Yale-NUS cancels programme teaching students to protest

Yale-NUS cancels programme to introduce students to ‘modes of dissent and resistance in Singapore. It would have included workshops on how to design protest signs, use citizen journalism and art to resist a government as well as “accommodationist” tactics such as pragmatic resistance and even “radical” strategies of civil disobedience.

The program is branded broadly as introducing students to various modes of dissent and resistance in Singapore and it has been cancelled, just about two weeks before it was slated to take place.

Led by local playwright Alfian Sa’at, in collaboration with programme manager Tan Yock Theng of the university. The activities planned included a screening of Singaporean Jason Soo’s 1987: Untracing The Conspiracy (this was about detainees arrested under the Internal Security Act in 1987).

Other activities, according to a line-up online previously, involved a workshop on designing protest signs, as well as a panel discussion with freelance journalist Kirsten Han, veteran journalist P.N. Balji and historian Thum Ping Tjin.

Alfian declined to speak with the press on the matter.

The cancellation is timely. There are groups of individuals who want to introduce instability to countries. The more Hong Kong’s there are in the world, the better.

But why do they work so hard to further their agenda? Because the more unstable a country is, the more a country is imploding into itself… the better it is for business. The individuals and organisations thrive on mayhem. They thrive on weak currencies, weak dollars, they are able to send in puppets to control the government, exploit the resources, time the financial markets to their will and make the country a strategic subordinate. 

To them, it’s just business.

Academics and the academia are the primary tools used by foreign powers (I say powers and not governments, because some of these individuals and organisations are not governments). The academia is easy to penetrate, they speak to malleable young minds and are a cheap tool to weaponise.

Yale-NUS authorities sent a letter to students explaining the sudden cancellation of the program. It said the course did not “critically engage with the range of perspectives required for a proper academic examination of the political, social and ethical issues that surround dissent”. It also added that the proposed activities and some of the speakers selected for it could “infringe our commitment not to advance partisan political interests in our campus”.

Yale-NUS need to be brought to task on two issues: firstly, not being able to identify the insidious course from the outset and to stop it from seeing the light of day to start with and secondly: this has nothing to do with “partisan political interest”.

It had never been about “partisan political interest”. This is about external foreign powers infecting and controlling Singapore. It is nothing to do with the PAP or the Workers Party or whatever party there is. It is not the dissent that is the problem, it is the means of dissent.

As Singaporeans, we ought to be very mindful and very alert as to the means a foreign entity is trying to manipulate us. School grounds have always been a fertile breeding place for radical ideas to take root and action. It was like this in the past, it is like this in the present and by now, we ought to have learnt our lesson and stamp out these activities before they can even take root.

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