The air was electric. The mood was palpable. On the evening of January 26th, I walked into LT 23 at NUS expecting to see the opposition politicians, all fired up to pounce upon the lone PAP representative at the NUS Student Political Association (NUSSPA) Young Guns forum. I walked in expecting to see meek students just shyly eyeing the arrived guests with a sense of apathy, not caring about who sat before them or what the potential guests represented. What I saw surprised me. It was a very different scene from what my mind had envisioned for me.
I saw a scene that gave me some hope that perhaps the national discourse was not as fractured I had thought was the case since the general elections last year. That our people can come together to have a frank and mature discussion about the problems facing our nation and what can we as concerned citizens can do. I was greeted by the sight of Mr Vikram Nair, Mr Gerald Giam, Dr Vincent Wijeyshingha and Ms. Nicole Seah chatting and laughing amongst themselves as though they were old friends.
Many things were said during the forum (link) with the audience of varsity students. The one thing that rang clear that night was that regardless of ideology and methodology, was that the four politicos in the room want what is best for the nation and its people. It is a common theme that we can all subscribe to. The NUSSPA did a great thing that night. It showed young Singaporeans that we can all come together in the spirit of non partisan ship and play an active roll in our burgeoning democracy.
At the end of the day all of our politicians are still human beings, regardless of the temptation to see them as larger than life, they are but mortal beings like you and I. The scene I that night saw was a very frank reminder that democracy is a process, not an end, and it is something we all need to continuously play a part in to refine and advance. And I came away with a renewed sense of hope that someone within that LT will be moved enough by circumstances in the future to lead a nation in need.
I could go on and on about what went on that night but instead of telling you what transpired, I think it is better for me to show you, the reader, what the audience was thinking and what the politicos were doing. For those interested you can see the entire video of the forum here. You can view some of the images below (click on them for a larger image).