Secular society

The young have a part to play

The writer says educated young Singaporeans will enrich dialogues and discussions on public issues, and that it is vital that they be provided with an environment conducive for learning to think, reason and understand.
The writer says educated young Singaporeans will enrich dialogues and discussions on public issues, and that it is vital that they be provided with an environment conducive for learning to think, reason and understand.ST FILE PHOTO

Religious conflicts, issues of identity and cohesion, and keeping conflicts at bay were some issues discussed in the commentary by Mr Mohammad Alami Musa (Will Singapore 2030 be less or more cohesive?, Jan 21).

Singapore's secularism is unique - all (including the religious and atheists) have a voice in the public space, provided they do not invoke religious morals to support their public arguments. And all religious groups have a voice in the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles, provided they comply with the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act.

Arguably, the uniqueness of Singapore's secularism has been the bedrock of the country's economic success in the past 55 years.

I agree with Mr Alami, head of the Studies in Inter-religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, that young Singaporeans are the primary actors here; and that Singapore's secularism must be enhanced.

Although Singaporeans are, by and large, reasonable people, it is vital that young Singaporeans - from primary schools through universities into their adulthood - be provided with an environment conducive for learning to think, reason and understand.

Outspoken, educated young Singaporeans will, without doubt, enrich dialogues and discussions on public issues such as sexuality, marriage, family and euthanasia by reasoning together in the public space, building consensus and strengthening society.

The more reasonable we are, the more inclusive we will be.

S. Ratnakumar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2021, with the headline 'The young have a part to play'. Subscribe