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Monday, Sep 29, 2014

Singapore

Teo Ser Luck demands apology from Roy Ngerng over carnival disruption

AsiaOne | Monday, Sep 29, 2014

SINGAPORE - Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck has asked blogger Roy Ngerng to apologise for disrupting a weekend charity carnival at Hong Lim Park.

Mr Teo dismissed Mr Ngerng's defence that the protestors, who were there to protest on Central Provident Fund issues, "didn't know what was going on on the stage" when they marched toward the charity event and started chanting.

"Does it matter? What you have done frightened these children! You spoilt the day for these children with special needs who were looking forward to an enjoyable outing! For sure you have to apologise and more!" wrote Mr Teo on his Facebook page on Monday morning.

Mr Teo was the guest-of-honour at YMCA's Proms @ the Park carnival, which was held on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Ngerng and another blogger, Ms Han Hui Hui, had organised a protest on CPF issues at the park, coinciding with the charity carnival at the same venue.

According to a joint statement from National Parks (NParks) and the police, the two events had been allocated different spaces at the venue, one at each of the park's two lawns.

However, Mr Ngerng, 33, and Ms Han, 22 had led several hundred people on a march through the YMCA event, and allegedly heckling special-needs children who were on stage.

The protestors, some of whom were waving the Singapore flag, were chanting "Vote them out, PAP" and "Return our CPF", just as the children were about to perform a dance item.

According to reports, some protestors also confronted Mr Teo. He later told The Sunday Times that he had to console one of the children "frightened by all the heckling".

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Ms Han said the group did not heckle the special-needs children on stage as many said they did.

Mr Ngerng also added in his post that he would write to YMCA to try to meet the children "and give my sincere apologies", but added: "YMCA might have been retooled for a political purpose at the protest."

Videos of the encounter have been circulating on social media and drew criticism from netizens.

Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong, who is from the Workers' Party, posted a clip of a previous performance by special-needs teenagers on Facebook, saying: "I can't imagine how anyone can jeer at any of them, whatever the cause they may be fighting for."

But Mr Ngerng held his ground, describing their action as "the most groundbreaking protest (here) since 1965" on his blog.

Police said they are investigating the disruption.

klim@sph.com.sg

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