The Hong Kong govt was forced to back down over its plan for compulsory national education after massive public protests, apparently with students at the forefront.
It couldn’t happen here. Why?
1. ISA and various acts against peaceful demonstrations, protests and public assembly.
These are real deterrents for sure, because the people are afraid to get jailed and fined, and any potential protest leaders fear indefinite detention without trial, torture and human rights abuses.
But ISA itself is not the only reason. Malaysia has ISA too, yet tens of thousands of Malaysians took to the streets for Bersih.
2. More important than fear of ISA is the fact that Singaporeans don’t care.
They don’t care enough about topics like National Education. Why would one risk arrest for an issue one does not care deeply about?
Indeed, it’s hard to find a topic which Singaporeans care enough about. Even if it concerns our money (eg the Govt keeping our money locked up in CPF) it seems the people still don’t care enough.
If the people are bochap, it doesn’t matter what the Govt does.
The Hongkong protests highlight very clearly that peaceful public demonstrations are possible, even in a dense city. Hongkong’s economy has not collapsed, foreign investors have not been scared away, riots have not happened. It mocks the Singapore govt’s reasons for suppressing our constitutional freedom of assembly.
I wonder if any of our dear leaders want to engage in a national ‘conversation’ on freedom of assembly, and if so, whether they will just reiterate their positions with such unfounded bases.
Honestly, if the Singapore people don’t care, lifting bans on public assembly won’t lead to many demonstrations. The only ones who will demonstrate are the SDP… Perhaps that’s what PAP is really worried about?