Saturday, 27 September 2014

Hong Lim Park: Free Speech Gone Wrong 27 September 2014

Freedom of Speech Gone Wrong
The ugly incident at Hong Lim Park yesterday (27 September 2014) between Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng's supporters, and the non-profit YMCA has brought to light the ugly side of free speech.
Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng claim that as Singaporeans, they have the right to speak and hold events at Hong Lim Park. Unless the entire YMCA event is organized and attended by foreigners, I cannot see the logic of why Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng would deny the same rights that they are demanding for to fellow Singaporeans. The YMCA has as much right to hold an event at Hong Lim Park as does Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng.

free speech gone wrong hong lim park
As a Singaporean, I am dismayed that the Government of the day has become too concerned about perceptions that they have become impotent to taking decisive actions. Maybe it is a measured approach not to fan the flame of resentment amongst the "new normal" who think free speech is about name calling, rumour mongering and challenging the Government to sue them. But this approach does not square the those who had voted for a Government that will create a place in which any and all Singaporeans can organize and enjoy an event without being subject to abuse.
From the build-up to the incident on 27 September 2014, it is obvious that Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng were determined to disrupt YMCA's event for their own personal agendas. This is evident from:

- Han Hui Hui numerous Facebook "appeals" for supporters to come with their families and friends to stage their protest march
- her confrontational approach towards the YMCA organizers; and
- her attempts to politicalize YMCA's Charity Event

If such intentions were clear, why did the authorities not step in decisively to protect the rights of the other Singaporeans? In short, freedom of speech works both ways. If Han Hui Hui and gang demand that as Singaporeans they have the right to speak freely and use Hong Lim Park, they too should recognize the rights of other Singaporeans to speak and use Hong Lim Park freely.
While I am a firm advocate of free speech, I believe that it comes with responsibility and as such, as and when necessary, the authorities can and must step in when the exercise of one's rights infringes on the rights of others.

SG Leaks

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