Historically, Hong Lim Park was the first public garden, created by the Hokkien businessman and philanthropist, Cheng Hong Lim in 1885. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was the venue for many election rallies and political speeches. In September 2000, the Government designated the park as the venue of the existing Speakers' Corner. Abutting the park is the Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre and the Kreta Ayer Neighbourhood Police Post. The nearby Hong Lim Market and Food Centre has been scheduled for upgrading works. The hawker stalls will be relocated temporarily to Hong Lim Park grounds for about a year.
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Speak for yourself
There was a big event a few days ago at Hong Lim park on the hottest debate in town "The population white paper". I saw some photos of this event on Facebook and was shocked that some parents actually let their children carry posters with messages like "Should I migrate to make more space?" and "Your white paper sucks!".
I personally as a parent will not be making use of my children to deliver such messages. I understand that messages delivered by children have a bigger impact and more people would remember the messages. This is common for advertisements and a lot of marketing events. But using young children to deliver a political message and something that they would not even understand is not correct.
Parents, please speak for yourself if you have a message.
Hong Lim Park gained fame with the Speakers' Corner, a place where the man-in-the-street can have his say in our country. Supposedly.
It's nice that our Government gives us a whole park to rant in, but mandating a permit is sort of defeating the point of free speech, isn't it? Free speech should be just that - free, without any 'terms and conditions' attached. Only then can the Speakers' Corner fulfill its purpose of listening to the ordinary Singaporean. More importantly, it would be entertaining to watch too. Just look at all the anti-government sentiments rife in our online forums and imagine if just 1% of that rage ends up in Hong Lim Park. I have no doubt Hong Lim Park would not be the ghost park it is today if ordinary people were really allowed to stand up and speak their mind. At the very least, kaypohs like me would be making monthly pilgrimages there just to see real drama in our draconian city.
Besides the dubious draw of the legendary Corner, the park doesn't have much else to boast about. The amenities and landscaping there are pretty standard NParks fare that seems to denote our country's blind conformity to the establishment. To me, Hong Lim Park stands as a mockery of free speech in Singapore - You can speak freely, but only if we let you.
Speakers corner no more
As the official speakers corner of Singapore, I am disappointed that this park hasn't seen much activity in the past few years. I think many singaporeans, myself included, have inculcated in ourselves a fear of speaking out on national matters. With cases of opposition political members being taken to court for airing their opinion in a unlawful manner, hong lim park is now very much a quiet place devoid of any speakers.
With very few chairs within the park for casual visitors to relax, chill or have a picnic, there really is very little reason for anyone to visit here. If you have a tourist brochure which has Hong Lim Park in it, i'll advise that you give it a miss.
Where are the Speakers?
Hong Lim Park is, well is a park. It is really a park with just big patches of open space, a community centre, and the Speakers Corner. It is nicely located just behind Chinatown point, and probably the only green patch in the Shenton way area since high rise buildings are all around it.
In terms of facilities, there is nothing such as cycling kiosks. But there is an amphitheater contributed by the community club on the outskirt of the park. Other than that, it is just a park for people to see some green and walked around. There are probably some mass activities during weekends by the CC, but most of the time when I drove by, it is just quiet, and there is not even any people playing with kites there.
The speaker corner is probably the main feature of the park. Although it is mean to encourage people to speak up, a police permit is still required and approval has to be given to speak publicly. Then how can people speak up if approval might not be approved? I know it is meant to protect citizens from listening to nonsensical stuff relating to racial events or any other negative things, but I do believe that Singaporeans are mature enough to choose their own thinking.
A quiet park, with literally nothing.
nothing much to do on an average day
located near chinatown and clark quay mrt, hong lim park is convenient to get to but there's nothing much to do there at all. Hong lim park is home to the speaker's corner, however, both times that i have been to hong lim park, there was nothing going on at the speaker's corner.
To give a brief introduction on the speaker's corner, it is somewhere for singaporean's to openly express their views. If one has the intention to speak at the speaker's corner, he or she will first have to register with the relevant authorities before he can do so. I have never attended any one of these speeches at the speaker's corner, however, when there isn't anything like that going on at honglim park, it is a pretty deserted and uninteresting place.
The park is quite small and most of it is taken up by huge fields. There aren't any sports facilities save for a fitness corner. There's a stage area in the park, so the park is sometimes used as the venue for certain events. However, besides the stage area and a few benches, there's really nothing much else to do at the park. There isn't much greenery at the park either, and I wouldn't recommend the park for a jog or a stroll as it is right in the middle of town, surrounded by busy roads and shophouses. It also lacks the mood and the right atmosphere for a jog or a stroll.
Nothing much to do at honglim park on an average day, you would be much better off checking out the shops and the eateries in the vicinity.