Social issues

Forum: The problem is being self-righteous, not 'woke'

People walking along Orchard Road on Sept 18, 2020.
People walking along Orchard Road on Sept 18, 2020.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Excessive adherence to "woke" concepts can have unintended consequences (Too much of 'wokeism' can become too much of a good thing, Jan 10).

However, this problem does not pertain just to "wokeism". Excessive adherence to anything can be dangerous.

The issue is not being woke. It is about being sanctimonious.

Self-righteous speech can - and has long been used to - defend conservative concepts just as much as liberal ones.

Awareness of social justice issues has not come to all young people. For those who have not "awoken" to issues of social discrimination, could critiques of wokeism be used as an excuse not to question internalised bigotry and biases?

This could be an unintended consequence of calling out excessive wokeism too.

Chin Hui Wen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2021, with the headline 'The problem is being self-righteous, not 'woke''. Print Edition | Subscribe