22 November 2002
Dear Dr Chee,
It is heartening to find one activist for democracy campaigning hard for
the application of the democratic principles as enshrined in the
Constitution of the Republic of Singapore. However, the PAP government’s
tight hold over the people of Singapore shall make it hard for any other
political party to be able to challenge the PAP to a direct meritocratic
battle of the best.
I propose that the SDP set up kindergartens aimed at inculcating the
principles of democracy into children from young. This should ensure
that the future leaders of Singapore would be aware of the acute
importance of democracy for Singapore. I note that the PAP has set-up
many kindergartens in Singapore. I attended one of the kindergartens
when I was young, and I must admit, though the teachers there do not do
anything to mention the PAP, the logo and all that had a psychological
effect on me. I was all for the PAP until I discovered their sleight of
I must admit that I felt foolish then. I have since been an advocate for
the liberal values in Singapore. I regularly show my friends articles
which are not published by the media of Singapore. That really opened
their scope of view.
Finally, I wish to thank you for being a symbol of Democracy in
Singapore. I sincerely hope that your struggle will not be in vain.
SDP: The cost of setting up kindergartens in Singapore is prohibitively high unless, of course, you are the PAP, in which case you can “rent” space from the HDB in void decks to run the schools.
But the idea of teaching democracy to students is a good one, although starting with pre-schoolers might be a bit too early. Many top universities in the U.S. have human rights departments which offer courses on the subject. Democracy and other political systems are even taught at the high school level in some countries.
It is important to inculcate the values of freedom, tolerance, respect for others, transparency, accountability – all values of democracy and human rights in citizens. Schools would be a good place to start.