Singapore’s youth crying out for change

June 29, 2015
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

There has been a spate of cases over the last couple of years where Singaporeans have expressed anger at the political system in this country.$CUT$

In 2014, five persons were charged for spraying graffiti against the PAP atop a block of flats in Toa Payoh.

That same year 15 Singaporeans were investigated by the police for participating in the “Million Mask March” in response to a call to reclaim their freedom.

This year, two individuals were arrested for protesting outside the Istana, one carried a sign that said “Injustice” and the other “You can’t silence the people”.

Another man was jailed for hacking into The Straits Times‘ and PAP-related websites in 2013.

A student had posted a fake announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office about the death of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

A couple was charged for running The Real Singapore, a website which the Government deems “objectionable on the grounds of public interest”.

The common thread that runs through these cases is that all of the individuals responsible for these acts are younger Singaporeans.

Their actions were in open defiance to the undemocratic system put in place by the PAP. They are the clearest signs yet that the youth in Singapore are calling out for political change.

Like the younger generations elsewhere in the world (think Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement and Taiwan’s Sunflower Student Movement), Singaporean youth also want justice, transparency and the rule of law in their country.

Unfortunately, PM Lee Hsien Loong has not seen the wisdom to heed their cries, acting instead to further impose his party’s decades-long authoritarian control by repeatedly prosecuting these individuals.

The problem is that the more he does this, the more defiant society becomes. This sets up a polarising effect on the populace that will lead to dire outcomes. PM Lee doesn’t realise that he is like King Canute standing on the shore trying to stop the tide from coming in.

As Singaporeans become more educated – and together with the ease of obtaining and sharing information – more and more people, especially the youth, will want to see Singapore’s political system open up. How much Mr Lee resists this demand for democratic change will determine how much uncertainty and turmoil he inflicts on our country.

History, as channeled by the late John F Kennedy, says that “those who prevent peaceful evolution will cause violent revolution” – and it has yet to be proven wrong.