“There is a need to realise that all these good things do not come naturally. Someone has to do the job and we are fortunate to have a sound and honest government to take care of this place we call our home” (Shame On You, Young Bloggers, Miss Juliet Chua).
Like Miss Chua (and many others), I love Singapore. As an 18 year-old student, my education has also allowed me to evaluate and appreciate our country’s history. I have also developed a keen awareness for Singapore’s current affairs, because I believe that youths and students alike are important stakeholders of this nation.
However, instead of being irked by an increasingly active and concerned chorus of sentiments, Miss Chua should take to heart the fact that youths are neither apathetic nor lethargic. We appreciate the past, comprehend the present, and are cognisant of the difficulties ahead; but we believe equally in moving forward through our rhetoric and actions. The fact that we involve ourselves in writing (or blogging) and a plethora of community activities actively show that we do not take what we have now for granted. We may be critical in our commentaries, but our enthusiasm and patriotism cannot be denied.
Therefore, the key is to place a balance between idealism and realism, criticism and constructiveness. When I pen a criticism, it is because I believe that there are viable alternatives to be considered. My experience in volunteerism and hands-on grassroots activities have equipped me with the perspectives to evaluate policies critically. Sure, no one policy can please everyone; but a multitude of opinions would render decisions made to be more wholesome and representative. Our voice matters, and youths can equally make a difference.
We cannot afford to let feelings of nostalgia and notions of self-satisfaction obscure our vision of tomorrow. As we have proven over these 50 years, the only way for Singapore to remain competitive and prepared is to adapt, be open, and ever-ready to challenge the status quo so as to advance to greater heights.
A version of this article was published in The Straits Times.