From ‘Filipino group gets online flak over event’, article by Royston Sim and Amelia Tan, 16 April 2014, ST
The Pilipino Independence Day Council Singapore (PIDCS), a group of Filipino volunteers, put up a post on Facebook about the event last weekend and drew fire almost immediately. Negative comments from Singaporeans flooded in, with Facebook page “Say ‘No’ to an overpopulated Singapore” urging locals to protest on the PIDCS page.
The page, which has 26,000 “likes”, is against the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day here and said that festivities should be confined to the Philippine Embassy compound.
It took issue with the PIDCS for using the Marina Bay skyline in a logo for the event, which is meant to celebrate the Philippines’ independence from Spain on June 12, 1898. It also opposed the PIDCS using the terms “two nations” and “interdependence” in posters for the event.
The PIDCS decided to take down the Facebook post after it drew hundreds of anti-Filipino comments, with many slamming the PIDCS for holding the celebration in Orchard Road.
…Ms Cecilia Lim, 28, a self- employed Singaporean, felt some of the online comments were excessive. She said: “People should have the right to celebrate their independence day if they are granted the permits, just as we celebrate Singapore Day overseas.”
This weekend, Filipinos will be celebrating another holiday that most Singaporeans are unaware of, and it’s apt that in the light of the online kerfuffle over their Independence Day, 19 April 2014 (Saturday) is known as BLACK SATURDAY. PIDCS intend to celebrate Philippine Independence Day on June 8th, which happens to be a SUNDAY. I’ve been to Orchard Road on a Sunday, and to me, it doesn’t make a difference if it’s Independence Day, Black Saturday or Ninoy Aquino Day, it feels like crowds of Filipinos are ALWAYS celebrating something on Sunday anyway, whether they’re having a roadside picnic or dancing outside Ion. With Orchard being the default Pinoy haunt, it’s just going to look like any other weekend really.
The first reported celebration of such a holiday took place in 1946, where ’100 representatives from all communities’ joined with hosts ‘Mr and Mrs Anciano’ at a cocktail party at the Far Eastern Music School. Philippine ‘Independence Day’ then was in reference to the formation of the Republic, when the US granted the islands full independence (4 July 1946). The number of Filipinos then in Singapore hovered around the 500 mark. Today, that’s the estimated number you’ll find in the stretch between Lucky Plaza and Ngee Ann City alone on a Sunday. According to the website ‘Positively Filipino‘, the number has risen to almost 180,000 in 2013, with 100,000 of those as professionals and executives.
Later in the 50′s, participants dressed in their national costumes to attend church, and began having outdoor picnics at places like Pasir Ris. In 1962, the date was changed from 4 July to June 12, the date when General Emilio Aguinaldo led the revolution for independence from the Spanish in 1898. At a Hyatt hotel reception attended by bigwig PAP politicians like Richard Hu and S Dhanabalan in 1987, guest performers from the Philippines sang ‘lusty’ renditions of the national anthems of BOTH countries, a typical Pinoy gesture of warm, fuzzy diplomacy. More recent celebrations include song-and-dance festivals at the Singapore Art Museum and Hong Lim Park last year. Hong Lim, ironically, being the same place where the people behind ‘Say No’ will be having a 1 May protest about 6.9 million people again.
Which means people, top PAP brass included, have been celebrating Philippines Independence Day in Singapore for LONGER than our very own National Day. Instead of voicing our displeasure at foreigners staking a claim over our motherland through the use of a MBS backdrop, the word ‘Interdependence’ or sitting around eating lechon (a Pinoy pork dish), how about proving how much you want to save the country from external influences by expressing your true love on 9 Aug, like trying to outdo the PIDCS event with a riot of national colours on 9 Aug, instead of planning a quickie overseas vacation like some Singaporeans would?
Filed under: 1940s, 1950s, 1980s, 2014, Festivals, Foreign workers, Fun and games, Orchard Road, Public holidays | Tagged: festivals, Foreign workers, Orchard Road, public holidays | Leave a comment »