soulgroovesg attended "Ministerial Forum 2006: Is Censorship Relevant in a First World Singaporean Society?", where Dr Balaji Sadasivan, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & Information, Communications and The Arts, was the speaker.
Gayle Goh drops by Hong Lim park where the Chee protest/face-off is happening and speaks to Gandhi Ambalam of the SDP about censorship and "bravery". Oh and she also gets videoed by a handsome police officer.
I turned around to find myself face to face with a young chap holding a big big video camera, only a few metres away from us, directly and very obviously filming the interview (there was no one else in our vicinity and he had the equipment pointed straight at us). I gave the camera my most brilliant smile and waved in several different poses. Then I whipped out my own camera and snapped this:
(see photo above)
...and after a few moments, he wandered off, now apparently filming the greenery at Hong Lim Park. I turned back to the interview, dismissing any discomfort with amusement, and we continued.
yawningbread writes about "how we delude ourselves about what a wonderful and efficient place this is".
I don't know how much we've spent on wooing the World Bank and the IMF to hold their annual meetings here, nor how much has been spent for fleets of limousines, the banquets, the tarting up of the city and the heavy (but in these times, necessary) security presence, but it must certainly be considerable.
And what have we got in return? Lots of bad press about how authoritarian, unreasonable and paranoid this place is, simply because we cannot allow Singaporeans to protest against the government, thus foreigners cannot protest against the World Bank and IMF either. Getting so much negativity in return for a massive investment of time, trouble and funds, is not exactly my idea of efficiency. Hosting this summit must rank as one of the most inefficient things we've done.
Sze Meng of Singapore Angle asks if there is impending crisis to our Singapore reputation from offending the international CSOs.
Yes, Singapore can argue that she has the right to enforce the blacklist because the foreigners are entering our country. Singapore can also argue that all foreigners must abide by her law not to hold outdoor rallies.
However, the more important question is whether the organizing committee should have a more well thought through strategy to deal with the international CSO and did the committee underestimate the CSOs' power to organize, advocate and influence the international community? However, as Singapore's economy becomes more connected to the rest of the world, her reputation is increasingly important. Maybe the Singapore Government has grown so used to docile local non-governmental players that it has forget there are individuals and organizations who will go out of their way (i.e. boycott an event after spending their time and resources coming to Singapore) to prove their point, even though it does not affect them.