Who says that politics must always be boring? (Actually the PAP, but that’s another point.) Democracy is not a spectator sport, it is the people’s activity and the people must get involved. Unfortunately, people have been kept out of the political process in Singapore. As a result they, especially young Singaporeans, drift away – often all the way to other countries.
This is why the Young Democrats are organising a mini-rock concert at the SDP’s It’s About You rally next Saturday, 13 November at Hong Lim Park.
Called ‘Rocking for Rights’ the concert will feature local bands who will get on stage and blast away with their music. This will be the first of its kind in Singapore.
The concert is the Singapore Democrats’ continuing effort to engage young Singaporeans on national issues. Through the years, with the clamp down on political activity in schools and college campuses, youths have become depoliticised and alienated from society.
Our universities are a political and cultural desert where our students know little else outside of their lecture notes. This is a crippling drawback because tertiary institutions are critical in producing future leaders for society.
Student bodies are controlled by university administrations that toe the PAP line. For example, when the SDP visited Nanyang Technological University (NTU) last year and the student-journalists wanted to run a story about the visit, NTU president Dr Su Guaning personally stepped in and blocked the publication of the story.
With such control and dumbing down of our students, how is Singapore going to compete on the world stage?
Recently, National University of Singapore student, Mr Lim Zi Rui, told Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong that he didn’t know what he was defending anymore because of the marginalisation of Singaporeans by foreigners.
Mr Lim raised a valid point. A survey conducted by the Singapore Polytechnic found that 37 percent of young Singaporeans feel no loyalty to their country. More than 50 percent indicated that they wanted to emigrate to another country. Such is the failure of the PAP to build a nation for Singapore’s future.
This must change. Young Singaporeans must be encouraged to participate in the public process and develop political awareness. In so doing, they will feel a sense of purpose and belonging to this country.
The Singapore Democrats will endeavour to build up youth politics in Singapore by starting with our Rocking for Rights concert. We will reach out to youths and awaken the spirit in them. Our aim is to excite and energise young Singaporeans and get them interested in our nation’s politics.
If the event on 13 November is successful, we could turn it into a regular affair.
Young Singaporeans must realise that politics in Singapore is not just about donning white and being indoctrinated with Lee Kuan Yew-isms. There’s a whole new world of diversity for our youths to explore and discover.
So let’s start with Rocking for Rights on 13 Novermber (Saturday). Bring your friends and let’s make some noise and have some fun even as we talk about change and our future. Who knows, some of our seniors might have a tune or two to pluck.
No tickets, no reservations. Just make your way down to Speakers’ Corner and let’s have a blast.