How far, in your society, should unpopular views be open to discussion?
Students should consider whether it is possible to censor off these unpopular views given how advanced technology is nowadays. Even if it is possible for the state to monitor and censor off these views, it is going to be a very tedious process of monitoring and expensive at the same time. Students should also consider the benefits of opening up these views for discussion. How will society benefit from it?
Unpopular views- views that are so “unpopular”; obscure that nearly no one knows about it OR views that are considered controversial/ against the mainstream
Some plausible arguments to consider:
- Unpopular views should be open up to discussion to help the growth and maturity of the society over time. Unpopular views in Singapore such as LGBT and the CPF issue should be debated so that we can see the society’s consensus on these controversial issues. At the same time, it helps individuals to be more open-minded and accepting of individuals who are different. If we are afraid of opening up a Pandora’s Box of social ills with these controversial issues, we can always ensure that these views are talked about in a measured and controlled manner. For instance, we always have the Hong Lim Park where we can discuss these issues. (However, we should note that free speech is not always evident here, as your names have to be recorded and you would need to apply for a permit to speak at the Speaker’s Corner).
- Unpopular views that are released at an inappropriate time should not be opened for discussion at all, especially when the country is not ready to deal with it. A case in point would be the insensitivity of Amos Yee releasing a video defaming the respected late Lee Kuan Yew while the nation was moaning about his death. Unpopular views regarding the tyranny of his rule will only serve to tear the social fabric of the nation apart. The timing is not ripe for Singapore society to debate and discuss about LKY’s rule and the type of political system we would like moving forward.
- It is getting increasingly harder to censor these obscure or even controversial views because of the advancement of technology- especially that of social media. Given how quickly messages and tweets can be passed around through social media, it is very hard to monitor individuals’ posts. In fact, social media liberates and empowers individuals to voice out their opinions, and given how vocal our youths are, it is only a matter of time that unpopular views surface in the media. When that happens, it may potentially serve as a learning point for society on how to deal with it.