Confessions of a coward on World Consumer Rights’ Day

Posted: March 18, 2008 in Uncategorized

Like many other Singaporeans, I did not participate in the protest last Saturday. Don’t get me wrong. I do feel strongly about the issues. But on the day itself, I did not don my red shirt and join the ranks of brave protesters.

Yes I feel guilty. And no, telling myself that I am not alone in playing truant from exercising our constitutional rights does not make me feel better. But let us not beat ourselves up over this. We may not be the titans; the shakers and movers of this movement, but there are ways the little people can contribute.

I understand, and others do too, that not everyone has the rare courage to stand up to an oppressive regime. BUT, that doesn’t mean cowards like me can’t do anything to help the cause. There are plenty of things we could do to help advance democracy in Singapore.

Yes, without going into the streets to protest if you are too afraid to. Here are a list of things ‘passive protesters’ like us could do:

1) Support SDP and other activists through donations. SDP has listed their bank account number on their website ( You can just go to the bank and deposit money into the account. Without revealing your identity too, if you are uncomfortable with the idea.

The SDP and other activists sometimes hold indoor forums (which are 100% legit by the way). You may approach them during such forums and make your donation then.

2) Buy Chee Soon Juan’s books. You can find a list of his books on the SDP website. Currently, Kinokuniya and Select bookshop carry his books. Sometimes, during those indoor forums, they have a little stand selling the books too.

Buying his books not only help them financially, it is also a good way to help spread the message of democracy. After you are done reading them, pass the books around to friends and family members. And if you are feeling generous, buy several copies of each title. Wrap them up and give them away as presents. There are too many Singaporeans out there whose minds are poisoned by the Straits Times. They deserve to hear the message of democracy too!

If you are too afraid to march in the streets, surely you can support the cause by buying his books. That is the least we can do. I would also like to add that JBJ’s ‘Hatchet Man of Singapore’  reveals the travesty of justice in Singapore and provides insight into the workings of a PAP controlled judiciary.

3) Spread the message within the heartlands. You may have friends, neighbours and family members who believe the PAP’s anti-democracy message and still have not heard the SDP’s message of democracy. Talk to them! Answer their queries as best as you can.

If they have questions too difficult for you to answer, show them the world of the World Wide Web. The SDP website, various forums and blogs are good sources of information not available through the PAP controlled media.

4) Exercise your votes in a responsible manner. Vote Opposition! I know there are fears that votes could be traced. My answer to that is: So What? Thousands of voters voted for the SDP. Was there ever a mass arrest of thousands after the election? It has been nearly 2 years since the last election. If any individual voter was threatened or discriminated against, the forums would be rife with stories already.

I can understand fears about protesting openly in defiance of police orders, but if you do not even dare to vote according to your conscience, there is no hope. No hope for you, your loved ones and democracy.



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