‘Hecklegate’ (credit to Daniel Yap) appears to outdo PM Lee’s NDR speech in terms of commentaries. Even more interesting are as many detractors as supporters of the protagonists are voicing their 2 cents in social media, quite unlike social media going to town with the NDR speech mainly as target practice.
One, where it involves ‘special needs children’, it looks good to brandish one’s credentials to stake a stand.
Two, Hecklegate provides the fitting excuse the Oppo parties and other anti-PAP individuals need to justify why the Roy & HuiHui show just doesn’t do it in their scheme of things.
Armchair Critics Aplenty
Let’s distil the key points that many armchair YouTube-cum-MSM witnesses have said with such certainty.
– No better place to start than the mainstream media.
Heckling is ‘interrupting (someone) by shouting annoying or rude comments or questions’ (Merriam-Webster). Editors relied on their rookie reporters to report but ‘heckle’ was the editors’ word choice – for reasons best known to themselves.
Yes, the Roy & HuiHui march was noisy. But watch the different videos circulating, where was the heckling?
– The PAP Ministers
Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin: “I am appalled. We now heckle special needs children? Vile. Total and absolute disgrace.”
Tan’s behaviour and remark best represent the PAP’s default mode in matters political – quick to judge and damning in self-righteous denunciation when the anti-PAP side gets bad press but deafeningly silence when one of their own falters. Tsk tsk.
To readers suitably impressed with Tan, please connect the 2 dots; Philippines Independence Day Celebration & Hecklegate. Tan was the minister who first shot at his own fellow citizens from the first sign of citizens’ objections – without thinking through the patriotic angles. Our newbie minister used choice words on us, didn’t he? But foreigners cheating citizens of jobs with their fake degrees are exempt. No accomplished ministers since 1965, let alone a newbie with zero to show for, ever labelled fellow citizens (not political foes) as ‘bigots’ and, now, ‘vile and absolute disgrace’.
A true leader in the making, or a dangerous self-righteous narcissist more suited for the priesthood?
– Opposition-linked Critics
As observed, Roy & HuiHui duly obliged them with an excuse they were itching to use to distance themselves and not lose the middle ground whence the votes, the real fight for political power resides.
– Mr Brown’s
…29 Sep posting suggests that Brownie cross-checked his ‘Hecklegate’ info source with only a posting by an unverified ‘YMCA volunteer’ at Proms. Perhaps his parental protective instincts for his autistic child reflexively kicked in pronto. Understandably so.
But rushing in, he did himself and Singaporeans little favour in not weighing more evidence as Shah Salimat did in sg.news.yahoo.com/comment–various-accounts-of-cpf-protest–heckling–tell-a-different-story-103557790.html
‘Elementary, my dear Watson.’
Here’s one observation that appears to have been completely overlooked. Check out this or any other video showing protestors marching past where the stage was < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HKpNvzt33c&feature=youtu.be>.
Notice 3 things;
One, the protestors walked a fair 10m (?) distance, from the stage, near the pillars supporting the sunshade. Shouting, unless in constant unison, would be ineffectual given the distance.
Two, during the first marchpast, the stage was bare, devoid of any children.
Three, HuiHui and Roy held a mike each, in her right and his left hand. No loud hailers blared directly at the children preparing to perform. You got it! The noise that the duo made was amplified via speakers a good 40-50m away from the stage. Indeed, the YMCA emcee’s voice was much louder as his speakers were nearer with one facing stage-ward.
So, whose voices from which microphones were more likely to alarm the kids, if in fact they were alarmed as alleged?
NParks claimed the kids were ‘traumatized’. Strange then, that no one finds it necessary to medically-certify their traumatized condition. Strange too, that Teo Ser Luck didn’t think it serious enough not to halt his selfie routine with his happy, happy face. Or, yeah, maybe grab a mike to influence the tone of the encounter there and then. S$mil leadership, anyone?
An On-site Eyewitness’ View
To analyse better, start from what happened before the actual events.
– When I first read HuiHui’s 26 Sep appeal at TRE < http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/09/26/pap-grassroots-plan-to-distupt-cpf-protest-on-sathurday/>, my red flags instinctively shot up. She wrote about ‘PAP grassroots…5000 people coming…4 grassroots leaders came out and negotiated with me…event was supposed to be on Sat 10 am…when I asked for the event organizer to come out, they refused and demanded…’ and then, in contradiction to her earlier stated time, ‘their event will start at 4 pm’.
Sorry, young lady, this old hand believes for such serious matters, one must ‘verify, verify, verify’ one’s info before presenting it for public consumption. But her language shows up her combative stance camouflaging a plea for that illusive bigger audience size.
