Cycling is political

Cycling in Bukit Batok nature park
© Photographer: Jimmytst | Agency:

Cycling is itself political, and it would be futile to separate cycling from politics. The act of cycling itself is a political statement. Whenever we choose to ride a bicycle, we are challenging the status quo of the power structure in the society that favours the rich, powerful and privileged people who predominantly drive cars. We are subverting the classist system that treats cars as status symbols. We are helping to reduce the impacts of environmental degradation caused by pollutive motor vehicles run on fossil fuels. By switching from travelling by motor vehicles to bicycles, we are also easing traffic congestion on the roads. Last but not least, cycling empowers the marginalised and disadvantaged, and restores equality to them.

Then again, I am coming to realise that the moment I become more actively involved in politics, I begin to experience pushback in the form of repression and dissenting voices from some people. For example, last night when I shared a photo of a fellow countryman riding a bicycle in Love Cycling SG Facebook group and commented that he was living by example, the group admin deleted the photo. I decided to post a question in the group to ask the admin why the photo was removed. The admin deleted that post as well without explanation. This gave me the impression that the admin wasn’t interested in dialogues and was unwilling to be held accountable for their actions. I decided to post one final time to call them out for being discriminatory.

I also decided to leave the group with my dignity intact (remembering the importance about being true to myself and not succumb to groupism). I am in the process of working through my thoughts and emotions based on the responses to my post by articulating them in this blog:

If I didn’t challenge the admin like this and let things slide, the discrimination would continue. The fact that photos of ruling party members riding bicycles are allowed but not other party members shows this group is indeed partisan and discriminatory. It smacks of hypocrisy.

This episode underlines a fear-based climate and controlling culture that inhibits free speech and expression of our fundamental human rights. It keeps people repressed, small-minded and immature. I refuse to allow myself to be intimidated or humiliated or talked down at. I am hurt and disgusted by their treatment. I need strong and forceful language to speak my cause. The fact that admin initially refused to respond to my post shows they were not willing to be accountable for their actions. It reminds me of the same way a former prime minister depended on his lawyer to defend him when another politician confronted him directly in the law court.

I chose to leave the group with my dignity intact. If anyone is inspired, it is to encourage them that they too can stand their ground and let their voices be heard for the sake of justice and equality.

So the admin finally replied, saying the photo was linked to SDP Facebook page, and was deemed “political”.

Firstly, why didn’t he clarify earlier? He could have chosen to reply my question in my earlier post instead of removing it without explanation. Why wait until I challenged his action publicly and called out on the apparent discrimination and lack of transparency and accountability?

Secondly, does the link itself denote a infringement of the rules regarding “no political statements”? If so, then I would say it is double standard on the part of the admin because they have allowed photos of politicians from the ruling party to be posted in the past. In any case, the reason the link of SDP Facebook page was shown together with the photo I posted is because the photo doesn’t belong to me, and when I shared it via Facebook, the link was automatically shown. If I were to save the photo in my computer and upload it onto the Facebook group, I would have to acknowledge the source, and SDP Facebook page would still need to be mentioned.

The point I want to make is that the link of SDP Facebook page alone doesn’t necessarily constitute an infringement of the rules, or else the rules would have applied to all other political parties in the past.

In reality, cycling and politics invariably overlap because it is through politics that policies are formed and mindsets are shaped to influence the cycling culture in Singapore, for better or for worse, depending on how we live by example through our cycling activities and conversations, as well as our interactions with pedestrians and motorists.

At this point, I am glad to have removed myself from the group as it might not be worthwhile getting into a debate with them, and this blog can serve as a platform for my voice to be heard. At the very least, I am glad the status quo in that group is being challenged and political awareness about justice and equality is being increased, I believe.



6 thoughts on “Cycling is political

  1. Raphael

    1. You went on a cycling forum as a guest to make a political statement. Something as explicitly prohibited by the rules of which you have been made aware of. Wherein lies the need for you to insert a link to the SDP Facebook page? What is the objective?

