Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Maiden Speech at Hong Lim Park

It has never crossed my mind that I will ever speak at Hong Lim Park at all. Ever since its inception as "Speakers' Corner", I have never thought of going there to become a speaker myself.

I would actually prefer to "ambush" radio stations which have call-in programs once in a while. In fact, I have just done that a few days ago, calling in to 95.8 to talk about "protest culture". Why? Well, it really takes less effort and time to do so but the returns in terms of number of people I could outreach to, are pretty more in comparisons.

Making a speech face to face to your audience requires a very different set of skills. When the eyes meet, the challenge is to transcend your message deep down into your audiences' hearts. The atmosphere created, will be a direct product of your effective or ineffective interactions with your immediate audience. Calling into radio station will lack that direct emotional interactions with your audience.

The impact of a public speech can be a double edged sword. If the speaker is not skillful enough, the message may just be lost in the midst of boredom. It would be most advantageous to skillful and well prepared speakers to get their message across with long lasting impression.

However, you must first pass the first criteria, AUDIENCE. No matter how skillful you are as a public speaker, if you do not have any audience standing right in front of you, all effort will be wasted. This is the main reason why speaking in Hong Lim Park is not going to be attractive at all.

But my friend, Andrew Loh from The Online Citizen (TOC) has a different view. There could be a purpose in speaking up in Hong Lim Park if we organize it properly. As Singapore Netizens are very comfortable with typing away behind their keywords most of the time, it would be a good exercise for a change to get all bloggers and netizens down to Hong Lim Park and gather in real persons to listen to speeches. Besides, there is this one important topic that will affect many Singaporeans in time to come: Increase in Public Transport Fares.

Andrew personally invited me to speak at this TOC organized event. It will not be "just another event" by a civil group but may just be a real test of bringing in online "soft power influence" of virtual bloggers, forummers and netizens into the real life public sphere. It just reminds me of how I have stepped out of the comfort of virtual anonymity in 2001 to join WP and subsequently become more active in real life politics, ending up as an opposition candidate in GE 2006. It is indeed steep learning curve and character molding period for me personally.

Thus, when Andrew sent his invitation and stated that there would be three other (now four, including James Gomez) speakers speaking at the same event, same place, same time frame on the same topic, I really gave it a serious thought. This may be a ground breaking bridging exercise to bring online citizenry into real life participation in social-political concerns. We may just make it a new trendy culture for online citizens to practice their oracle skills once or twice a year at Hong Lim Park!

Thus my maiden speech at Hong Lim Park is set to go, with multiple purposes in mind. To encourage active REAL LIFE CITIZENRY, transferring active online citizenry to real life actions. To speak up on this dear topic that would most probably affect 60% or 70% of Singaporeans at large. Of course, for my own personal grooming, its about time to give some practice to my rusty public speaking skills. :)

See you there, folks. 13 September Saturday, 5pm to 7pm.

Goh Meng Seng

5 comments:

Abao said...

I wish you best of luck in this groundbreaking event by online bloggers. Unfortunately I cant visit on the day itself coz I'll be in Tekong.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the new freedom at the Speakers' Corner.

At the same time, be gracious to acknowledge those who had sacrifice their own freedom in order to get Singaporeans the legal right to speak & demonstrate there.

Anonymous said...

Remember to wear your party color for easy identification by your supporters.

tewniaseng said...

Though it is good to put up ideas,I don't think the govt. will give a damn.What they do is correct, what other people suggest is rubbish.That is why this issue of," you can cycle why I can't " came up !!

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