Thursday, October 05, 2006

Public demonstrations in Singapore | vivocity

I did think of going down to check out Chee Soon Juan during the IMF, but never bothered. Partly because I was busy, partly because I detest him on a visceral, logically untenable level, but mostly because I'm Singaporean and if I was there, I'd die of embarressment. The embarressment would have come on two levels: for Chee, and for Singapore.

And I suspect that I wasn't the only one. Your average policemen finds it all quite embarressing too. We'd have all melted into a little red-hot puddle of embarressment.

I still mean to write something about it, concerning the historical geography of the place, but it'll have to be another time.

However, I was subjected to another public march 'n demonstration last Sunday.

Vivocity publicity demonstraters

I was driving and had paused at the Ngee Ann City junction along Orchard. There was a sudden influx of people in white t-shirts crossing, and I didn't think much of it till they stopped to form a circle in the middle of the junction.

Then they did a sort of clap 'n cheer that basically advertised for Vivocity.

Then they left.

Vivocity publicity demonstraters

It should be noted that they only formed the main circle after the bulk of the pedestrians had crossed, but as anyone who's been to Orchard on a Sunday can tell you, the bulk of pedestrians cross, and new bulks come along. There were a few irritated people trying to make their way through the circle.

Later, I saw the group head down towards Plaza Singapura. Clearly, they were prepared to repeat that stunt all over the city.

On one hand, that was a pretty cool advertising stunt.

On the other hand:

1. There were more than four people.
2. They were a public nuisance.
3. They were shouting.
4. They were guilty of being university-age students.
5. It was partisan.
6. Road usage comes under LTA.

What I want to know is this - how did they get a permit anyway?

[NB: This is not entirely nonsensical post. Originally, I posted it because I found it an entertaining form of advertising and because if I squinted a bit, it was almost like a public demonstration in Singapore, of all places. But after awhile, I got to thinking - how do you apply for permission to advertise/perform on the road?

Who owns the road? Who controls the street? In an academic exercise that I conducted some years ago, I predicted that ownership of the street would become an issue in time to come in Singapore. The laws just aren't up to it yet. ]


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