More air travel has its own risks

Generic photo of Singapore Airlines planes at Changi Airport.
Generic photo of Singapore Airlines planes at Changi Airport. PHOTO: ST FILE

Increasing the capacity of our airport to accommodate more flights is an indication that the world is becoming more interconnected ("Steps to boost Changi air traffic management"; last Friday), increasing Singapore's vulnerability to terrorism.

The Government should educate citizens to play an active role in remaining vigilant, through both formal education in school and informal education in the form of advertisements on practical action to take, should something be amiss.

More emphasis can be placed on contextualising terror attacks in Singapore, increasing Singaporeans' awareness that we are not immune to terrorism.

More often than not, students are seen strolling to emergency evacuation venues during evacuation exercises.

This suggests they have a lax attitude towards such drills - a hint that people have the mindset that terrorism is unlikely to occur here.

Emergency evacuation drills can also be held for households, and more can be conducted for the community.

This aids in preparing the public, thereby reducing the risk of pandemonium.

Apart from relying on top-down approaches, bottom-up measures are of equal importance.

As individuals, we also have the power to improve social cohesion by interacting with the community around us, forging deeper and meaningful connections with people of different races and religions.

Only when the social fabric is strong can we better combat terrorism, which seeks to divide society.

Sheryl Ang Xiu Qi, 16, first-year junior college student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2016, with the headline 'More air travel has its own risks'. Print Edition | Subscribe