Human Rights & Democracy

To protect and propagate Human Rights and Democracy in Singapore

“Political apathy among the youths in Singapore”

Singapore- a country well defined for its socio-economical success among other Asian nations. With strategic positioning in the Malayan archipelago,
Singapore which depended on entrepot trade has risen to become
Asia’s financial hub. The only setback that
Singapore faces is in its socio-political arena due to the government’s hard handed policies. In particular the youth awareness in politics is a field the government tries to develop through its education system, though they were futile attempts. Nevertheless to many critics, there are many government linked policies that affect, political apathy among the youth in
Singapore. ‘The paradigm shift in the education system as well as the government’s opening up from a close society, though slow, is making progress’. These were words of George Soros earlier this year in a forum held in
Singapore.  In my opinion, there is an increase in the number of youths who are politically active. Though the increase is not very significant, it is substantial. Many youths are not very politically inclined. They are indeed oblivion to the political situation in their own country,
Singapore. As we do respect the interests of our fellow friends, it is imperative to understand the political culture of our city state. There are various reasons for the youth to seem politically apathetic. Fuller understanding of these reasons is critical in the understanding of the debate over youth apathy to become fruitful and illuminating rather than bitter and confused.  Political participation of youths are not publicized, does not mean that all youths are apathetic. The state controlled media of
Singapore rarely feature youths whom are politically active. As aforementioned though there is more youth participation now than in the past, the media turns a deaf ear towards the youth who actively participate in politics. It is also undeniable that the media only showcases and propagates the youth to join the Young PAP. The youth wings of other political parties have gone unheard by the media. In fact, they are indispensable Thus, there arises a need for the media to be free and fair in its dissemination of information. The media should indeed publicly feature youths from other political parties as well. During the elections in 2006, the media featured cover stories of young candidates from the PAP, but none from the Worker’s Party which fielded many young candidates.  Political correctness has made youths more fearful of opening up in public. This is a term used to ensure that diverse viewpoints are subject to certain guidelines. Without proper education in political theory, youths are pressured to make politically correct statements if they are involved in political activities. This is another form of deterrence that is in place by the people in power. Parents of many youngsters prevent their children from involving in politics and as a result, the youths tend to shun politics because of the ramifications such as libel suits. Undeniably not even political science students make politically correct statements, but there is pressure on youths so long as they are politically active.  The unclear definition of the Out of Bounds (OB) markers deter the citizens and increasingly the
Singapore youth.
OB markers are not made known to Singaporeans. More oblivious are the
Singapore youth. Our inalienable rights are some times curtailed by these markers and since most Singaporeans are not lawyers, we tend to ignore or defend this deprivation of our fundamental liberties that is in the Singapore Constitution. The conditioning of young minds through the education system that
Singapore is a free society is no longer a fact in reality as we do witness many youths getting in trouble for criticizing the government. Recently three teenagers were sent for questioning primarily due to sending out pamphlets about staging a protest during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in
Singapore, for example. It is imperative that the
OB markers are made known to the public, so that they would be prepared further if they were to violate these
OB markers.   On the other hand, the youths in
Singapore are very enthralled by the comfortable lifestyles they have so much so they are not bothered about their own country in which they would be the future leaders of. Affluence has seemed to be one important reason for the apolitical attitudes of our youths. It has disparaged youths from politics and made then materialistic. This does not only reflect, the shallowness of the society but also the lack of maturity of a global citizen which
Singapore aspires to be. Thus, the youths need to be educated in politics.  Another reason would be that the politics is not like ‘pop culture’ for entertainment, it consists of heavy subject matter and may be boring. We would have heard many of our fellow colleagues of friends engrossed in soccer or the latest trends in the market, but never interested in discussing politics. Possibly, the only reason is because politics is a dry and boring subject. Moreover on the premise that we cannot cause change and the people in power can only do so has caused this state of apathy. Inevitably, most of us tend to seek entertainment after a hard day’s work. As much as we respect the interests of others, we must keep in mind that there are people who actually care about our lives more than we do.  In conclusion, the political apathy in
Singapore is no longer as resonant as in the past. The diverse views of the youths are indeed been heard through forums and discussions via the internet. Undeniably the government has opened up more avenues for the youths to be more proactive with regards to politics. However, the government can do much more in resolving the problems aforementioned in the latter to ensure that the youths are not just ‘frogs in the well’ following the routed path, but create new ones instead. In addition the youths should put to use the powerful tool of the internet to save their fellow youths from falling into the death trap of poli-apathy.

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October 4, 2006 - Posted by | Democracy, Politics, Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. Hey this site rocks…Keep up the good work

    Comment by Suraj | December 19, 2006 | Reply

  2. Thanks a lot:D

    Comment by iloveqinghui | August 14, 2009 | Reply


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