Voices Of Youth

Guard against petty politics

The rise of Mr Donald Trump in the race to the American presidency is a cautionary tale.

His anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim rhetoric resounds greatly with many Americans, who are convinced these groups are threatening their livelihoods and their lives.

Such an anti-foreigner scenario could arise in Singapore.

In the years running up to the 2011 General Election, the Singaporean-foreigner divide became increasingly evident.

Proposals by opposition parties to drastically curtail our foreign manpower numbers, as well as a protest against having a population of 6.9 million, received significant support. Public sentiment soured rapidly and it showed in the results of that election.

Things have stabilised since then, but we must take America's current predicament as a dire warning.

It is easy to blame foreigners for our woes. But Singapore and Singaporeans are better than that.

A mature society knows that the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.

Let us never allow sensationalism, insults and petty politics to become the rule of the day, for it would be a very dark day indeed.

Joshua Ng, 18, full-time national serviceman

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2016, with the headline 'Guard against petty politics'. Print Edition | Subscribe