I was happy to learn then that TRE editor was ‘calling Leong now to find out what’s going on’. And happier still his action showed up HuiHui’s appeal to be ulterior motive-written more than fact-based < http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/09/26/2-major-events-clashing-at-hong-lim-park-on-27-sep/>.
– Next, her videoed encounter with NParks director. Sure, she showed her gumption but, in doing so, humiliated the civil servants doing their jobs, professionalism wanting notwithstanding. Which would advance her cause; winning civil servants over to her side (for future considerations whilst gaining respect from new audiences) or continue to feed the frenzy of her loyal protestors?
– The marchpast ended, the speeches began, I moved around to feel the ground. Many young volunteers watched the performances with their charges sitting beside; mostly physically infirm, elderly or Down Syndrome children/adults. Probably (hey, Mr Brown), no autistic kids, going by YMCA own info < http://www.ymca.org.sg/Web/main.aspx?ID=,df37fa6f-e5c9-40a9-ba3b-780b781fb751>
– I hung around the funfair-like stands offering games, airbrush tattooing etc. Of course, I had to support their efforts, rewarding myself with free popcorn (salted, not sweet).
– Speaking to a 40ish gentleman in his wheel chair, he said that instead of accepting YMCA’s invite, he preferred to join the protest. He declined my offer of popcorn.
– Then I stationed myself (on my bicycle) at the tent that was allegedly set up to block the protagonists’ stage performance. Amongst other observations, my most vivid images were the fierce, gangster-like Roy’s facial expressions, bulging veins in his neck as he shouted into the mike, the militant tone, words HuiHui uttered, the amateurish coordination in their free-flow speaking-cum-singing-cum-chanting ‘speeches’. Call me shallow, but sorry, The Rolling Stones can grace the stage in their jeans and tees, looking darn classy. But Roy et al on stage looked like a raggedy, ratty, rowdy bunch of disorganized rebels – albeit rebels with a just cause.
– The sad part for me, keen on the Change we Must and keener to end PAP’s dominance, is that the audience remains the same die-hard anti-PAP clique mostly males in their >50’s. How will the middle ground, middle-class fence-sitters, marginal status quo supporters and the ignorant/mal-informed be ever persuaded to attend, never mind won over by this team of dedicated warriors?
The thought that struck me there and then on reaching HLPark was how the unexpected YMCA Proms and ReturnOurCPF events presented a Godsend opportunity for the Roy & HuiHui cause – one they cluelessly squandered.
Look, it wasn’t ‘the other side’ that was in control of the turn of events. YMCA had a fixed programme, a contractual obligation to their corporate sponsors, volunteers and beneficiaries. The last thing they wanted was to start a skirmish with political overtones either way.
Therefore, the impetus of the ReturnOurCPF was HuiHui’s/Roy’s to direct. If there was a more senior leader, perhaps he was resting with arms alternately folded or akimbo on a bench but inactive to lead the happenings.
What’s missed big time? The protagonists could have instructed every marcher to halt in front of the stage, sit down, watch and cheer the performances. Then, after 2 or 3 performances, went around shaking hands with as many attendees as possible with smiling faces and high fives. Aren’t these the ‘new’ audience to win over to your cause?
Once done, continue with their planned speeches. Will that not be heaping burning coals on Teo Ser Luck’s and PAP’s heads?
Instead of Hecklegate, how will the headlines look the next day?
Sadder still is how the same foolhardy approach continues post-fiasco.
Claims of ‘We had a groundbreaking protest and march yesterday but a few thousands Singaporeans turned up’ and ‘the volunteers and attendees to the YMCA’s event were also listening intently to our speeches’ encapsulate their dumbass, make-believe approach.
Here’s the actual crowd size for you; I first counted 50, estimated a 50-strong cluster, counted the number of clusters then multiplied that number by 50. Doing so 3 times Saturday, I could only count 20 clusters or 1000 attendees max. Perhaps another 200 +/- came and went between 1700 to 1830 hours. And my slow cycle-cum-circling the field told me that Proms invitees overwhelmingly ignored the shouting that counted for speeches. Not even weak applause or nodding heads originated from them.
‘Groundbreaking…a few thousands Singaporeans’? – You are imitating the misleading modus operandi of the Straits Times, the very enemy you abhor?
Saddest of all are the allegations and innuendoes of YMCA colluding with PAP. Any simple analysis will show that Proms has been a non-political event all these years. Why alienate more voters?
Continue on this trajectory and hurt not only your cause but also those who want the Change we Must. PAP will milk dry this and new ones waiting to happen, linking Roy et al to the Opposition to turn middle ground voters to stay with the devil they know than the rowdy troublemakers they see.
Roy & HuiHui, I admire your dedication and support fully your cause. But time to THINK & CHANGE – which is my key intention for the forthright views here.
Your Cause so Just deserves a Leadership as Judicious.