This is an open letter sent by Young Democrat Jarrod Luo to the NUS Political Association (NUSPA), in response to the comments made by a member of the NUSPA on the apparent lack of effective engagement between Opposition political parties and the student bodies at Singapore’s tertiary institutions.
To NUSPA / Whomever it may Concern,
This letter is written in reference to the comments made by your female representative, whose name eludes me as at the time of writing this letter, at the break-out session of the above-mentioned event. I hope to seek clarification on 2 points that your representative put forth in her statement:
i) that opposition parties tend to lie dormant until impending elections approach, upon which they awake from their dormancy in a flurry of short-lived activity which lasts only until the end of the electoral period.
ii) that opposition parties and their youth wings in particular, have not been engaging effectively, if at all, youths and the student bodies of tertiary institutions.
I wish to seek to understand her basis for putting forth these 2 points, as well as to take this opportunity to highlight various publicly available resources which, if brought to her attention, would, in my opinion, render her statement moot and unwarranted. You will find them appended at the end of this article, which I have taken the time and effort to aggregate for your easy perusal.
First off, I would like to reiterate here my reply to your representative at the event itself, that just because our activities are under-reported(or not reported at all) in the mainstream media, as compared to other political parties, doesn’t mean that we are not active at all.
It just simply means that one is not at the right place at the right time to witness the ongoing activity, hence the need for the media, whether mainstream or alternative, which brings news of the latest happenings to people who do not happen to be at the scene. In the event of coverage shortfall by the mainstream media(which seems to happen to the opposition parties too often for comfort), the Singapore Democratic Party has taken to the internet as a form of alternative media in a bid to bridge this shortfall and connect with the masses.
However, the internet, unlike the mainstream media which is served to the consumers right up to their doorsteps on a silver platter, requires a certain level of intent and proactivity on the part of the users in that the information they get will only be what they want, and what they know they want. Therefore, the reach of the internet to the masses will not be able to match up to the mainstream media, which force-feeds the same information to one and all, at least for now.
It is heartening to see more and more youths like your representative and her fellow colleagues at NUSPA gaining more awareness about the socio-political climate in Singapore and beginning to question their
various observations, but I was honestly disappointed when she brushed off Justin’s and my explanations to her statements and jumped to her misinformed, in my opinion, conclusion that the opposition parties are
not putting in enough effort and working hard enough to reach out.
I was further disappointed when I earnestly sought her suggestion as to what can be done to improve the situation since she is the person on the ground making this observation, only to get a cursory evasion
from her saying that she is “merely a normal citizen”.
I would also like to highlight this incident, that when we visited NUS earlier this year we were stopped by University officials, and were told to write to NUSSU for opportunities to engage students instead. Our chairman, Mr Gandhi Anbalam subsequently corresponded as per suggested, with a student official at NUSSU but to no avail even till date.
Finally, I hereby would also like to humbly volunteer the availability of my colleagues and I at the Singapore Democratic Party to participate in any of your future activities because it is not without dismay that I notice that the event roll of NUSPA is sorely under-represented by the opposition parties in Singapore. At the same
time, we would also hope to be able to inform NUSPA and invite its members to the public events and activities we will be organizing via this email if possible.
I look forward forward to your reply. Thank you.
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