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Start from top to get more to speak up

Getting Singaporeans to speak up and challenge authority is probably easier said than done ("Why Singapore needs more naysayers"; Feb 25).

It must start from the top.

For generations, we practised a culture of respecting our elders and giving way to seniority, rank and title. Questioning people in authority is deemed insubordination and not showing respect.

To overcome this, the top brass has to be more willing to listen, without fear of being upstaged.

For a start, minimal rules should be in place, and everyone should be allowed to speak up, at least in writing or an e-mail message.

This might lead to more confidence and more people raising their hands in open dialogue and asking questions in panel discussions.

The powers that be created this mindset of "I am the boss and you listen". Only they can change this into a mindset of "we are a team" and encourage people to speak and challenge authority.

Albert Louis

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 05, 2017, with the headline 'Start from top to get more to speak up'. Print Edition | Subscribe