Unity needed for strong society

There has been much contention as to whether politico-economic blocs and alliances truly enhance the prosperity of countries or hamper their progress and impinge on their sovereignty.

Attempting to strike a balance between preserving one's autonomy and accommodating the larger international community is a formidable task.

The real question we should ask is why such groupings exist in the first place.

The European Union, for instance, arguably serves to promote cohesion among European countries. Opting out of the group could lead to repercussions and even rancour.

There are several lessons that Britain's referendum on whether to leave the EU can impart to us. The campaigns leading up to the vote reveal how political extremes can gain traction among voters.

In this case, politicians favouring to vote "out" continually capitalised on the issue of immigration, which appealed to a great portion of the British population. This shows the important roles that politicians play in influencing decisions.

The most important lesson that Singapore can learn revolves around the axiom "united we stand, divided we fall", because our society is truly strong only when it is firmly united.

Ashley Tan Yu Yi, 16,

Secondary 4 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2016, with the headline 'Unity needed for strong society'. Print Edition | Subscribe