Youth urged to ponder their political legacy

Workers' Party's Bernard Chen meeting residents during a walkabout on Sept 5.
Workers' Party's Bernard Chen meeting residents during a walkabout on Sept 5.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The youngest candidate of the Workers' Party (WP) yesterday urged young voters to think about the political culture they wanted to leave to their children, even as he called for the voting age to be lowered from 21 to 18.

Mr Bernard Chen, who is contesting the MacPherson SMC, said lowering the voting age would encourage young Singaporeans to take an early interest in politics and governance.

"The moment our young people can vote for the future of this nation, is the moment that our people can dream of an empowered future together," said the 29-year-old, who opened the WP's final rally in Bedok.

He believed young Singaporeans could take part in the political process and "do it well".

Mr Chen is in a three-cornered fight against the People's Action Party's (PAP's) Ms Tin Pei Ling, 31, and the National Solidarity Party's Mr Cheo Chai Chen, 64.

And even as he commended Ms Tin for "upholding a clean campaign", he said that more PAP leaders should stand in single seats. "I've been trying to earn the support of each and every voter. If Ms Tin Pei Ling can run in a single seat, I'm sure all our present and future ministers can hold their own and contest in a single seat," he said.

WP Marine Parade candidate He Ting Ru, 32, also highlighted the importance of the youth in Singapore's future.

During her speech, she held up a book titled The Next Lap, which was released to mark Singapore's 25th anniversary.

"When I was in Primary 2, I took home with me, from school, this book here... To the young me, this book symbolised a truth - that the country I was born in was something special," she said.

Ms He went on to say that the current generation, particularly those under 40, were pioneers of SG100. She said that even as Singapore harnessed its youth, it needed to remember to care for and upgrade its people .

"...we are pioneers because we wake up each morning determined to fight for a better life for us and our loved ones," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2015, with the headline 'Youth urged to ponder their political legacy'. Print Edition | Subscribe