Forum: Not right to say young Singaporeans unaware of hard truths

I refer to Mr Tan Ying San's Forum letter (Many people today unaware of hard truths Singapore faces, July 20).

I respectfully disagree with his view.

Young people in Singapore today may be even more aware of hard truths that are becoming harder.

They are leading the discussion on climate change, gender equality, race issues and economic equality, among many other matters.

These are issues our founding leaders have faced before. As idealistic young people, these leaders forged their ideas in the West, through the Malayan Forum. They improvised and adapted, leading the population in building Singapore into a thriving city state.

Today's young people are no different. For this impossible nation to continue succeeding, they are discussing the hardest issues. The methods may have changed, but the spirit remains the same.

The result of the recent general election shows that the Singapore spirit of the 1950s and 1960s remains very much alive. Young people of today continue to aspire to new heights and will not settle for less.

What all Singaporeans must learn is to judge ideas on their merits, not on their origins.

Just as American ideas are not intrinsically better, so Singaporean ideas are not always the right answer.

A discussion of reasonable solutions can happen openly and respectfully. This respectful discussion can begin in Parliament, where the elected opposition MPs will all come from the moderate Workers' Party.

Singaporeans should build bridges and consensus across divides, not dig trenches and take opportunistic potshots based on identity politics, be it race, age, gender or political affiliation.

To that end, critical thinking and consensus building should be built into our education system and even in public discourse

Let us have difficult conversations based on respect and understanding, and not to further fear and discord.

Even as the economy suffers amid the coronavirus pandemic, this crisis sets the stage for how we want to rebuild our economy.

Professor Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum calls this The Great Reset. We have the perfect opportunity to have these difficult conversations to build an even better Singapore.

We should not squander it by judging ideas based on their origins.

Lim Shi Shun

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.