• Tue
  • Oct 21, 2014
  • Updated: 2:03pm

Filipinos forced to cancel Independence Day celebrations in Singapore after campaign of abuse

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 4:41pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 10:26pm

Organisers of a Philippine independence celebration have dropped plans to hold it in a busy Singapore shopping district after an abusive campaign by online commentators opposed to the event's venue.

The Philippines marks its 116th year of independence on June 12 and a group of Filipino residents in the city-state had initially planned a commemoration event on June 8 at a mall along the busy Orchard Road shopping belt.

But in a statement yesterday, police said organisers, the Pilipino Independence Day Council (PIDC), had withdrawn their application to hold the event at the Ngee Ann City shopping complex.

"This follows police's advice that there are public order and safety concerns with the venue proposed by PIDC," police said.

It said the organisers had been advised to hold the event at alternative locations, including a free speech park and a convention centre.

Online commentators, mostly on local websites and Facebook pages, have heaped racial abuse and attacked the choice of venue.

Critics posting on ultra-nationalist blog The Real Singapore have characterised the commemoration of a foreign state's independence day at the centre of town as an example of foreigners overstepping their welcome.

An article on The Real Singapore said the event undermined "the significance of Singapore's own independence as a sovereign state".

Gilbert Goh, an employment counsellor and vocal critic of the government's immigration policies, yesterday cheered PIDC's decision to withdraw plans to hold the event at Orchard Road.

"Well done Singaporeans, power to the people!" he said in a post on Facebook.

Last month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong condemned the "thuggish" campaign against PIDC, led by Goh and other online commentators.


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This article is now closed to comments

In the past weeks many fearful foreign domestic helpers in Singapore have been wearing T-shirts with the logo "I love Singapore"...
Can't blame the Singaporean when we're just as bad, both places are swamped.
Gilbert Goh should be Singapore's PM rather than the lacklustre Lee Hsien Loong who's too useless to defend Singapore's interests.
So are you suggesting that xenophobia is a "Singapore's interests"?
It has nothing to do with Xenophobia. No country in the world except Philippines would break basic diplomatic protocols to celebrate their own Independence Day or National Day in foreign countries PUBLICLY. Not even the almighty Uncle Sam would do that. Most of the time, diplomatic missions will only hold receptions in their embassies compound or hotel for invited guests only. At most, they will celebrate their country's "cultural day" in foreign countries in public places. Why Philippines so special? How would you feel if China is to celebrate their Independence Day on streets of Manila, flying their flag there and singing their National Anthem? Or just celebrate their Independence Day on the disputed isles and islands?
PIDC has committed offences in previous celebrations by displaying their National flag and emblem publicly in Singapore which is forbidden by law without special permission. Most important of all, PIDC has been very insensitive in its promotional brochure and design, putting graphics of Philippines Flag and Army on the photo of Singapore skyline and iconic landmarks. Are you celebrating your conquer of Singapore? And your Independence has absolutely nothing to do with Singapore!
When you are in Rome, do what the Romans do. Do not try to trespass our sovereignty or break our laws. That's just basic fundamentals of being a guest in foreign land.
Goh Meng Seng


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