SDP’S Daman: Open Up Political Space for Students and Youth

It was a quiet evening on campus, during the University vacation when the NUS Student’s political association’s held their annual “Young Guns Forum 2018”.

A select group of about 40 students and staff who managed to get clearance to attend the event, gathered at University town to hear our very own CEC Member, Mr Damanhuri Abas, Dr Janil Puthucheary, Minister of State for Education from the PAP, and Mr Gerald Giam, WP Youth Wing chair.

Dr Gillian Koh from the Institute of Policy Studies gamely attempted to moderate the discussion although it was hard for her given the tendency of one of the panelists to dominate the discussion (no prizes for guessing who!).

After a somewhat lengthy preamble in which each panelist spoke about their respective visions for Singapore’s young people staying “rooted and relevant”, questions were raised by the students and one staff. Mr Daman issued a clarion call for students to get involved in politics to ensure that we have the space to bring our country forward by demanding transparency and accountability from our leaders.

A spirited discussion on education then ensued. In response to a student’s question about the extensive streaming that takes place in Singapore schools, Mr Gerald Giam reiterated NCMP Leon Perera’s call in parliament for smaller class sizes. The SDP had made the proposal back in 2010.

Mr Daman related his personal experience in his research on education in Finland which manages to take a more comprehensive approach to education without overly focusing on high stakes standardized testing.

Mr Giam also highlighted the fact that the purpose of streaming in Singapore was sorting students into those of different abilities which could have significant adverse consequences to us as a society. As expected, Mr Puthucheary came out relentlessly defending the current system.

Other questions then flew fast and furious covering various topics including freedom of speech (where the event organizer actually argued that free speech in Korea led to K-dramas and in Japan to J-pop which he viewed as somewhat objectionable!).

Social issues such as discrimination against different kinds of families, whether there were alternatives to raising the GST to fund government programs (a student suggested cutting some high profile government expenditure instead), the elected presidency and the hot topic of corruption in Keppel Corp also came up.

Mr Daman made clear the SDP’s stand against the reserved presidency and expressed the importance of expanding the political space especially for students and youth.

Although the crowd was small and some of the responses predictable (and occasionally frustrating from the establishment!), it was encouraging to know that young Singaporeans are starting to question the elitist mindset of the ruling party.

Hopefully there can be more such fora, not just at NUS but also at schools, polytechnics and ITEs all across the country.

The SDP would be happy to participate in more of such events and welcomes the opportunity to debate matters that are important to Singaporeans with politicians of all stripes for the good of Singapore.

Singapore Democrats

 

 

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7 Responses to “SDP’S Daman: Open Up Political Space for Students and Youth”

  • open up?:

    You asked them to ‘open up political space for students and youth!!??
    Are you on something ‘high’??..if they don’t turn the screw tighter, you’re already lucky!!

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  • LIONS:

    SORRY TO SAY BUT SERIOUSLY,OUR YOUTHS NEED A STRONG KICK ON THE BUTT TO WAKE THEM UP!!!…..the result of screwed up ‘straight-jacket’ type of education system???

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  • C'est la vie:

    *****
    Clearance to attend ?

    Body searches and screenings via metal detectors and x-ray machines ??

    Threat to national security ???
    ***
    *****

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  • Orwellian Nightmare:

    In the Orwellian Nightmare, even your thoughts have to be monitored to make sure you are thinking the right things.

    C'est la vie:
    *****
    Clearance to attend ?

    Body searches and screenings via metal detectors and x-ray machines ??

    Threat to national security ???
    ***
    *****

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • I'm Halimah also Jiak Liao Bee:

    Our kids are a long way off compared to the HK kids, who are more politically savvy./
    How is it no one discussed about the millions spent of free tuition and board and lodging for all those 3rd World Trash and denied our local kids ???

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  • Christine Imm Lap Dog:

    People’s Association sent a interviewer to do survey at my place. They ask me to give ratings on how good the PA, grassroots, CDC and all other govt bodies.
    He also asked for ratings on how much I trusted my neighbors, friends, relatives, new citizens, people of various religions etc.

    Then he asked for ratings on govt leaders – their sincerity, integrity and some other personal qualities.

    I told the interviewer the survey is more for people ho have worked with the govt agencies and leaders.

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  • Botak Goondu:

    Cherry is a mercenary?

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