Monday, December 31, 2012

Street Protest

I just want to share what an organized peaceful street protest looks like. 

18-Dec-2012. We were on Vancouver, West side, waiting for the bus when this street protest passed by us. There was police at the start, middle and end to direct the traffic (and even on the opposite lanes). There was also a public transport police car at the end to ensure that the buses, although delayed with the reduced traffic speed, would keep-in-line for the safety of the protestors. It was a long procession (I think it stretched between 2-3 blocks), causing a huge jam along the normally busy West Broadway, Vancouver, from Heather St to Yew St (if I remember correctly).

A street protest to save Hotel Rainier, 
a shelter for homeless women in DTES.

For those who would like to read more about the underlying trigger for the protest, Google for "missing women inquiry" and "serial killer Robert Pickton". Hotel Rainier was launched in 2009. I guess budget cuts are threatening its existence.

Of course, there were people who grumbled about the delay to bus services and the long time it took for them (trapped in the bus travelling behind the protestors) to arrive at their destinations. That said, the bulk of the complaints were related to the timing (pre-Christmas week), route (a road with busy traffic), size/method of the protest which contributed to the traffic jam. I guess implicitly, people recognized that although the issue (raised by the protestors) mainly affects the homeless poor females in DTES (Down-town East Side), it means that everyone shares the problem (or at least people had the decency to keep quiet otherwise).


Anyway, just a few thoughts with regards to what Singaporeans have surrendered over the years.
  • The right to protest peacefully to bring attention to issues of widespread/public concern.
  • The critical thinking faculty to recognize that "protest" does not equate "violence".
  • The "helicopter vision" to recognize that problems of the "poor" are not just the responsibility of the underclass to "shape-up or ship-out", but each member of the society shares a responsibility in the laws (and politicians) we support.
Will Singaporeans, and thus Singapore, change for the better in 2013? Your bet is as good as mine. [Click here for a prediction that echos my sentiments.]


  1. To the Blogger visitor who spammed this blog post in Thai, "I do not seen any new [item] both inside and outside Thailand. On the same link!".

    Just to let you know that there is such a thing as Google Translate, so I know that you've just tried to use my blog for free advertising to your products. I have not complained to Blogger to block your account, but rest assured that if you try it again, I will not hesitate to complain to Blogger. Just so you know, I am damn good at writing complaints (Singaporean trait perhaps), so I suggest that you don't try your luck.

  2. I took part in a union protest a couple of years ago in NZ, and no blood was shed.

    1. Hi CK,

      Thanks for the NZ perspective. I hope Singaporeans stuck on that little red dot realize the bullshit that the mainstream-media feeds them about "protest = violence".

      Cheers, WD.