Drama erupted at Hong Lim Park last Saturday when a rally headed by political bloggers Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng clashed with a YMCA charity carnival in a territorial dispute.
The altercation started in the afternoon when NParks director Chia Seng Jiang and various police officers requested Han to move their #ReturnOurCPF protest to a smaller space at the park due to existing fixtures with YMCA Proms @ the Park event at the main area. Han and Ngerng’s protest called for the reformation of the national social security savings Central Provident Fund system while the YMCA function intended to promote corporate social responsibility in an outdoor concert and picnic, featuring performances by various voluntary welfare organisations and Minister of Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck as guest-of-honour.
According to video footage, the political bloggers refused to move their rally, insisting on their right on having a prominent space for the protest. They were warned that a warrant of arrest would be issued should they continue with their event in the vicinity of the YMCA function.
The rally carried on at Hong Lim Park, with Ngerng and Han delivering fiery speeches that roused up the rallygoers, demanding for the return of CPF monies to the citizens. The protestors then defiantly marched around the park, even intruding the YMCA event and allegedly disrupting a performance by a troupe of special needs children. Some protestors even managed to get close to Minister Teo and voiced out their displeasure.
From all the images and video footage on social media, it doesn’t look good for the Hong Lim Park protestors who appeared rowdy and confrontational, politicising a charity event and seemingly frightening the special needs children. Various politicians and netizens have expressed their disgust and dismay over the turn of events, with Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin calling it a “total and absolute disgrace” in a Facebook post.
Ngerng and Han have hit back on the criticism and shared their side of the story. Both bloggers declared that they were framed by the mainstream media and insisted that they did not heckle the YMCA event attendees and performers. Han is certain that the authorities had conspired against the protest while Ngerng seems particularly unfazed and expressed pride over “making history” by protesting in front of a minister.
In a joint statement with NParks, the Singapore Police Force stated that investigations will be conducted regarding the incident.