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The SDP May Day Rally: Four Afterthoughts

The SDP held its May Day Rally at the Speakers’ Corner yesterday, drawing a relatively modest crowd of between 100 to 200 Singaporeans (my estimate).

1. The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) seems poised to continue its methodology of churning out policy proposals (based, I suppose, on its manifesto from the previous General Election). A number of the speakers went into great lengths about healthcare and the SDP National Healthcare Plan, which I thought was a good continuation from its recent public consultation activities. The representatives also touched on important aspects about other relevant recommendations, and SDP’s desire to postulate necessary reforms.

These were – and will be – good moves, and I believe that this is a constructive strategy in the long term, especially if you take into consideration the reservations some Singaporeans have had (here) about the party’s methodologies in the past.

2. I was, however, less than impressed by the quality and structure of the speeches (I left after Dr. Juwita Rahmat’s speech, which means that I missed Dr. Vincent Wijeysingha’s).

I had two main gripes: first, speakers focused disproportionately (to drum up enthusiasm amongst the crowd) on the problems of the status quo perpetuated by the “policy inertia” of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), and thus there was a strange sense of déjà vu (it felt like the speeches and rallies from the 2011 General Election, especially with the comments made passionately by Dr. Ang Yong Guan); second, there was no synergy between the speeches and individuals (even though Dr. James Gomez did set the ground fairly well in the beginning), and I felt that Mr. Jufrie Mahmood in particular was just all over the place.

I was intrigued by the prospect of an education policy paper by the SDP, but Dr. Juwita’s speech was largely underwhelming.

3. I was intrigued by the prospect of an education policy paper by the SDP, but Dr. Juwita’s speech was – unfortunately – largely underwhelming. She tried to cover too much ground with her perspectives, her criticisms were not organised coherently, her delivery was sub-par (but I give her the benefit of the doubt, given that it was her first speech attempt on such a scale), and I heard very little about the proposed solutions, if there were any. I had high expectations because of her background (here), but she was far from impressive.

I am a huge fan of Sir Ken Robinson and his presentations (I have watched his videos umpteen times, and have quoted him in my essays at work). I might be wrong, but I thought Dr. Juwita might have directly lifted a number of his expressions in her speech; for instance, the declarative statement that “creativity now is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status”. But that’s just me and my over-sensitivities, perhaps.

4. Will the SDP continue with these rallies, and could it consider other platforms beyond the Internet? I’m not too sure if these rallies are the best way to communicate policy recommendations and proposals, especially if you take into consideration the aforementioned shortcomings. I liked the engagement, but the SDP could consider complementing future sessions with the installation of exhibitions so as to communicate their proposals in a more succinct and persuasive manner. I reckon the necessity for these introductions would only increase, as the party seeks to delve into more socio-economic issues in the coming years.

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.


6 thoughts on “The SDP May Day Rally: Four Afterthoughts

  1. And here you admit you did not stay to hear Dr Vincent Wijeysingha? Stop smearing SDP. We could never achieve political progress with ignorant youth like you. Open your eyes, Singapore needs to change and wrestle herself away from the evil hands of PAP and her cronies. We need more voices!

    Posted by Michael | May 2, 2012, 8:59 pm
    • 1. I appreciate your fallacious comment (for instance, how did you ascertain my “ignoran[ce]”)? Of what relevance is your first statement; are you implying that because I missed his speech I must have an hidden agenda (if you really need to know, I had to leave because it was drizzling, and I had a dinner appointment)?

      2. Do clarify how I “smear[ed] SDP”. What I did here was to provide an evaluation of the rally: I gave credit where it was due, and highlighted points for improvement. If you were there at the rally and you disagree, that’s perfectly fine; however, let’s have a discourse on the same tangent, and not on some generic, generalised accusation that has been rehashed time and time again.

      Jin Yao

      Posted by guanyinmiao | May 2, 2012, 9:08 pm
    • SDP does need more voices, but coherent and constructive ones, not people like you. Tell me how, with your comment, have you contributed to our political progress as a nation and help SDP boost their profile as a credible party? I highly doubt calling people ignorant or PAP’s cronies will do any good. If the writer is ignorant, educate him. If the writer is smearing SDP, tell him how better can he phrase his recommendations or provide some suggestions. Don’t do your incoherent war cry here.

      Posted by JY | May 2, 2012, 9:21 pm
    • Hi Michael

      Yes your voice has been heard loud and clear 😉 Without youths like him providing an open platform where *anyone* from the public can contribute your voices then that, is what that will bring about ignoran[ce]. Further, comments are published for *all* to see is in itself giving voices! And hey, you are welcome to start your own blog too, it’s free! But, maintaining it takes time and effort. How much of an irony it would be to be saying that he is “smearing” SDP when he is *also* giving SDP supporters like yourself the free platform for your battlecry here? 😉

      Posted by fivetwosix | May 2, 2012, 9:38 pm


  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 2 May 2012 « The Singapore Daily - May 2, 2012

  2. Pingback: The General Elections, One Year On: Craving For More Policy Discourse « guanyinmiao's musings - May 7, 2012

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