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The Speakers' Corner was established on 1 September 2000 at Hong Lim Park. The idea of having such a corner similar to the one at Hyde Park, London, was first suggested by Senior Minister, Lee Kuan Yew during his interview with the New York Times in February of 1999. Various civil groups supported and welcomed the idea as it would encourage greater freedom of speech and democracy.
A focal point for political rallies in the 50s and 60s, Hong Lim Park was chosen over several other sites. The Speakers' corner is opened from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm to all Singapore citizens. Any subjects can be raised so long as they do not touch any racial or religious sensitivities. No licence to speak is required - speakers only need to register their intention to speak at the Kreta Ayer Neighbourhood Police Post and bring along their passports or identity cards as proof of their citizenship.
The first to take the stand was Mr Lim Kian Heng, aged 40. He spoke about the state of law enforcement in Singapore. All in all, 19 people registered to speak on that day.
Of Hokkien songs and personal tales. (2000, September 2). The Straits Times, p. 62.
Hear ye, hear ye. (2000, August 31). The Straits Times, p. 42.
Speakers Corner to open on Sept 1. (2000, August 11). The Straits Times, p. 3.
Speakers Corner at Hong Lim Park from August. (2000, April 26). The Straits Times, p. 1.
Spore "Not Ready for Speakers Corner". (1999, September 12). The Straits Times, p. 33.
Speakers Corner at Hong Lim Park Starts on 1 September. Retreived [n.d.] from www.gov.sg/sgip/Announce/Speakers.htm
The information in this article is valid as at 2001 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.