Speakers’ Corner: Hyde Park and Penang

Tota finds Speakers’ Corner in London to be a unique place where orators enjoy freedom of speech and immunity.

Speakers Corner, Hyde Park - Photograph: urban75.org

Speakers Corner, Hyde Park – Photograph: urban75.org

The Speaker’s Corner at Hyde Park is a unique place. It is synonymous with total freeedom of speech.

Every time I was in London, I spent Sunday afternoons there. The soap-box speakers there enjoy total freedom and immunity. Those who have a cause to support and those who have a message to deliver are there.

No one can force an opinion on you. Even flyers are held out on the palms of the distributer for anyone interested to help himself.

My last visit there was memorable. There was a sizeable audience for a Trinidadian speaker who was an interesting and engaging speaker.

I stood opposite a single unarmed policeman with folded arms while following the witty and at times provocative proceedings, the heckling and the repartee.

The policeman had a blank look on his face.

When I returned to Penang, out of curiosity, I went to the Speakers’ Square at the Esplanade.

The fear factor was evident. There seemed to be more Special Branch personnel lurking there than the audience.

What a difference from the Speakers’ Corner at Hyde Park!

Tota is the pseudonym of an occasional contributor to our Thinking Allowed Online section.

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2 Responses

  1. charleskiwi says:

    That is London, you can’t compare it with Penang or anywhere else in Malaysia, period. Not until the present regime is replaced.

  2. Ed G says:

    Once upon a time in Malaysia, a person who was deemed to be too publicly outspoken would be investigated for ‘God knows what reasons’ due to POLICE reports made by some POLICEMEN against him. Nowadays, that role has been taken over by pro-Government ultra-rightist NGOs with the laudable talent to derive some form of 3R flavours from anything said that they are not in favour of.

    Note: For the uninitiated, 3R is he short-form for race, religion or ruler.

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