The Workers' Party's 60th anniversary:- The Future

'Not enough to be a keyboard warrior'

As a boy in primary school, Mr Yudhishthra Nathan remembers being taken to political rallies of the Workers' Party in the noughties by his father and grandfather.

Growing up, his family would also discuss politics at the dinner table.

Mr Nathan, 22, says he was raised to be politically aware. Even in primary school, he knew that there were only two elected Members of Parliament who were not from the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) - the WP's Mr Low Thia Khiang, and the Singapore People's Party's Mr Chiam See Tong.

Mr Nathan is part of the wave of young Singaporeans who have joined the WP in recent years.

The National University of Singapore environmental studies undergraduate is part of the WP's Punggol East constituency committee. He helps out with house visits, grassroots events and food distribution programmes.

"I tell people my co-curricular activity is helping the Workers' Party," says Mr Nathan, a Punggol East resident himself, with a laugh.

Explaining why he chose to join the WP, Mr Nathan tells Insight that growing up, he felt strongly that there should be more political competition, because "only then can the best ideas come out".

Mr Yudhishthra Nathan started volunteering with the Workers' Party while doing NS and says he was raised to be politically aware, with his father and grandfather taking him to political rallies when he was younger.

He started volunteering with the WP while doing national service, and would help at Meet-the-People Sessions when he booked out of camp.

Back then, Ms Lee Li Lian had just won the Punggol East seat in a 2013 by-election. Mr Nathan joined the party as a full-fledged member about two years later.

During the 2015 General Election, Mr Nathan, who was then 20 and could not vote, was a WP counting agent in Punggol East.

"It was surreal to see the stacks of ballot papers. The WP and PAP were neck and neck," he says. The WP lost Punggol East eventually, with the PAP's Mr Charles Chong winning 51.8 per cent of the vote.

"I remember travelling to Hougang stadium in Lee Li Lian's car and thanking her for being my MP - it was a very emotional period," he says, adding that he is optimistic the WP will make further progress politically.

"What's important is political participation in between elections. We have to step up and do something. it's not enough to be a keyboard warrior," he says.

Danson Cheong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 29, 2017, with the headline ''Not enough to be a keyboard warrior''. Print Edition | Subscribe