It has been two weeks since the much-hyped `Return Our CPF’ protest in Hong Lim Park. Since then, there have been no follow-ups, no action items and most importantly no queues forming in CPF offices of people demanding for their CPF be returned. On all account, the protest has been a total failure.
Firstly it has failed to attract significant number of people to the protest. At most 2000 people attended. Putting it in perspective, the total number of CPF members stand at more than 3 million. And on the day after the protest, more than 2000 people attended the vertical marathon. People are more interested to get fit than to have their CPF returned. And for the organisers to claim that 10000 people attended the protest just goes to show their own lack of credibility and integrity; accusations that they themselves have thrown at the government. They have asked for transparency but they can’t even be truthful regarding the number of people who attended the protest. 2000 people are not hard to count and yet they talked about wanting to know the details of CPF investment worth billions of dollars.
Secondly they have failed to put across viable alternatives to the minimum sum scheme. What do they planned to do regarding those who do not have insurance or any form of retirement plan? Do we just leave them to suffer in their old age? Do we ignore them and ask them to fend for themselves, living in cardboard shelters on the beach? Do we expect the government to assist them thus putting an increasing tax burden on the general population? Their lack of alternatives means that they simply do not understand the fundamental economics of governance which further undermine the credibility of the protest.
It is interesting to note that although, from its name, the protest is about the return of the CPF, the speakers talked mostly about transparency. This change of tack can be attributed to the realisation that most people are not interested to have their CPF returned. They have seen and enjoyed the benefits of the CPF and do not wish to be lectured by young punks who have yet to earn their spurs. Even this change of tack does not attract much interest from the general masses. Not many people want to know how their CPF is being invested. Not many people will understand. As long as they trust that their CPF is safe, they are contented.
The protest therefore was nothing but an exhibition of foolery and government bashings. A celebration for internet trolls to come together and get their dose of anti-government jokes. Those who attended would in no doubt be entertained by the speakers who mouthed popular anti-government slogans seen in election rallies, and the chance to be up close and personal with their current anti-government poster boy, Roy Ngerng. But there were no substance or clever ideas put on display. Even the crowd were seen to slowly disperse half-way through Roy’s speech. Seemingly not many people were interested to hear confusing facts and figures being twisted, spinned and regurgitated ad nauseum. They were there simply there because, well, they needed to be entertained on a sunny Saturday afternoon.