Politicising students the SG50 way

By Will

I’m worried that tax monies are being used by the People’s Association (PA) in a thinly veiled attempt to politicise tertiary students.

“To celebrate the nation’s 50th birthday, the People’s Association Youth Division, together with all Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs), will be initiating the ‘SG50 People’s Association Youth Movement (PAYM) Loves Red’ Campaign.”

Now we know who is spending on whom, we can tell why they are spending 9 million on SG50 “projects” –

The issue is the how: “To commemorate the contributions of our founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the campaign should include a segment involving youths and participants to pay a tribute to Mr Lee. In addition, the projects should also involve youths and participants to reflect on our nation’s success and how the nation has arrived there.”

Students are forced to “commemorate” a man who stepped down as Prime Minister even before they were born (assuming this cohort is post-1990), and further told to specifically reflect on our “success”. Wonder how many of these students remember the SIP project?

To tell a story, it shouldn’t be a one sided one. Our tertiary institutions should be teaching critical thinking, not setting them up to prove a hypothesis from the People’s Action Party (PAP). Shouldn’t students be allowed to question that Asian nation born of colonialism and separatism, with a mainly Chinese population, be best compared with Hong Kong and Taiwan who have also developed rather well without Mr Lee Kuan Yew?

Secondly, without public consultation, the government has already spent billions on private companies (SBS, SMRT etc) which arguable have some positive outcomes for the public. This however is dangerous in that it is targeted specifically at our youth with no other outcome than to repeat one specific narrative.

Should this overspending result in higher taxation (hello… 10% GST?), it would be too late to review this. Beyond the already questionable PA selection process of exclusively PAP candidates as grassroots advisers, the public needs to be more aware of such tax funded campaigning… erm “commemorating” outside of a General Election.