So are political parties holding outdoor events dangerous? Well it depends on what party you belong to, it seems. If you were an Opposition party trying organise a mass cycling event at East Coast Park to celebrate your 50th anniversary, the Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs, Prof Ho Peng Kee will reject it because political parties are not allowed to use public places to promote their cause. And also because of public safety.
Prof Ho said to WP's Low Thia Khiang, "You may be well-behaving, but there may be other people whom you come across when you cycle who may stop you, may want to debate with you and that may attract a crowd, and therefore will result in problems the police want to avoid."
But if you are the ruling party organising a carnival at West Coast Park, you are totally no danger to the public. In fact, you are a delight to the spectators.
"Much to the delight of spectators, PM Lee and MPs like Mr Seng Han Thong made their entrance on bicycles at the PAP carnival at West Coast Park yesterday. Thousands thronged the park yesterday for the PAP carnival. Mr Lee and a host of ministers and MPs made their entrance on bicycles, much to the delight of the spectators." -Straits Times, September 1, 2008
-Opposition party cycling in an outdoor event: public danger.
-Ruling party cycling in an outdoor event: public delight.
I can totally see why the WP got rejected and PAP didn't. Firstly East Coast Park is more crowded, with more people who like to hold political debates with politicians on bicycles. East Coast people are like that, bloody liberals who like to discuss politics even in a public park.
Whereas the PAP event was held at WEST Coast Park, which has smaller crowds, and the Western Coasters are more conservative, and less likely to engage in political discourse with political parties holding carnivals there.
Secondly, research has shown that Opposition party cyclists are less competent on the bike, always weaving in and out of crowds and being a nuisance. Ruling party cyclists wear helmets and cycle at safe speeds. Look at how PM can wave to the crowds, that indicates he is traveling at a speed low enough for him to do that.
And thirdly, this is not a Political Party event anyway! Noooooo! It is a PAP Community Foundation Event. You know, PCF? The ones who run the kindergartens! TOTALLY unpolitical, ok?
So now you understand why one political party was allowed to delight the thousands riding at a public park and another was told to eat grass.
On a side note, I think it is cool to see PM riding a bicycle, with helmet even (hey, Seng Han Thong is on a foldie!), thereby promoting this healthy means of transport. Now if we can only find a way to make it safe for Opposition parties to cycle too, without endangering the masses.