"It is high time for Singapore to re-engage young citizens"June 12th, 2011
Following national elections last month, Singapore’s government should re-engage its citizens, particularly the increasing number of youths who may have different perspectives on the country’s development, writes Tan Pei Ying, a 29-year-old Commonwealth Correspondent.
Singapore has done well economically since its independence in 1965. Led by the ruling People’s Action Party, our country has experienced tremendous improvements in terms of infrastructure, foreign direct investments, public housing, education and healthcare from half a century ago.
While that is commendable, the government should not simply provide better physical amenities or “prescriptive” solutions to concerns such as accelerated inflation. Indeed, are tax subsidies and shorter waiting times for public housing perhaps promoting inflation and undermining the real causes of low earnings among citizens?
There are many ways to look at a single problem, and the crux is through dynamic, diverse interaction. It is hard to imagine any new injection of ideas into a ruling party of 50 years when the existing coalition comprise largely of individuals from renowned universities, key position holders of public or private corporations, professionals and the offspring of ex-politicians. There is clearly an absence of “the flip side of the citizens’ story”.
Technological advancements have helped many of us better understand the problems around us thanks to the abundance of information and knowledge crossing national boundaries. On 7 May 2011, Singapore saw a revolutionary polling day, with the opposing Workers’ Party taking an electoral ward which has been a stronghold for the ruling party since 1988.
This resulted in the ousting of two serving ministers, an indication of growing resentment towards top-down policies inflicted upon citizens. The ruling party has clearly lost touch with the ground after 50 years of power. It is high time to re-engage citizens, particularly the increasing number of youths who hold vastly different attitudes towards the country’s development, as opposed to older generations.
Less bourgeois, more proletariat, and Singapore will continue to do very well.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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