The Online Citizen wishes to express our utmost sadness and disdain for the reported vandalism committed on the Cenotaph, where the word “democracy” was reportedly spray-painted on the monument (http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/cenotaph-cleaned-after-reported-vandalism).
We can only guess why anyone would wish to deface the Cenotaph with such an action, but the very act is an insult to those who have shed blood, sweat and tears to liberate our nation from oppressors. The Cenotaph commemorates those who lost their lives during the World Wars. This action is nothing short of defacing the graves of our pioneers, those who have given up their very lives for the people of this nation. Under no circumstances is it excusable.
If the intention was to make a statement about the state of democracy in Singapore, then the more effective way would be to engage in open and civilised conversation with those who matter. This act does nothing to help that, and only serves to aggravate the perception that champions of democracy are nothing more than a destructive lot bent on making a point, not taking the responsibility to fulfil important goals.
And if it has nothing to do with championing democracy, merely an act of wanton enthusiasm, then all the more woeful for disrespectfully using the word on such a sacred site. “They died that we might live”, and the least we can do is show a little respect for what they died for.
Nevertheless, whoever the perpetrators, we hope that the authorities will choose to take this as an opportunity to engage with them and find out their grouse, rather than just resort to punitive measures.
Lastly, today being ANZAC Day, we would like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the brave soldiers around the world who have put their lives in harm’s way for the freedom of mankind.