The Singapore Democrats’ National Day (ND) video message this year has received an unprecedented rate of viewership. In less than three days since it was first posted on this website, the number of views has exploded to nearly 4,000 – a record for the SDP’s videos.
The ND video released last year where our Women Democrats delivered the party’s address is one of the highest watched SDP videos and, yet, has only about 7,000 views in a period of one year.
Entitled “The Young Ones” this year’s ND message talks about the aspirations of young Singaporeans and the society they will inherit when they grow up. The few that are featured in this video represent a generation of Singaporeans who have been exposed to the Internet and want to know beyond what the PAP Government tells them.
The Singapore Democrats have had scores of students visiting us online and many more in our office often expressing their skepticism about what they read and hear in the newspapers, on television and even in their textbooks. This video conveys to the rest of society what we have been hearing from young Singaporeans all this time.
Gone are the years when the Government could label activists as Marxist conspirators or that PAP equals good and Barisan Sosialis bad. Students nowadays have alternative sources of information and they want to read them.
And when they hear that the Said Zahari-Lim Hock Siew videos are banned or when Mr Alan Shadrake’s book is not allowed to be sold in bookstores or when the National Library (of all places) bars Mr Vincent Cheng from speaking, they ask why.
When they see how editors censored the cross-examination of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew by Dr Chee Soon Juan during the defamation suit hearing in 2008, they develop a high level of suspicion of the media here.
It is the nature of human beings to want to be told the truth and the young ones in Singapore are no different. The question is, what kind of society will they inherit? Will they have to lose everything in a state where trust between the rulers and the ruled have completely broken down?
More important, how will this Government continue to execute censorship and hope to get away with it? With the Internet expanding, the dissonance between official diktat and online dissent will intensify.
This year’s ND message from the Singapore Democrats is a forerunner of things to come. Perhaps, this is why it is receiving such unprecedented attention.