Background Story: PROTESTERS SEEN HOLDING PLACARDS OUTSIDE THE ISTANA TODAY
TRS got in contact with the two men who were involved in the peaceful protest outside the Istana on Saturday afternoon and found out why they chose to do what they did despite knowing that they would be arrested. They shared that they wanted to exercise their constitutional rights and believe strongly that they have not disturbed public order.
Here is what they wanted to tell the public about their peaceful protest:
We are the two men who held the demonstration outside the gates of the Istana on the 4th April 2015. You can simply address us as X and Y. Our names are irrelevant, but not our cause. Martyrdom is not the goal. We apologise if the subject of the protest (Freedom of Speech for Singaporeans) was not very clear. It was intentionally vague so as to sidestep any unnecessary charges that could be pinned on us by the Authorities; such as Libel/Defamation.
The both of us are Singaporeans, and not FTs (as some of you have speculated). We do not represent any political party, nor are we affiliated with any groups/organisations. Who we are, are simply two men who believe there has been Injustice done towards those who offered a differing opinion and dared to raise questions considered to be “touchy”.
Let us clarify: We are not anti LKY. We take our hats off to him, and appreciate all that he has done for Singapore; giving his life in creating a “safe”, prosperous nation and environment for us to thrive in. However, for far too long, dissent has been dealt with very severely, and sometimes, downright inhumanely. We believe in Change, and correcting Injustice wherever we see it.
The defamation suit against Mr Roy Ngerng was ridiculous. He simply raised questions on the behalf of the citizens of Singapore. Instead of getting a proper, well structured reply from the relevant authorities, he was dealt with by a lawsuit, and subsequently fired from his job in Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Ruining a person’s life when he simply asks questions (not for his own sake, no less) seems to be the norm in Singapore. Is this not Injustice? Should we turn a blind eye to this?
We also refer to the action taken on Mr Amos Yee. While we do think that the commentary was vulgar, rude, and frankly, a little insensitive (given the time); we do not see the need for him to be brought to court. Any sane society would have challenged all his points based on the facts and opinions he presented (in the video), and negated the points of his arguments with sound logic and reasoning. Instead, we as a society has chosen to shy away from the difficult questions raised, and opted to cower behind the might of the SPF.
To be subjugated to arrest for airing an opinion (unpopular as it is) borders on the unthinkable. When someone takes office, they sign all rights to privacy away. They become a Public Figure, subject to the scrutinity of everyone. Such is the burden of representing the People. It is only logical that if tributes and praise flow free; so should criticism and insult.
Some have questioned us why did we not go through the “proper” channels (such as Speaker’s Corner in Hong Lim Park). The appointment of a “place to speak” seems as if the park was designated to be a “dumping ground” for dissent, masquerading as a “designated place” for “Freedom of Expression”. What Change was there to be had if this was the case? Why should Singaporeans be confined to the space of Hong Lim Park? Is this truly “Freedom of Expression” then? We think not. It is perfectly within our rights in the Constitution (Article 14) to hold a peaceful demonstration, anywhere in Singapore.
14.— (1) Subject to clauses (2) and (3) —
(a) every citizen of Singapore has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) all citizens of Singapore have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms; and
(c) all citizens of Singapore have the right to form associations.
The action that we took on the 4th of April 2015 was our right as stated in the Singapore Constitution. It did not cause disruption of the Public Order, defame anyone nor incited any form of civil unrest. We knew being arrested would be a given (and we were willing to shoulder that to make a statement), but the extent of it eluded us.
Following our arrest, we were detained for a day by the Police. Both of us were brought in restraints to our homes. Electronic devices like desktop CPUs and handphones were seized for investigation.
The right/wrong of our action, although open for debate, is not the point. The red we wore was to signify Change. So long as it sparked Singaporeans questioning what Freedom truly means to them, then our objective has been reached. Whoever is in Power (the ruling party) matters not to us; it could be the PAP, the SDP, or the WP. That is immaterial. What matters, is that they realise that we are ready for Change as a society. If you equate Freedom with wanton acts of violence and instability, then you are sorely mistaken and have missed the point entirely.
Alejandro Jodorowsky – “Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness.”
X and Y