According to reports, schools in Singapore are conducting “lockdown” drills, with teachers and students locking themselves in classrooms and hiding from sight, in case an intruder with heinous intentions enters the premises. This type of drill is a departure from the previous focus on fire drills. While I understand the need for our situation response drills to be in line with changing circumstances, I cannot help but ask, why now?
As I have said before and which I will say again. Based on news reports, the threat of terrorism is not higher now than it was in the last few years. Is the government simply slow to react in updating its strategies or is there a deeper design in the timing?
Rumour has it that the government plans to hold general elections in 2019. Amid concerns with rising prices, stagnant wages, a lack of innovation on the part of the government and increasing discontent with the high salaries of the ruling elite, is the heightened focus on the threat of terrorism a convenient distraction?
Fear has always been a good motivator for people to stick with the status quo. As they saying goes - "Better the devil you know". Will the heightened fear for the threat of terrorism mean more support for the ruling party? Not because the people actually believe that the ruling party is the best choice but because they are led to believe that they have no other choice in times of danger?
The threat of terrorism is a very serious matter. Countless people the world over have lost their lives as a result of this scourge. While it would be prudent to safeguard against it, it would be reprehensible to mislead people into thinking that the threat is bigger than it is just to score vote share. Not only will this misuse trivialise the tragic effects of terrorist attacks, it is also akin to lying to the public.
Our school children are our future. They deserve a childhood that is innocent and happy. Not one that is marked by fear. While preparations are prudent, the timing of it gives me pause. I hope the childhoods of our children are not marred as a means to garner bigger vote share.
Does the government actually have new intel on increased dangers? Or is this just a ruse to mask the bigger issues that voters may be concerned with? If it is the former, then I applaud the government for acting on it. If it is the latter, I can only hope that voters will be more erudite and not be taken in by efforts to fan the flames of fear.