Writer Of The Week

Mr Tay Hong Yi, 19, wrote his first letter to the Forum page on his phone while at a Burger King outlet two years ago. He writes about education, civil society and public policy.
Mr Tay Hong Yi, 19, wrote his first letter to the Forum page on his phone while at a Burger King outlet two years ago. He writes about education, civil society and public policy.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Who: Tay Hong Yi, 19, full-time national serviceman.

My family: I am currently single (and always ready to mingle).

I live with my family, which consists of my parents, a younger brother, aged 16, and myself.

My home: Home is an executive flat in Yew Tee.

My passions: Reading, writing and speaking my mind through an assortment of activities, including lobbying at model United Nations conferences and attending policy discussions. More relaxing pursuits include eating in abundance, preferably with friends and family.

I started writing to the Forum page...: In 2013, tapping away on my phone at a Burger King outlet.

What I write about: Education, civil society and public policy.

Why I write: Singaporeans are becoming increasingly polarised - or at least more overtly polarised than ever before. This is amplified by the echo chamber of Singapore's social media landscape.

I hope to be part of the community that provides moderate perspectives, recognising the merits of each extreme and, hopefully, encouraging a culture of civil discussion rather than unproductive name-calling and ill will.

Writing to the Forum also allows me to present my viewpoints to the community at large.

It is a challenging pursuit through which I hope to refine my skill in writing and analysis to a level worthy of the journalist profession - my childhood ambition.

I read the Forum page because...: It curates a diversity of perspectives from an ever-changing cross-section of Singaporean society, with each edition directly responding to the most recent issues closest to our hearts. The aggregation of every single letter is therefore an accessible and reliable source of grassroots narratives within our society.

In this manner, the Forum complements the objective reportage of journalists and the more professional Opinion section in fulfilling the core purpose of journalism: as a means through which we conceptualise the broader world around us beyond the limited scope of personal experience.

The Forum also provides a unique independent platform for Singaporeans to air their views and pitch their ideas spontaneously.

My wish for Singapore: I wish for Singapore to be a country where alternative conceptions of success are not only recognised, but also embraced. I hope Singapore will not be a country fixated only on achievement in readily quantifiable terms as a means to personal satisfaction. Rather, personal fulfilment ought to come into the picture more often.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2015, with the headline 'Writer Of The Week'. Print Edition | Subscribe