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The SDP celebrated its 35th anniversary yesterday with A Look Back at some of our contributions through the years.$CUT$
The exhibition took members and friends down memory lane from the point of our establishment as a political party to the present day.
Excerpts of a video made in 1996 (in which we presented the party’s alternative ideas and policies) was shown.
At that time, the PAP felt threatened enough to quickly ban the film and, two years later, amended the Films Act to prohibit the production of political films. This was during the pre-social media era.
The display also highlighted the years when the SDP fought for the rights of Singaporeans including the right to free speech and assembly. The effort contributed to the establishment of the Speaker’s Corner at Hong Lim Park.
While the SDP always saw the political rights of Singaporeans as the cornerstone of progress, we never lost sight of the fact that bread-and-butter issues were central in the minds of the average Singaporean.
This was why in the last 20 years or so, we repeatedly engaged the PAP on healthcare subsidies, took part in the Cost Review Committee, published a report on public transport, campaigned for minimum wage, spoke up against the CPF Minimum Sum Scheme, etc.
As a result, the PAP went all out to attack the SDP. Before the advent of the Internet and social media, the PAP had a free hand in painting the SDP as a confrontational and dangerous entity.
However, Internet platforms like Youtube and Facebook (introduced in the mid-2000s) allowed the SDP to present the truth of what we were trying to do. As a result, public perception of the SDP began to change.
In the last few years, we have put ourselves forward as a competent, constructive and compassionate party. Our alternative policy papers have crystallised these 3Cs that we strive hard to fulfill.
The exhibition also saw a panel discussion on SDP’s contributions to the political scene in Singapore. The speakers included civil society leaders such as Mr Alex Au, Mr Martyn See and Mr Jolovan Wham. (We will post a report on the discussion in a subsequent post).
But even as we look back at the proud history of the Singapore Democrats, we are mindful that we still have a mountain to climb in order to bring democracy to Singapore. But we believe that the party’s foundation will allow us to move confidently into the future.
For more event photos, please go to SDP’s facebook photo album.