Reading this study conducted by Yale in relation to fear and its relationship with conservative views, it becomes clear to me why Singaporeans seem so unwilling to embrace change. Even if there are things that people are not happy about, it takes a lot for us to be willing to try something different.
According to reports by Yale, fear is ingrained young and once ingrained, those so indoctrinated are strongly motivated to stay free from harm. at all cost even if it defies logic.
Only when they feel “safe” will they embrace more liberal ideals. Translate this into a Singaporean context, is this why we seem so reluctant to even consider anything against the grain?
Is there the misplaced notion that anything remotely “different” or non conforming is “unsafe” and therefore should be avoided at cost? Does this explain our aversion to change? Taking another step back, has this fear been ingrained young and has the government played a part in this indoctrination of fear?
We certainly like to pigeon hole things. This goes straight to the heart of government administration. From the forms that we have to fill in to our NRIC details, everything has to “fit” So much so that mixed race people have to be forced into category – ie. People of Philippine descent as Malays – just so they are put somewhere. Even if it doesn’t fit, it will be made to fit.
Is this efficiency or is it blind adherence out of fear? After all, this is how we have managed to have a Malay President who is arguably Indian. Jokes aside, is this why we are blindly loyal to the notion that there is no better party than the Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) to lead the country?
Now, I am not suggesting that they aren’t the best party. All I am saying is this – are we consistently returning them to power because we genuinely feel they are the best or because of baseless fear for change?
Applying the Yale study to a Singaporean context, it may well be possible that we have been ingrained with fear since young and as adults blindly make decisions based on fear. I don’t have concrete answers on this but it is certainly food for thought worth exploring ahead of the next election.
If we do decide that the PAP is indeed the right party for us. It must be for the right reasons. It cannot simply be a fear based reaction. Otherwise, we end up shortchanging ourselves and our future generations to come.