriously, we’ll need some poise.
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