May Day Rally: A personal appeal from John Tan

30 Apr 07

As I am writing this, Dr. Chee and Ms. Chee are probably walking along the streets of Hougang or Eunos. On May Day, they will be arriving at the Speaker’s Corner at about noon to address gatherers.

Our purpose for this event is to commemorate May Day by highlighting the plight of the workers in Singapore in juxtaposition to the incredulous pay raise the already rich ministers are giving themselves.

Some of you might have wondered what a walk such this can accomplish. After all, many had spoken and blogged on the issue, whereupon the ruling elites, in their usual manner, had chosen to turn a deaf ear to the citizens and bulldozed their self-serving policy through.

It is true that a two-person walk would not add much voice to what had already been said. But a 500-person walk would. The ruling party knows the power of a people united. That is why they use undemocratic laws to curb peaceful assembly.

Fortunately for us, there is yet no restriction to the number of people who can assemble at the Speaker’s Corner. Therefore, I urge all of you, who want to make your voice heard, to be at Hong Lim Park before noon this Tuesday (May Day). There is more than enough space there for 500 people. Make full use of the last remnant of your democratic rights before the day comes when even that might be taken away.

You must have heard this humorous story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but instead Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about this, because it was Everybody’s job. When Everybody thought Anybody could do it, Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

The joke might be old and moldy, but its relevance is timeless. If Everybody only wants to stay home and wait for Somebody to put up streaming video clips of the event, guess who will be there at the event? No prize for guessing that trusty Nobody will show up. So, if you are Anybody, I urge you to be there.

Let us shout to force the attention of our uncaring government. Let us rattle their beds in which they slumber while we, the Singapore Workers, slog our lives away.

See you there,
John Tan

p.s. Dr Chee’s books & SDP’s T-shirts will be on sale at the rally @Speakers’ Corner on 1 May 2007.

“In every era, there are always those who will struggle for freedom. These people play a difficult role, their paths are paved with pain and loneliness. Their own generation will not accept them. In fact, they will be rejected, bullied, humiliated, imprisoned and even killed.

These freedom fighters plod along a narrow path. But in the end, those who follow will widen the path into a broad avenue.”

— Shih Ming-teh, former Taiwanese political prisoner detained by KMT’s Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo for 25 years

(Above quote taken from Dr Chee Soon Juan’s book, ‘To Be Free: Storied from Asia’s Struggle against Oppression’, published in 1998.)