Thursday, May 19, 2011

Civil Disobedience and the SDP

A reply to Teo Soh Lung's article on 'Civil disobedience and SDP'

The Temasek Review May 18, 2011 (source)

It's sad that Singaporeans have been brainwashed by years of PAP propaganda into believing that civil disobedience will destabilize Singapore and lead to social chaos.

Civil activism is part and parcel of politics everywhere else in the world except Singapore. What SDP practices is really mild compared to other opposition parties elsewhere.

The Malaysian opposition parties organized protests and rallies and they are proud of it. DAP which now governs Penang, organized a candle-light vigil last year in Penang to call for the abolishment of the ISA with two of its MPs being arrested by the police.

The Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan practiced civil disobedience too to protest against the Kuomintang's autocratic rule in the 1990s before Chen Shui-Bian came into power.

Street rallies and protests are a common occurrence in Hong Kong, but Hong Kong is more competitive economically than Singapore this year.

In March last year, a few thousand Hong Kongers marched in the streets demanding the govt implement minimum wage. It was passed in January this year.

Every year, more than 100,000 Hong Kongers will hold  candle-light vigils and protest marches across Hong Kong to commemorate the Tiananmen incident.

When will Singaporeans understand that they can never have full economic rights without first reclaiming their political rights from the PAP and in order to have political rights, they must fight for it. Civil disobedience is one of the many ways to fight for greater political rights.

Dr Chee is not wrong in advocating civil disobedience, but his thinking is well ahead of many Singaporeans then who are still hoodwinked and deceived by the state media.

SDP should not give up on pursuing human rights and civil activism. However, it must pursue it tactfully and not give the PAP-controlled media a chance to smear its name again.

Without having basic human rights, we can never have the full political and economic rights we deserve as citizens of Singapore.

The Workers Party can argue and debate for as long as it likes in the PAP-controlled parliament, but nothing will ever change!

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