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Inclusive education and awareness in Singapore to address youth radicalization

Letter: Teo Kueh Liang emphasizes addressing youth radicalization in Singapore by exploring causes, enhancing education on civil consciousness, and promoting inclusive religious teachings to prevent white supremacist ideologies.



by Teo Kueh Liang

I refer to the TODAY’s Commentary: “The key concern about white supremacy isn’t ethnicity, it’s youth. How can Singapore build good defences” (1 Feb).

Regarding the recent two unfortunate incidents of Singaporean teenagers radicalizing themselves online, it is necessary for the relevant authorities and the families concerned to further explore the reasons, and resorting to pragmatic measures to deal with the potential challenges or problems ahead.

While we puzzle over why would non-white Singaporeans buy into far-right extremist ideologies associated with white supremacism? We must not lower our guard, and must nip it in the bud at once as well as enforcing some preventive measures . However, we should not behave as“A bird startled by the mere twang of a bow-string” and “frightened out of our’s wits”.

The popularization of all kinds of information and the proliferation of the Internet have given young people unlimited opportunities and space to read and interact unboundedly.

For example, the online white supremacist extreme right movement in the West is seeking to exploit global social and political upheaval to promote intolerant ideas and at times inflict violence.

If these youths are unable or lack the ability to distinguish its essence, purpose, pros and cons, they will be easily misled, and even fall into being used to commit violence and outrageous crimes. These clearly can harm communities, the country, and other ethnic or religious groups.

If our youth are not duly guided by their teachers and parents to utilise/deploy their spare time upon undertaking some meaningful work or hobbies, then, they could be easily distracted and prone to surf various websites of their preferences to pursue their preferred interest. This might potentially lead them to the radicalised religious and white supremacy extreme right ideology websites.

Anyway, as parents, we need to spare some quality time to talk to and focus upon our growing children in regards of their school work, interests, aspirations and social networks, in order to get a deeper understanding of their thoughts, feelings and their behavioural tendencies.

As for our education systems, preferably, we need to further enhance the civil consciousness and moral values education so as to strike a healthy balance in ensuring our students are capable young men with sound minds and bodies or with outstanding intellectual abilities and moral standing. It is because they are the future pillar of our country.

As from the perspective of our society and country, we must provide sufficient access for such youth, where relevant, to authoritative religious education promoting inclusivity rather than exclusivism; facilitating their participation in peer networks fostering digital literacy and healthy norms of masculinity; and importantly, helping them develop, in creative ways, a deeper appreciation for the tolerant nature of Singapore’s secular, cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic society.

Last but not least, we must safeguard our system of total defence in a sustainable and efficient manner so as to deter the pervasive attacks from any radical extremism terrorists.

Most importantly, we must consistently uphold our standards of administration and governance in a highly transparent, equitable, just and accountable manner in order to gain the unwavering supports from the people too.


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