Should Unpopular Views Be Allowed In Your Society? Junior College Singapore Essay

761 words - 4 pages

How far, in your society, should unpopular views be open to discussion?
Out of bounds markers are known nowhere else in the world except in Singapore. The term is borrowed from the game of golf, where an out of bounds marker denotes the area beyond which playing is not allowed. However, unlike golf, the OB markers of Singapore’s political discourse are not immediately obvious. When interviewed in 2017, former editor-in-chief of the Straits Times, Cheong Yip Seng, shared that he found OB markers "bewildering", recounting that topics deemed off-limits during his tenure included stories about a stamp dealer, carpet auctions, monosodium glutamate, feng shui and unflattering pictures of politicians. Given the apparent triviality of such markers, one may wonder if there are really good reasons to keep unpopular views out of public discourse. However, I remain firmly of the view that my society is largely not built to withstand the fractures and friction that unregulated open discourse will impose on our social fabric. Therefore, unpopular views should largely not be open to discussion in my society.
Detractors may contend that a progressive society allows for open sparring of unpopular views with those that are commonly held and only through such actions can social progress be achieved. It is thought to be especially crucial for Singapore as its people are commonly regarded to be conformist, and would not automatically consider unpopular viewpoints unless it is popular to do so. However, I doubt that such a practice would be viable in Singapore’s context. Open discourse is idealistic in Singapore as the educational landscape has simply not prepared Singaporeans in a way that we can engage in discourse over unpopular views productively. As state education heavily focuses on the sciences which yield tangible outcomes that drive Singapore’s economy, rather than the humanities in which the only tangible outcome would likely be a citizenry critical of the government, most ‘educated’ Singaporeans do not leave the system equipped with the ability to discuss contentious issues in an informed manner and are rather likely to end up in petty squabbles. If that happens, instead of progressing as a society, we regress. In fact, the second largest market research organisation in the United Kingdom, Ipsos MORI, found Singapore to be the eighth most ignorant countries out of 40 countries in the world, demonstrating the...

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