Youth & Politics

23 Mar

Singapore is reputably a nanny-state nation. Our foreign counterparts know of our ‘motherly’, yet strong political system which brought us from rags to riches in an incredibly short span of time. However, our people have also been criticized to be too accepting and frightened of our political system because of the lack of involvement in politics. This is especially so for youth. Hence for this week’s entry, I will go into 2 main reasons why I think Singaporean youths are generally apathetic towards politics.

1) Strong emphasis on personal success

The first reason could be that the extremely strong emphasis on personal success and the key to success is getting a good education.

This leads to intense competition in schools and universities. Many youth are too engulfed in their pursuit for success to care about other issues like politics. It has been ingrained in our minds that a proper education is the path to success. With so many assignments and projects, how is it possible for us to fork out time to care about politics? In addition, the constant stress on an all rounded education means that many youth are also forced into joining co-curriculum activities (CCA) which occupies much of their time. CCA is even graded and this can be useful to help you get into tertiary institutions of your choice. Not only do you have to have several achievements and recognized awards in your CCA, you also have to have a minimum of 30 hours of community involvement in order to achieve a decent grade.

Hence, we youths just have too much at stake. In school, we have our education to pursue. After we graduate, we have our careers to establish and families to build. With the influx of foreign talents, many of us feel threatened and believe that our space in the society is dwindling. We want achieve all we can now and fight our way to success at all costs.

At the end of the day when we are finally satisfied with our lives, we’ll go. .. “Politics. What?! When did I even have the time to care?”

2) Restrictive government

Another reason (which I mentioned briefly at the start of this post) which i deem more appropriate is that our government is very restrictive and many of us are afraid of violating any laws. Many Singaporean youths are afraid to voice their opinions or disgruntlement against the government for the fear of getting convicted. Even writing an entry on our personal blogs such as this one, forces us to self-censor for the fear of repeating similar cases whereby bloggers get fined or jailed because of the content on their blogs. If we don’t even dare to voice our opinions on our personal journals, where else can we do so?
Also, many of us have the mentality that voicing our opinions will not work. Being young, we feel that the government will not take our views seriously. This reduces the motivation for us to get involved in politics. A famous case I will use to illustrate my point is Tin Pei Ling, the youngest People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate for the coming general election.  Instead of embracing new talent, many Singaporeans object to her involvement and news reports label her as being ‘too young and inexperienced’. Reports make her look as if she got to where she is today because of her networks and it is not based on her own talent.
Because of this picture, many netizens were quick and ruthless in labeling her as materialistic and spoilt. Seriously, can’t she have a life too?
With such negative feedback received, why would any of us still want to get involved in politics? Would it work if we were to get involved?
That’s why, we’d just sit back, relax and let the old people handle the job as always. Why bother?
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