A Reply to Cynical Young Singaporeans

Charles Tan
Young Democrat
25 August 2004

The artcile below is published in TODAY

I refer to the article, ‘An open society? We’ll see Young Singaporeans sceptical about promised changes’, dated August 25, 2004.

As a young Singaporean who has had similar sentiments like my other country mates interviewed in the article, I believe that their opinions are justified.

However, I disagree with the attitude that they are taking, towards the repressive political and social climate in Singapore.

I strongly believe that Young Singaporeans should believe in our Prime Ministers National Day Speech, be optimistic, brave enough to offer differing views and challenge the status quo.

While the grass is always greener on the other side, nothing beats fighting for ones own rights in our own backyard. Migration is not the solution to cynical young Singaporeans problem. They are merely running away from it. Singaporeans who migrate face issues including adjusting to a new society, gaining trust from natives, integrating into a foreign culture, and becoming a second class citizen in some cases.

Moreover, one cannot supplant his entire family, friends and feelings for our familiar surroundings entirely into a new environment.

For too long, Young Singaporeans have been griping about our system but unwilling to take the plunge to transform their complaints into positive affirmative action. I strongly encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and follow the footsteps of youths in other parts of the world.

History has shown that the young can make a difference. The Reformasi movement in Indonesia and Malaysia, People Power I and II in the Philippines, and the uphill constant battle that the Burmese students take in challenging the military regime are some examples which will hopefully inspire us.

Society and politics in Singapore can and should be peacefully transformed. There are many ways that young Singaporeans can be proactive, including, forming legal societies or joining an existing NGO and effect societal changes.

Write letters to internet newsgroup or newspapers and voice out without fear or self-censorship. Join an Opposition political party if one wants to challenge the one party system. The possibilities are endless.

As Malcolm X once said, Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If youre a man, you take it.

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