S'pore student speaks his mind at Hyde Park

Singaporean student Poo Hoe Nong made the news this week in 1965, for his frequent appearances at Speakers' Corner in Lon-don's Hyde Park.

He reportedly went there nearly every Sunday for two years to hone his public speaking skills.

Mr Poo, who was in his 20s then, was "almost certainly the first Singaporean to confront Speakers' Corner audiences".

Perched on a soapbox, he would proclaim what a fine place Singapore was, or the correctness of Ma-laysia's stance on Indonesia.

His words were sometimes greeted with shouts of "rubbish" or "get back to China!".

Mr Poo would retort: "You are uncivilised...why don't you let me speak the truth?"

He said he was not disturbed by the heckling.

"The crowd, though rowdy, is a friendly one," he said.

He moved to London in 1960. The former Siglap Secondary student later took English courses at Marylebone College and a political science course at London University.

He remained in London and made the news again in 1985 - this time tragically - when he died after being stabbed three times in the back at a pub in London's Chinatown on Sept 29 that year.

The 42-year-old worked as an assistant assessor at a London property valuer and had a three- year-old son.

Three Vietnamese men in their 20s were accused of his murder but later acquitted.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 01, 2015, with the headline 'S'pore student speaks his mind at Hyde Park'. Print Edition | Subscribe