|The man himself, Hussein Mutalib.|
|This guy raised concerns over the MM's comments about Islam being unaccommodating and preventing the full integration into society of the Malay/Muslim communities. A very important point, I think.|
The room was completely packed, not a spare seat to go and many of us were left either sitting in the stairways or standing at the back. It was great listening to the politicians really strive to educate the students and persuade us to side with them. It wasn't a hustings, nor a rally. With the exception of Kenneth Jayeratnam all the discussants seemed to be just holding a conversation with the people. Giving their opinions as they thought it. KJ's opening speech just seemed to be almost a manifesto or official response to government policies which dragged on and on, until I could pay attention no more. It's not his fault, he's 'cambridge trained'. I've listened to many global politicians, many of whom are 'oxbridge trained' and one thing you notice is that they lack personality and a personableness that will get them elected. They don't engage with the people, they rarely read the atmosphere of a room, rather, they often think that if you can spill the facts and the facts are correct and the responses are (subjectively) correct - then that must equal full support. I hope KJ and politicians like him realise, that's not the case. Being on paper the MVP won't guarantee you a place on the team.
|Left - Right: the Presenter, Sylvia Lim NCMP for WP; Michael Palmer MP for PAP; Kenneth Jayeratnam for the Reform Party and Chee Soon Juan on behalf of SDP (unable to contest elections because he is bankrupt).|
|Chee Soon Juan receiving the token of appreciation. Every panelist received one.|
Chee Soon Juan did not disappoint. We expected him to come out and say things like he saw them. We expected that to be entirely anti-PAP. We expected him to paint the PAP as distanced from the actual situation and he did. He's a former lecturer himself, so he knows how to engage the audience and he definitely engaged me. I agreed with a lot that he said but mainly because he was appealing to our beliefs in norms and values rather than practicalities.
I won't say I have a favourite because it's not that easy. Singapore is not a Western nation and as much as the "Asian Values" argument has been thrown out of the window of late, we must accept that people over here do place different value on different things. I also believe whilst I'm here on the student visa I'm not supposed to be in any way politically active - which means steering clear of rallies etc. which is fine by me.
|The press were there... in my |
lecture... to cover the event. How often does
|The cameraman was there for Channel NewsAsia.. |
I sure do hope I'm on TV!! :D
I don't know... this is just my observation from listening and partaking in two and a half months of lectures and tutorials. I can't see the negatives of Singaporean society because I am only an outsider looking in. I can't vote and neither do I care. It just seems that the general population blame the strength of the government or the inadequacies of the opposition without looking at the role they personally have to play in the further democratisation of their country. NUS is really great for understanding this kind of stuff. I'm just really lucky to be here in election year. It brings my course alive just as it did last year when it was British election year.
|Every student likes getting free stuff. Free food and drink and book, just for turning up to a lecture.. NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL HIGHER EDUCATION!|