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PIDCS Event: Dialogue between organisers and protesters best way forward. REALLY?

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After I read what Ravi Philemon, a member of National Solidarity Party, wrote about

“Dialogue between organisers and protesters of Philippine Independence Day celebration best way forward”

I just can’t help thinking there’s something wrong somewhere. I also have this nagging feeling that Workers’ Party is doing exactly what, my friend Chris K wrote, ““Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”.” (Napoleon). Hence, my response below…at the risk of offending some opposition members….


Mr Philemon,

I don’t doubt your good intention, taking the initiative at its face value.

However, the idea begs a few relevant questions;

1. No less than the PM himself has declared that “We must show that we are generous of spirit and welcome visitors into our midst, even as we manage the foreign population here. – LHL”

If the BOSS himself declares that to be so, it has to be so, no?

2. So, you claimed ‘you knew of some of these protesters’. I have no doubt about that, too. How many? What proportion do they represent of ALL the protesters? I doubt if anyone has made a count. So, how many actually ‘protested’, if we go by social media, and how many of these protesters’ views in some websites have been, eh, deleted?

Anyway, we have the BOSS himself declaring that it’s only a ‘few trolls’. Perhaps, asking his office for the contacts of those ‘trolls’ can be a good start – given that the trolls ‘led’ the protest?

3. Cutting to the chase, a final question: The fact of the matter is that there appears to be uncountable numbers on both sides of the divide amongst S’poreans (yeah, that appears to be how we have evolved as ‘one united people’ under current leadership) and quite a chunk in the middle or without any view either way. So, even the protesters or supporters cannot claim to represent the majority view.

Isn’t there such a thing as The Law in operation here in Singapore? And isn’t The Law of Singapore there to be the supreme arbiter of any disagreement for anything to do within its jurisdiction including what is clearly ‘a public gathering’?

Therefore, no need to waste any time & effort, the PIDCS as organizer should just proceed with whatever they decide to do or not to do when and where they want it done. THIS IS A GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO LET OUR PINOY GUESTS KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS SINGAPORE AND, HERE IN SINGAPORE, IT IS THE LAWS OF SINGAPORE THAT DECIDE ON MATTERS PUBLIC & PRIVATE IF THERE IS A DISPUTE OR DIFFERENCE IN UNDERSTANDING.

Some countries have laws but they operate differently. Yes, we are not perfect. But never mind, on this PIDCS issue, just proceed per the current provisions under our law.

Oh, by the way, in case the PIDCS think it helps their case, they can submit as evidence that the PM, our highest office in the land, has come out in support of their celebration event. It’d be great to see if he or what he says is above the law.

Therefore, absolutely no need to set a precedent to negotiate a matter such as this. Let the Law be supreme. Ravi, are you sure you want to be on record as someone who sets the precedent that, in Singapore, everything is negotiable?

Respectfully yours,


Monday, April 28, 2014

Dialogue between organisers and protesters of Philippine Independence Day celebration best way forward


Last week, I felt concerned enough about Philippine Independence Day celebration saga that I wrote to the Philippine Embassy saying that I am sorry for the harassment the organisers have gotten, but that I also believe that there is some level of miscommunication and cross-talk between the organisers of the event and those that protest (at least some).

I assured the Philippine embassy in Singapore that the protesters do not mean ill-will to the people of Philippines and that they appreciated the contributions of the Filipinos to our country. I expressed that the protesters’ frustrations were more about the immigration and manpower policies in place.

In the email I said that I knew of some of these protesters and asked the Philippine embassy if I could facilitate a dialogue between these protesters, and the organisers of the celebration. I believe such a dialogue would be a win-win for both the organisers of the event as well as the protesters, as the organisers would be seen as engaging the protesters in a rational manner, and for the protesters to clear any misunderstandings and bring their concerns across.

I reiterated that it is very important that the people of our countries remain good friends, and for that I believe there has to be better communication. I expressed that I believe that this proposed dialogue could be one means to that.

The Consul from the Cultural Section of the Embassy of the Philippines replied to my email thanking me for my interest to be a bridge between the protesters and the Committee. They said that they will refer my offer to the Committee with a recommendation that they contact me directly.

Even if I don’t end up facilitating this dialogue, I hope such a meeting will take place so that both parties can better understand each side’s position better and to explore how to accommodate each other.


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