Trouble at Home

 Weekly column written for the Singapore Unbound newsletter. Sign up here.

The Straits Times, Singapore's main broadsheet, reported that some Singaporean parents are not sending their children to the US for college because of the ongoing campus protests. One student told the newspaper, "My parents dissuaded me from attending a university in the US because they felt I might get influenced by the culture to protest and get into trouble."

A PSA to these parents: Your children do not have to leave Singapore to learn to engage responsibly with the world. Last Friday, 40 students and alumni of Singaporean institutes of higher learning delivered 40 letters to the Ministry of Home Affairs opposing the newly proposed Maintenance of Racial Harmony Bill. Their letter, a model of reason and clarity even if you don't agree with their stance, deserves an answer from the Ministry. It also shows clearly how student activism around Israel/Gaza has broadened to a critique of censorship and repression at home in Singapore.

Now, as their parents fear, these students are being investigated by the Singapore police for potential violations of the Public Order Act, which defines unlawful assembly as the assembly of just one person. The students, a few wearing the keffiyeh and t-shirts that said, "There are no universities left in Gaza," did nothing more than walk together to the entrance of the Ministry, where two of them were allowed inside to deliver their letters.

Parents should ask themselves if they wish for their children to live under a regime of fear.They should ask themselves if it is right for their children to be investigated by the police for acting according to their conscience. If the answers are no, parents should know what to do at the upcoming general elections. 


Join us this Saturday for our Pride open-mic and raffle at the Suite Bar on the Upper West Side, Manhattan. Free and open to all. Details

Jee Leong Koh
June 13, 2024


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