When people from around the world cometogether, interesting discoveries abound. That’s exactly whathappened at the recent Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) Youth Festival, where youths frompolitical parties and organizations in Asia and Europe, including theSDP, gathered to discuss and exchange ideas on freedom and democracyin Asia.$CUT$
Two of our Young Democrats (YDs),Mr Clarence Zeng and Ms Cheryl Tay, attended the five-day CALD YouthFestival 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. The event consisted of a four-dayprogramme revolving around political freedom and democracy in Asia,as well as a meeting on the final day with the InternationalFederation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) Executive Committee.
The YDs met with other delegates fromthe Youth Wing of the Council of Asian Liberals & Democrats (CALDYouth) for its general assembly and, over four days, representativesfrom around Asia presented the political happenings in their owncountries.
A wide range of topics, from the election controversies inMalaysia to the rise of religious extremism in Indonesia and SriLanka, was discussed. Ms Cheryl Tay spoke about howthe façade of economic growth has masked the sacrifice offundamental political freedoms in Singapore.
The event was also graced by severaldignitaries, including leader of the Liberal Party of Sweden Mr.Johan Pehrson, and former Thai PM Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva. The seniorparty leaders elaborated on the geo-political happenings in inSoutheast Asia, and the possible impact of these events in future.
The CALD Youth Assembly was concludedon the last day where new leaders were elected. Ms Selyna Peris from Sri Lanka was replaced by Thailand’s Mr Nant Thananan while the position of Secretary General wasfilled by Bulgan Bayasgalant of Mongolia’s Civil Will Green Party.
It was encouraging to note theorderly yet open manner in which the elections were held.
After the elections, IFLRY, of whichthe Young Democrats are a member, conducted its Executive CommitteeMeeting.
The meeting highlighted the activities IFLRY hasparticipated in around the globe, from the United States to theMiddle East. At the same time, Mongolia’s Civil Will Green Party,as well as the Young Australian Democrats, were also inducted asCandidate Members into IFLRY.
The YDs have certainly gained valuableknowledge on freedom and democracy in other nations, and hope toapply these new insights to the betterment of the SDP, as well asSingapore itself.