What we can learn from mass protests in Hong Kong

Protesters in the streets of Hong Kong, on July 1, 2019.
Protesters in the streets of Hong Kong, on July 1, 2019.PHOTO: NY TIMES

The unrest in Hong Kong appears to have no end in sight (Some S'poreans anxious about events, July 3. More clashes erupt in HK, July 15).

Singapore can ill afford such mob rule and we can learn some lessons from the mayhem in Hong Kong.

For one, tourism will be badly hit. Shop owners and employees in affected areas will suffer financial losses. Senseless street violence and disorder will undermine and cripple the investment environment in the country, jeopardising Singapore's status as a regional and international financial centre.

No government is able to manage a country flawlessly and meet all the needs and aspirations of its citizens. There will always be laws and regulations that will not be well received by sections of the population.

We have seen ugly scenes of riots and street protests to destabilise countries and overthrow governments. The world has become increasingly polarised.

Superpowers will not hesitate to engineer a regime change in countries that oppose them or whose ideologies are not aligned with their interest. Mass protest is one of the most effective ploys to accomplish that objective.

For years, Singapore has not experienced unruly demonstrations on the streets. We are thankful for that. Public dissent is generally peaceful. The authorities have also decisively stopped potential attempts to sow discord.

Isolating Hong Lim Park for protesters with the necessary permit to air their grievances is a stroke of genius.

Singapore must remain vigilant and not be deceived or lured into becoming lackeys for parties with malicious intent.

Offer constructive criticisms or opposing views if we must, but by legal and proper means.

Lim Kheng Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2019, with the headline 'What we can learn from mass protests in Hong Kong'. Print Edition | Subscribe