05 May 2009

Inquiring minds want to know: Caine Teo and Ape Communications

As we celebrate our victory over the forces of Feminist Mentor, we urge people to review their memories of that hard-fought battle. It was a difficult battle despite the one-sided result.

Over the past few days, we have received reports from people who attended the EGM at Suntec. As we review their accounts with the reports from twitter by articulate bloggers, the Wayang Party and The Online Citizen, it appears the battleground was stacked against their favour.

We draw attention to the events management company behind the EGM: Ape Communications, and its boss Caine Teo.

We direct the following questions to Ape Communications and Caine Teo, and encourage interested parties to send these in writing to Ape Communications, 32 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 169780 or ask@ape.sg:

1. The original venue for the EGM was to have been Expo, right next to an evangelical rally.

As the event manager of Aware, was this venue choice your decision, or was it a decision on the part of the Aware exco?

2. At the EGM at Suntec, it appears that supporters of the Aware exco, clad in red t-shirts, had volunteered to set up and man the venue as early as 9am.

Was it your decision as event manager to allow only redshirt supporters to volunteer for the venue preparation?

Was it your decision as event manager to reject and eject the Old Guard and their supporters as volunteers for the venue preparation?

3. When the seating began, a huge group of redshirts were made to go into the hall first, as a collective. After which, the queue was operated in a first-come-first served manner.

As event manager, could you explain the rationale for the decision to let the redshirts enter the hall first?

4. When the EGM started, and for almost the entire duration of the EGM, microphones at the back and middle of the hall were turned off completely.

As event manager, could you explain why this was so? As events manager, could you justify this decision, as anyone who has attended corporate AGMs and EGMs will tell you it's bad form to turn off any microphone in a hall?

5. During the EGM, the microphones were constantly switched off in the middle of questions by speakers who interrogated the new exco’s policies and attitudes toward homosexuality.

Was control of the microphones under your purview as events manager? Could you explain why the microphones seemed to work in the interests of the exco, and not the members of the organisation?

6. We note the presence of AETOS Security Management Pte Ltd auxiliary police for the event. It is unfortunate that the overwhelming impression was that the AETOS personnel functioned more as the private bodyguards and enforcers of the will of the Aware exco, instead of keeping the peace and security on both ends.

Was control of the auxiliary police under your purview as events manager?
Could you explain why the AETOS personnel appeared to work under the orders of the exco, and not as security personnel?
Could you clarify the role under which AETOS personnel were engaged for the event?

7. At 9.10 pm, Josie Lau goes on stage with the statement "We have decided to graciously step down. We wish Aware all the best. I declare the meeting closed." And the microphones in the hall were all shut down following this statement.

As event manager, were you in charge of the microphones? If you weren't, who was?
As event manager, were you aware that as of her statement to step down, Josie Lau no longer had the power to declare the meeting closed?

8. On your girlfriend's blog (screencap here), she mentioned being privvy to "new and unpublished insights" about the Aware situation because of your involvement. She clarifies on her blog that you shared with her your worries and how your day went.

As event manager, did you discuss break client confidentiality in discussing the Aware issue with your girlfriend?

As event manager, were you provided information by the Aware exco that were in excess to what you needed to know? How much information did you pass on to your girlfriend?

9. As event manager, would you say that you have provided a fair, neutral, and unbiased event management for a highly polarised EGM?

For all readers who attended the EGM on Saturday: Do feel free to leave your impressions and additional questions of the event management on the blog, or email me through the usual channels. I will, with permission, reproduce them here, with names withheld upon request.

6 May 2009: NMP Siew Kum Hong reports on his personal experience of the deliberately tilted playing field of the EGM and its wide variance from the law and practice of meetings.

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