President Halimah Yacob speaking to 60 young people at a dialogue session organised by the National Youth Council (Source: The Straits Times).

Netizens comment on President Halimah’s statement that young people should listen when advocating

In the Straits Times report dated on 30 September, it is reported that President Halimah Yacob had stressed the importance of listening when advocating as it helps one become more effective at advocating for a certain point of view or a group at a dialogue session organised by the National Youth Council (NYC).

Speaking to 60 young people, she stated discourse is a two-way process, and encouraged young people to also evaluate what others have to say.

Madam Halimah, who gained a reputation as a unionist and MP as a champion for workers and needy Singaporeans, said people should treat each other with respect even when they do not agree a particular point of view.

She also emphasised the need to “separate the wheat from the chaff” – to discern the facts of an issue before launching into a debate, saying, “Sometimes a lot of discussions take place on things which are not factual, and then it goes on and on and gets into a situation where it’s completely not helpful.”

Madam Halimah was also asked about whether all Singaporeans have equal opportunites to succeed.

Responding to this, she said every school is allocated the resources to provide the best they can to their students.

She said that the quality of education today and the resources dedicated are tremendous.

“When I was in school, there was only the blackboard, chalk and a big ruler – if you’re not doing your work, if you’re talking when she’s teaching, the teacher would hammer you on the head,” she said.

She then added that at the same time, society is recognising that there are different, non-academic tracks to success, and there are also opportunities to pick up skills later on in life through continuous learning, she added.

Many readers commented on the report criticising the hypocrisy of her comments, saying that she should have said this to PAP leaders.

Ron Hon wrote, “Oh gosh. Please, say this in the face to some of the pap leaders. Please, recall back how they show their disrespectful to the opposition. Suppressed and mocked the opposition.”

Lee Soh Geok wrote, “She doesn’t even respect the game rules and abandoned her paternal lineage. The 10-man CPA should resign in protest as they with their professional qualifications, experiences and seniority aren’t paid to babysit a totally unqualified President, with no professional financial management skills nor tenure experience. As guardians, they fail even at the very basic to protect the integrity of this Presidency seat by quietly condoning the act.
Oxley revealed the true colours of the mastermind in this leadership. It had forced his siblings to step out, against their will, to rally the entire public, local and international as co-witnesses for the old man’s final will. The episode has not ended and now with his man at AGO, the hunt is set after the nephew. There is no stopping that Piper! What’s worrisome is the rub off effects this has on our 4G leaders. Blatantly teaching them how to disregard the values, the people, the systems, etc.”

Jennifer Tan wrote, “‘Madam Halimah, who gained a reputation as a unionist and MP as a champion for workers and needy Singaporeans, said discourse is a two-way process, and encouraged young people to also evaluate what others have to say.’. Seems like a good message for her to present to the incumbents? Singaporeans are apparently still awaiting for the ‘two way discourse’.”

Yt Lam wrote, “If your ex-bosses (now you are so-called their boss) listen to us, you wont be here telling us how to listen. If you mean the people must listen ALWAYS, please stop. It is a disgusting topic. We are tired of people telling us to listen when they themselves don’t.”

Robert Lim wrote, “When the Govt wanted a PE specifically to be reserved for Malays, your boss and team did not know how to separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s why you were appointed. Not that we doubt your capability, but you are Indian by race. And Mr Nathan had served 2 terms in recent times before Mr Tony Tan.
I would like to ask you now you are President, if a more capable Chinese Muslim (with a Malay mum) or an Eurasian Christian (with a Malay mum) from the commercial sector had submitted his/her intention to compete in the recent PE against you, would he or she gets approval from CC and PEC?
So the revised PE Scheme got ‘flaws’ and needs further fine-tuning to make it super clear so that it does not cause controversy in future. Or is it easier and better to revert back to Appointed President Scheme?”

Danny Ng wrote, “The fish rots from the head, think more of what has gone wrong and not what has to be pushed through without regard to our pledge.”

Bernadette Tay wrote, “You have shown no respect to Singaporean when you accepted appointment of a Malay reserved President knowing you are an Indian by birth. So please shut your mouth.”

Raymond Koh wrote, “Enough of this face lah. Everyday bombarding us with what she say and do. Trying so hard to make her the people’s choice.
For 6 years we hardly hear about Tony Tan. Now every other we hear about Halimah.
Wait. So, Tony really did nothing.”

Daniel Dsbn Boon wrote, “Respect has to be earned from the Singapore citizens, since there is no voting, there will be no respect from the Singaporean, it’s as simple as that.”

Karlson Yap Guorong wrote, “Did Halimah try to say this to LHL and his team? Did she listen to Singaporeans who disagree of her walkover?”

Raeesah Khan wrote, “How about your government lead by example? What a hypocrite!”

Au Kah Kay wrote, “It applies in the field of politics. You can disagree but agree to disagree respectfully and with civility and not through personal attacks.”

Mike Tan wrote, “Her participation in the racist election is already showing disrespect to the constitution and the ethnic group she represents. ”

Peter Lim wrote, “You do not ask for respect. It has to be earned. We can listen but we do not have to be yes man. You do understand and respect us, would you?”

Keith Yeo wrote, “Yes, respect people who disagree with you. Do not sue them. Do not use ISD on them. Do not bankrupt them. Do not jail them without trial. Do not use Government propaganda media to discredit, or disgrace them.”

Matthew Chua Boon Chu wrote, “Respect has to be earned. by abandoning your own race, you have lost the respect of everyone!”

Yuenmeng Fanfan wrote, “Do not just criticise others when you are not prepared to be criticised.”

Andy Wee wrote, “Did they hear what they want to hear? How about the national interest bill that was sidelined for some kayu related question?”

Selvaraj Raj wrote, “Tell that to your ex boss. Listening is also important when advocating.”

Gregory Tan wrote, “Surely, we can see that eversince she ascended to President, she’s relinquish her Parliamentary Speaker position, can now be ‘neutral’ & urged for ‘gentleness’.
What hypocrisy!!!”