Everyone has the right to have a voice, or do they? I used to have a Twitter account and was having a harmless discussion with a stranger, but unknown to me she had forwarded what I considered a harmless tweet to another person who then tweeted me saying: “what’s your problem – get a life you stupid f…..g c..t”. I didn’t respond and closed my account immediately thereby losing an avenue to have a voice. He won and I lost.
I grew up in what I believed was a democracy and have always believed in democratic values but now I am starting to change my mind. Today’s social media platforms have not only given a voice to people that don’t deserve it, but also unprecedented power that is fraught with danger.
I returned to Singapore a few years ago to attend a reunion promoted by the then Singapore government to thank the Australian Communications people who had helped Singapore during the struggle with Indonesia in the early 1960s. Our last function was afternoon tea at Raffles with a talk by the then Australian Defence Attaché. He told us that his father was a proud Queenslander and saw no reason to leave Queensland let alone Australia! But he ended up in Singapore one day with his wife to enjoy their grandchildren. One day the attaché found his father sitting wistfully on the balcony deep in thought. “What’s up, Dad” he asked. His father looked at him and said, “Imagine what Lee Kuan Yew could have done for Australia”.
I was a huge fan of Lee Kuan Yew. He thought he was democratic but in my mind, he was a benevolent dictator. Singapore today is a better place because of him.