• The Convergence

Youths can participate in constructive and meaningful discussion of issues in Singapore

By Rachel Yap, Commentary Editor

Roald Dahl once said, “Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.”


With reference to Dahl’s powerful words, it may initially seem melodramatic to perceive ourselves as vessels of political change, even for me.


I always had the impression that perhaps politics was always meant for the adults or the experts who know much more about politics than me.


At times, perhaps Singapore has always been a little red dot to me by which the political scene never appeared to be as huge, dramatic and nerve-wracking as other countries. Have local consistent and relatively stable political scene made me rather nonchalant about politics in Singapore? Or are there other areas that we as youths can pay attention too?


Other times, the long-standing peace and social order that we have in our country had never really spurred me to think that social change or pro-active participation in politics would be much needed in a place that was already harmonious.


So the question really lies: What does politics mean to us young Singaporeans? And will it ever change?


In other parts of the world, the ongoing protests and cry for social change by youths, together with the intensifying surge in youth voter turnout in the US, propel us to deeply reflect on what political participation means to us as young Singaporeans.


As time passes, the answer to this question gradually becomes even clearer for us as Singapore’s political scene starts to change.


The emergence of new political parties.


The greater political involvement from various communities fighting for their own social causes, such as LGBT rights, minority rights and climate change, in Singapore.


Greater opportunities in various community platforms like OpenJio and Youth Belt for the youth, to turn their vision for Singapore into concrete action.


There is however, certainly room where we can bring such important topics to fruitful and constructive discussions.


The transformation of politics in our local sphere will definitely demand a change in our perspective on what voting, participation and political involvement entails in comparison to the past.


It appears as if turning 21 would mean something much more than just a milestone, but the responsibility and opportunity to make a difference in Singapore through the single act of voting when the elections come around.


Still 19, two years seems rather far away and the elections may appear like a little something to think about. However, with many of my friends turning 21 this year with much to deliberate about as the elections await, I realise that this isn’t something that I have to wait two years to start feeling like I was part of something big that could make a difference in our country.


There are so many platforms, school events, political-centric activities that call upon every single one of us to take that first step to gain political awareness to be part of something that speaks to us or that enables us to be more responsible as political citizens of our own country.


We need to step out of our comfort zones, take a stand and have a voice. We need to be aware of what is going to happen to Singapore’s politics and how our decisions can affect the future.


Singapore will not be the same, and it is up to us to make the best of it for the next fifty years. Perhaps there has always been the power inside all of us to make a difference in Singapore.


About the author: Rachel is a Year 1 political science major who is currently a Commentary Editor for The Convergence. She believes in the importance of knowledge and awareness in current affairs and hopes that every contribution can be a step forward in understanding the world we live in today. When she’s not writing, she’s probably watching Netflix, speaking broken Japanese or trying to be the next Masterchef in her kitchen as she rethinks about her priorities in life.

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