Education, Life, Music

Who Cares About the General Elections 2020?

As a young man during my early 20s, I was quite apathetic towards politics and current affairs. After all, I’ve never had to exercise my right to vote (walkovers were very common back then) and my life went on as per norm. No biggie right?

All that changed after I started studying with Mr. Leong Yoon Pin.

He was a principled man who cared deeply about his surroundings and the people around him. The fact that he actually got upset seeing people smoke and harming pregnant ladies with second hand smoke speaks volumes about the kind of man he is. I would often observe folded newspapers on his sea-facing desk during my morning “harmony” (composition) pilgrimages to his Bayshore home. He seems to read the news everyday and is very well versed in current affairs. 

Being ever curious, I asked him “Why would you bother reading the news when it doesn’t really concern us at all?” He was obviously amused (and a little concerned) but patiently replied “Politics, current affairs, policies affect us in more ways than you might imagine”. That morning, he proceeded to tell me stories about how rare it was for Singaporeans to study overseas during his time, and how he thought he was  followed by “mysterious men” in Singapore after returning from his overseas studies, closing of Chinese choirs etc.. Frankly at the time, it sounded more like spy novel fiction than fact! The conversation however sparked a beyond-textbook interest in Singapore’s local history. Henceforth, my habit of daily news reading started as a means of understanding the world and to hear important messages that were being delivered to Singaporeans. When the internet came along, my reading list expanded to include news networks from overseas to get the really interesting stuff I don’t get to read about locally.

“Politics, current affairs, policies affect us in more ways than you might imagine”.

– Leong Yoon Pin

Fast forward to today, I’ve had the privilege of travelling to very interesting countries/territories because of music. I’ve made many good friends who are intellectuals, people who are often the crème de la crème of their own society and witnessed firsthand how politics and policies can shape their craft and the arts and culture in their respective cities. Good politics can uplift, unite and give hope to an entire generation, bring about greater equality between people regardless of the colour of one’s skin, the language one speaks or one’s religious, spiritual or sexual orientation beliefs. The converse holds true when arrogant, tone-death (pardon the pun), foolish people come into power. We see plenty of that in the news as well.

There is no such thing as a perfect system, only trade-offs, where we stand and what we might be willing to give up in exchange for something else. Be discerning, listen to both sides of the story, be rational, calm and assess the veracity and substance of one’s words and actions. Be careful of getting swept up by passion, charisma, group think etc. and please be kind with your comments. Being loud may get you attention, but being gentlemanly and civil is the surest way of commanding respect.

You are not too young nor too old to start paying attention to the news, politics or elections. Until a Star Trek future comes to fruition, a future where money is obsolete and humanity is united as a species, I’m afraid artificial constructs such as nationalism will have to do for now. Read, listen, watch, assess and pay attention. YOU, SHOULD care about General Elections 2020. Our future depends on it!

#albertsannotations #votewisely #payattention #currentaffairs #ge2020 #startrek