The evolution of the blogosphere has really been a boon for groups that have had their voices marginalised by the main-stream media. It could be due to a divergent or even radical (relative to the Government of the day) view of the political rights of the citizenery; or even groups that lead alternative (once again vis-a-vis most people) lifestyles.

I fully support this development. After all, why should one’s way of life i.e. sexuality, political views, religion etc. be forced down one’s throat unless that way of life seriously impedes another’s right to his/her own way of life? Therefore, it’s really disheartening to see activists shoot themselves in the foot in the way Singaporeans For Democracy (SFD) has done.

As reported in The Online Citizen (Absurd inconsistencies in SHRI’s administerial processes: link here):

Singaporeans for Democracy (SFD) held a closed door forum last Saturday, titled ‘LKY: liberal democracy will do us in. Will it?’ The forum featured the likes of Cambodian MP, Ms Mu Sochua; Malaysian MP, Mr Tian Chew; Former ISA detainee, Mr Vincent Cheng; and popular blogger/activist Mr Alex Au, speaking on democracy and human rights with a regional perspective.

However, the event, which was to have been held at the SHRI training room at The Verge shopping mall, became entangled in a predicament even before it commenced. The organizing team, who had arrived at their pre-booked venue to set-up, found security guards, a sign from the management saying ‘LKY: liberal democracy will do us in. Will it? at training room 9, Level 6 has been cancelled’ and glass panel doors at the sixth floor awaiting them.

Now, what was squeezed in one tiny paragraph amidst all the bitching by James Gomez was this:

In a later statement, Mr David Ang, executive director of SHRI, said that Mr Martyn See, executive secretary of SFD, did not specify the nature of the forum on his application and that he (Mr Ang) only came to know of the subject of the forum when he chanced upon a webpage advertising the event a few days earlier. He elaborated that SHRI’s constitution does not allow it to facilitate ‘events of a political nature’.

Maybe a simple analogy will help. Let’s say I own a restaurant that serves casual diners and you come in and want to book my restaurant to throw a party. I ask you what kind of party it is but you give a vague reply, saying it’s a dinner, and I accept the booking. Later on, I find out (through my own means no less!) that you’ve intended to throw a party that involves drunken teeangers and loud music which clearly goes beyond the type of occasion my restaurant is suited for, do I have the right to refuse your request even though I’ve accepted your booking beforehand? I think I do.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for activists being passionate about their various causes. I just think it would help their cause if they were more professional about it. This whole issue wouldn’t have arose if the organisers were more upfront about the type of forum in the first place. It helps even less when these activists hit obstacles due to their incompetence then start to cry foul. Sure, they might attract some more zealots that are vocal but ultimately, they’ll alienate more of the mainstream folks that see them as nothing more than whackos.

Case in point? Look at SDP’s popularity pre and post Chee Soon Juan tempering down.

Bear gives a blow-by-blow rebuttal of SFD’s stupidity. (link here)

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