Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Star newspaper on the Singapore GE

The Star in Malaysia reports on the Singapore GE, with WP Hougang rally photo on the front cover.

The crowd swelled to some 10,000 even though the sound system was terrible, the field a bit mushy and the stage, from a distance, looked like a bright but tiny spaceship.

It was the sort of crowd that PAS in Malaysia used to command during its heydays in the 1990s.

“Even Andy Lau (one Hong Kong’s four heavenly kings of pop) cannot get this sort of crowd,” said a press photographer as he battled his way through the mass of bodies.

Note: The Star's estimation of the crowd size is likely to be incorrect. The crowd was more than the 10,000 mentioned in The Star report.

Yawning Bread did an estimation based on his photograph in an addendum to his original report:

Addendum - how many people?
I said in an earlier article that I'm no good at assessing crowd sizes, but now's the time to try a little harder to estimate the number of people in the above picture (which is less than the entire audience at the rally).

If you look at the top picture, you'll see that there were 15-16 people seated on the stage. This suggests that the stage was about 9 metres wide and 5 metres deep.

Now look at the bigger photo. Using the dimensions of the stage as the yardstick, and allowing for the fact that the bottom of the photo would be on a different scale from the back of the photo (due to perspective), I estimate that the area covered by the photo, excluding the road at the back, would be about 150m across and about 200m from bottom of picture to nearly the road.

That's 30,000 sq. metres. This being the thickest part of the crowd, the density was about 3 persons per sq. metre (they were standing shoulder to shoulder - see bottom picture). That means the total number of people encompassed by the bigger picture was about 90,000.

Add those outside the picture (less dense), and perhaps the total number of people at the rally was 100 - 120,000.