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Young voters “may be even more aware of hard truths that are becoming harder”

Reader disagrees with earlier letter that young Singaporeans do not understand the challenges faced by the country

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Singapore — A reader has disagreed with a letter writer that young voters are unaware of the hard truths facing the nation, given the outcome of the 2020 General Election which saw the People’s Action Party suffer its second-worst score since Independence.

While the PAP clinched 83 of the 93 seats in Parliament, it saw a hefty dip against it in the popular vote. The party, with 61.23 per cent of the vote, did only 1.1 per cent better than in 2011, where it saw its worst electoral score.

In what was perhaps the biggest blow, the PAP lost yet another Group Representation Constituency (GRC) to the opposition. The Workers’ Party’s (WP) stunning victory at the new Sengkang GRC unseated three political office-holders, including 4G minister Ng Chee Meng.

To say the results were disappointing to the ruling party would be an understatement. The PAP was touted to do better since it called an early election amid the Covid-19 pandemic and specifically asked the people to give it a strong mandate so it can rally Singapore against the challenges ahead.

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While the opposition celebrated the inroads it had made, reporters said that the mood on election night among the ruling party leadership was sombre.

Forum letter writer Tan Ying San, suggesting that young Singaporeans could be complacent and do not understand the challenges the country faces, had called on schools to include in their syllabuses Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s 2011 book, Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going.

The letter, on Sunday (July 19), asserted that the recent elections showed that young Singaporeans “have little appreciation of the hard truths that the country faces, not even in these extraordinary times”, and urged the young to recognise “what is at stake”.

However, another reader, in a letter on Wednesday (July 22), disagreed with this dim view of young voters and argued that young Singaporeans today “may be even more aware of hard truths that are becoming harder”.

Highlighting that the young are leading discourse on issues like race, equality and climate change, Lim Shi Shun said these are the issues Singapore’s founding fathers grappled with and today’s generation is no different than their forefathers.

“The result of the recent general election shows that the Singapore spirit of the 1950s and 1960s remains very much alive. Young people of today continue to aspire to new heights and will not settle for less.”

Calling on fellow citizens to judge ideas “on their merits, not on their origins”, the writer  said that reasonable solutions can be reached through open and respectful discourse, which  can begin in Parliament.

Read his letter in full HERE.

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