    2. The administrator of LCSG does not owe you a response nor an explanation in deleting your post. You are there as a guest. That they did a domain to you is out of courtesy, not under duress as you implied.

    3. You are delusional to think that the status quo has been challenged at LCSG. Did you even read the responses to your posts. It can be summarised in two words – “good riddance”

    4. You claim to be pushing for democracy. In reality, you are just pushing to have your personal agenda heard. The irony of it all is that democracy is fully at play here : you were accepted as a member of a group whose rules you broke. You were not expelled but chose to leave. The administrator of LCSG showed his grace and you showed your petulance.

    Where this comment is displayed or not will show if you’re as democratic as you claim to be.

    1. Thank you for sharing your views here. I can agree with your analogy of me being a guest in a supposedly public group forum, and I can only honestly say that I didn’t feel welcome as a guest after yesterday’s incident, hence I decided to leave the group at my own will. This isn’t to say that I have always felt unwelcomed, as I appreciate the mostly helpful responses from many of the fellow members in the forum for the most part for the past one year or so.

      I think I have explained clearly in my blog the reason why I shared the photo in the forum and how the link came to appear together with the photo, so I shan’t repeat in this comment.

      1. Raphael

        While you claim to have explained “clearly” in your blog, what you have done in effect, is to politicised what is otherwise a simple affair : you posed a photo of a leader of a political party, with a link to the Facebook page of the said party, in a Cycling forum.

        You have alleged that the group is discriminatory without substantiating how it has been so. You have been so indulgent of your own political agenda that you have developed a tunnel vision and failed to see that yours isn’t the first post to be censored for inappropriate content or for breach of rules.

        You have alleged the existence of a fear based climate and controlling culture, merely because your post has been denied a pride of place. The fact is that responses to your post on LCSG point to the contrary.

        You have alleged that the administrator’s unwillingness to respond to your post as an indication of an unwillingness to be accountable. The fact is that your post isn’t the first to be deleted for a breach of rules and the Administrators do not owe you an explanation.

        Members of LCSG are fully aware that the sdministartor and their core team are volunteers who hold down a full time job. They do not run the site full time. Nine expect them to have to explain themselves, especially when there has been a clear breach of the rules for a post with a political agenda.

        Your petulance shows your immaturity and your absence will certainly not be missed.

        Please grow up. No one owes you an explanation Nor does the universe revolve around you.

    2. Raphael has some serious issues that he needs to deal with. Who the fuck is he to come here and tell you that you need to grow up? Who is really the delusional person? You or him? He basically has some fetishism of imaginary rules; nothing is written on stone, asshole – and if you were that honorable man, fucker, why don’t you use this energy of anger to facilitate change in the world, instead of for some jouissance in blogosphere? Why not use your anger to speak up for the vulnerable, for that child who is dying from hunger-related issues every 6 seconds, for human trafficking, sweatshops, environmental degradation, etc? Selfish bastard.

      Raphael, you are an embarrassment to humanity, and as Jimmy has said earlier, a waste of human flesh.

      On behalf of myself, Jimmy and the many decent human beings out there who are using their energy, time and resources bettering humanity instead of vomiting venom on the Internet, A BIG FUCK YOU.

  2. Dear Raphael, this blog is meant for me to process my own thoughts and feelings about the incident, and I don’t expect anyone to agree with anything I wrote, if at all. Also, I think your derogatory remarks say more about you than me, so I shan’t respond further.

  3. Dear Raphael,

    I know I said I shan’t respond further, but I see fit to add this. Democracy doesn’t mean you have to go around vomiting venom on the blog posts of others. You seem to have anger issues. Get some professional help. To be quite honest, you are the one who exhibited how emotionally Immature you are. How you do anything is how you do everything, I am pretty sure this violent and hostile behavior you’ve shown in your comments is the way you handle every aspect of your life. What a waste of human flesh.

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