While university students in other countries engage actively in political discourse ours are a sad disappointment

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By: Ben Matchap

I recently went for a Workers Party Youth Wing discussion. The discussion was centered on the new rules to the Presidential Election. The discussion was pretty interesting and i think more youths need to get involved and be informed by participating such discussions. If not when bad things happen to our country we only have ourselves to blame.

That being said, I think that the government also has a part to play. By raiding the houses of people who weren’t even contesting in the by-election and suing people who speak out on important issues in Singapore, the government has created a very risky environment for people who might want to contribute critical opinion on important issues in Singapore.

I am glad that the The Workers’ Party organised this session, but at the same time I am pretty upset that most other participants were from universities, but still did not know what was going on till it was explained. I would expect university students to be a little more up to date on issues like this.

In the past when Singapore was more democratic people actually counted on the students to explain complex government legislation to them. While you have student led movements like the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, our own tertiary-level students in Singapore rarely participate even in political discourse – but at least the bothered to show up for the session.

So, while I think it is great that opposition parties are trying to provide an alternative platform to represent Singaporeans’ views, we Singaporeans especially the younger ones, need to step up as well. The PAP too has to do more to mitigate the perception that speaking up is too risky.

If a Facebook comment that does not promote violence lead to your house getting raided and items confiscated, then you cannot blame the younger generation for choosing not to participate in political discourse. But perhaps this effect could have been the real intention behind the actions afterall.