A recording of the only public protest held in Singapore during the IMF-World Bank meeting in 2006. Shot and edited by Martyn See.

I'm not sure to be shocked or in a state of "I told you so" about the footage shown in the Speakers Cornered video. Wikipedia, the source of all web-tionary defines a Speakers' Corner as "an area where public speaking is allowed ... Speakers there are allowed to speak as long as the police consider their speeches lawful. Contrary to popular mythology there is no immunity from the law, nor are any subjects proscribed. In practice the police tend to be quite tolerant and intervene either when they receive a complaint or when they hear bad language." In Singapore there's a physical Speakers Corner, "It was established by the government on September 1, 2000, at Hong Lim Park. The small park is notable for the presence of a large nearby police station. The Corner was established owing to dissatisfactions amongst Singaporeans who have few or no venues to air their public opinions. Only Singaporean citizens who have registered with the police at the police station are allowed to speak. Speeches are subject to national laws, for example, racial and religious issues prohibited. Speeches in the park are not televised or reported in the media." [thanks Wikipedia!] Free speech subject to the approval of the police, obviously very free speech..

The number of times random people in the video are heard yelling "POLICE STATE" is laughable, some poor woman that was obviously part of the speaking party was surrounded by a crush of what seemed to be police officers (really they looked like high school children) when she tried to take a step from the foot of pavement she was standing on. And everytime a reporter asked any of the obviously male police"men" a question, all you see is a defiant, belligerent scowl that's typically seen on a stroppy five-year-old child that's been told he can't have more lollies.

It's hard to understand why a country like Singapore that appears to the rest of the world to be a democratic, republican little island state, that someone in the video said was a "first-world" country, would have its police be so interested in what a small gathering of people had to say, and about disallowing the same small group of people (who were peaceful and didn't appear to be terrorists or anarchists) from dispersing from the area. What did they think they were preventing? With all the media that mobbed the small group of speakers (I think only two actaully gave a speech) and the wonders of the internet, what kind of censorship were they trying to achieve?

Do Singaporeans even care about anything other than themselves? There's never any visible signs of unhappiness or disagreement over global issues in the country. I'm not implying that loud, angry protests about any issue is effective, but some form of open, public discussion or voicing of views has to be present? IMF (International Monetary Fund), APEC, OPEC and other global meetings of abbreviated-ly named organizations never seem to stir any interest in Singapore. It's always business as usual. Do Singaporeans even care that their children's future generations might never know what a whale is if Japan keeps up her supposed "research" or that there might not be decent air left on the planet if some "super-power" countries see themselves as above regulation and flip-flop on the Kyoto agreement when they feel like it?

At this point, it looks like a big, big NO!

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