Democracy must be handled with care

Singaporean student Kenneth Sng's remarks at the beginning of the second presidential debate might have been brief, but it was absolutely appropriate that he touched on the topic of democracy, for America is the champion of democracy ("S'pore student to make opening remarks at next US presidential debate"; Oct 7, and "'Longest 60 seconds' for S'pore student"; Oct 11).

But just as democracy has done a great deal of good for the country, it has also gone awry in more ways than one. One example was the gridlock in the United States Congress in 2013 that led to the shutdown of the government, affecting many Americans.

Democracy is no panacea for a country's problems. On the contrary, it might well become poison if politicians exploit it to selfish means to achieve their ends.

All countries espousing democracy are well advised to be mindful of the fact that democracy needs to be handled with care.

Mr Sng has done well to broach the topic in the light of the coming presidential election in America.

Phillip Tan Fong Lip