Inspite of the rain, there was a massive turn out at Hong Lim Park on Sat, 16 Feb. The crowd would have been much larger if the weather was fine. The ground at Hong Lim Park was a flower of colourful umbrellas which spilled onto the side road pavements outside the park. The overhead bridge at the main road was packed with people. Even behind the tents, folks were standing there throughout the 3 hours rally, though they could only hear but could not see the action on stage.
It was a roaring support from S'poreans and our friends against the population white paper. The organiser reported a turn out of 5000 ! He had initially planned for 200. This shows that S'poreans are dead against the 6.9 million population by 2030 stated in the white paper. We have children to elderly seniors at the rally from all races.
Throughout the rally, there were shouts of "Reject ! Reject !" against the population white paper. Boos were heard whenever names of unpopular minister were mention. There were 12 speakers each touching on different aspect of how the white paper will adversely affect us and our country. Some of the key points mentioned were :
1) Govt should channel funds into building up and strengthening our social system instead of using the money to build more infrastructure to support a larger population of immigrants.
2) Govt has turn our home and country into a hotel.
3) How can the govt claimed to be listening to us and wanting our feedback when the white paper was NOT even brought up for discussion during the National Conversation !
4) The white paper should have focus on narrowing income gap and improving fertility rate instead of the same old flaw strategy of importing immigrants.
5) Govt should stop using failed policies which do NOT work to boost fertility rate as the fundamental difficulties of child rearing have not been looked into. For example, govt has just implemented the 4th round of baby bonus incentive, which only shows that baby bonus is NOT working as fertility rate is still falling after all these years !
6) Some express their sadness that they may have to grow old alone without their children by their side. This is because our next generation is likely to migrate to other countries as life in S'pore is so stressful, packed like sardines and not conducive to bring up kids.
There were many light moments. One speaker mentioned that it is not that S'poreans are not having enough kids, it is just that they are having lots of them overseas. The likelihood of these S'poreans and their children abroad returning to S'pore is low.
Then there was a play with the word 'motion' which other meaning is 'shit'. A speaker emphasized that the motion on the population white paper was passed in parliament and had the audience laughing.
The rally ended with a local artist leading us to sing our National Anthem. She got on stage with her 2 children. She told us that her kids asked her : Why are there so many people here and they seem to be angry ? She told them : They are here for you all.
I think she summarized the rally significant - we were all there for our future generation. We care for S'pore and do NOT want to see it ruin by self serving, power crazy politicians governing our country.