Address emotional disconnect among youths

The following is the unedited letter which Mr Gerald Tan sent to the Straits Times which published an edited version of it on 8 November. (See screenshot below.)

We thank Mr Tan for sending us the full version of his letter, as follows:

I would like to thank Mr Benjamin Chiang for voicing his commitment to defending this country.

I am with Mr Chiang on the view that Singapore is worth defending because of our loved ones. However, it seems that in attempting to address the Saturday’s note on the “Disempowered Generation”, he had missed the point. That article was not contending that Singapore was deficient materially, but rather emotionally, if I may term it so.

Mr Chiang rightly pointed out that the Singapore system is one of roaring success. This is undisputed. Our efficiency is second to none in the region, and we boast a high GDP per capital rate. It is true also that the concerns raised such as immigration pale in comparison with poverty in other countries. Alluding to a similar point, DPM Wong Kan Seng opined in 1993 that poverty makes a mockery of all forms of social freedoms.

However, the issue at hand is the lack of emotionally connectivity. Basic material comfort is important, but on its own cannot engender feelings of emotional connectedness. This I believe was the main point raised in last Saturday’s article, as well as by the student whom SM Goh, in the recent NTU Forum, had a brief dialogue with.

This is the point that the government should address, as it is pervasive among many in my generation.

Yes you can say that it is because we did not suffer the hardships of a new developing country, and that we have it too easy and take things for granted. That, however, does not change the fact that there is a lack of emotional connectedness many of us are feeling. Instead of using anecdotes of the good old days and boasting of our economic track record, why not address this lack of emotional connectedness head-on?


Picture from: NM3211 Breaking News.


Edited version of Mr Tan’s letter published by the Straits Times: