Hri Kumar Nair promised to host a ‘honest’ dialouge session open to all where ‘hard’ questions would be dealt with. But all that changed when Kenneth Jeyaretnam and Roy Ngerng signed up. So much for constructive politics eh?
I first saw the event which was hosted entitled “CPF – An Honest Conversation: Public Dialogue with Thomson-Toa Payoh Residents” and I encouraged people with viable alternatives and suggestions for CPF to attend it. I called the event the closest thing we could get to having an “Open Discussion with the PM on CPF” which Roy called for. You can read my first blogpost here.
Soon after, Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Roy Ngerng, myself and few other supporters registered by accepting the online invitation which Hri Kumar Nair said was valid.
Many people doubted that they would allow Kenneth and Roy to participate in the dialouge, but they still did indicate their attendance. Usually dialogues in the past such as “Singapore Conversation” or “Talking Point” have all been strategically filled with pro-PAP individuals so as to avoid hard questions or rebuttals. In Singapore, we have no press freedom, thus it is only through dialogues like this that we have a chance to question the People in Power.
During the live televised debate of the Elected Presidency in 1988 where JBJ and Chiam See Tong questioned Lee Hsien Loong and Goh Chok Tong, the opposition MPs made the PAP MPs fumble and stutter. 1 After that debate, we didn’t have live televised debates on TV for a long time.
And as expected, Hri Kumar Nair has walked down the same path. This was what he did.
1) He edited the privacy settings of the event page so that no one could see who was attending, might be going or invited.
2) He deleted all posts from Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Roy Ngerng and other opposition supporters from the event page. But to keep it from looking too ‘clean.’ He allowed the posts of Abdul Malik, a supporter of the PAP to stay.
Here are two posts that have been removed.
And this is what the event page looks like now
Why remove Kenneth’s posts? It didn’t have any expletives and Kenneth said he was looking forward to an intelligent discussion. Aren’t Kenneth and Roy Singaporean Citizens who have CPF too?
And some netizens have said that Kenneth and Roy couldn’t attend as they were residents not Residents of Thomson or Toa Payoh. This is a misconception.
If you see the picture above, Abdul asks if residents from other parts of Singapore could join in, and Hri Kumar said that they could.
He also acknowledged this in a Facebook post
We don’t have transparency, freedom of information and press freedom. And now we have to face another ‘honest’ conversation where we will see a room filled with moderates or pro-PAP supporters. This is nothing but Propaganda.
So much for robust debates, hard questions and constructive politics.
To end it off, Hri Kumar (or his PR team) posted this status update
Technically, Kenneth, Roy and me are still registered as we indicated our attendance before Hri Kumar announced that registrations were closed. But we haven’t gotten any form of confirmation that we can attend, and our posts which indicate our attendance got deleted from the event page.
Looks like they’re not going to change their ways. But as I said in my speech last weekend, the secret of change is not fighting the old but building the new.
So lets build the new.
Mark this date on your calender – 21 June 2014
NSP has got the ball rolling with their first dialouge on the 4th of June and now let us all attend the forum organized by SPP on the 21st of June. And this time, even the most die-hard PAP supporters are invited, as long as you do have the intention of having an intelligent discussion. It would be a good chance to learn more, suggest alternatives and raise solutions too. All you’ve got to do is registerhere.
Let us build a new and free Singapore. They don’t let us into their forum? We create our own.
See you on the 21st of June!