The Singapore Police say the lobby area on Level One of the convention centre has been designated for civil society organisations to express their views.
Those intending to get their voices heard will first have to be registered and accredited with the IMF and World Bank.
The above excerpt from Channel News Asia.
Some might find the above news distasteful. Admittedly, this appears to sanitise the loud and chaotic nature of demonstrations, leaving the "civil society activities" somewhat neutered, almost docile, and surely artifical. Yet, I find myself in support of this move.
My reasoning is simple. A question - what is the primary motivator of demonstrations? Arguably, it is to bring about change to certain percieved inadequacies. How, then, do demonstrations help advance these changes? Two possible ways: indirectly by raising public awareness, or directly by engaging those who are in a position to enact change.
Singapore's handling of the IMF/WB meeting cuts off the first route, but also facilitates the second. By excising the most disruptive elements of protests, it is likely that [IMF/WB] people would be more receptive to reasonable voices.
Of course, my approval of Singapore's move stems from my severe disapproval of prolonged and unneccessary conflict. Often I think that protests are among the least effective ways to advance any cause. Surely, there must be clearer and more direct ways to effect change. This, however, is only my opinion. Now back to the topic.What is my conclusion, then? There can be no doubt that Singapore's proposal seems artifical. But perhaps a better word to use is clinical - a word which reminds us of the chlorine in the air, but also of the amazingly efficient, if sometimes unemotional, style that Singapore is known to be.
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