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How far, in your society, should unpopular views be open to discussion?

INTRO

- unpopular views = views supported by a minority in society
- discussion = debate extensively, on a large platform i.e. social / mainstream media
- society and its context = Singapore: diverse racial and religious backgrounds, largely conservative but has
seen more debate revolving social issues / government policies / etc. in recent years

overarching thesis: they should be open to discussion, unless such views threaten social cohesion / national
security


BODY #1

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I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it. by Evelyn Beatrice Hall
> shows that expressing our views is a basic human right, and we all should have the right to say what
we want to, even if they may be contentious

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thesis: disagree. in some instances such views may even destabilise society and hence should even be
banned from being discussed. as a result, zero-tolerance stance should be taken.
(addresses should as should not)

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eg. extremist ideologies propagated by subversive groups - should not even be allowed on mainstream
media. such posts and videos with extremist teachings of the Quran are taken down by social media
platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
+ Internal Security Act: empowers the authorities to prohibit political organizations, ban subversive
documents and publications, detain people without trial i.e. anything that is deemed detrimental to the
national interest can be removed by the ISA



BODY #2

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(using the same quote) > show a flip side to argument in body #1

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complete freedom of expression vs. preventing social tensions > there is actually no contradiction

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thesis: expressing our views (if not detrimental to society) can even boost social cohesion and not weaken
it. discussion of such unpopular views should be opened and even encouraged.
(addresses should as yes it should be, how far as encouraged)

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eg. spreading awareness about what LGBTQ means and the advocation of equal rights for all. Singapore:
still a largely conservative Asian society which may not (as of now) be receptive of the LGBTQ
community (for instance, section 377a of the penal code which criminalizes consenting sexual acts
between men still remains) > however, discussion about LGBTQ community has brought about greater
understanding and empathy even from those who do not belong to this community
+ Pink Dot 2014: record crowd of 26000 turned up at Hong Lim Park to show support for the LGBTQ, a
much larger crowd than 2013 (21000) and 2012 (15000)


BODY #3

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thesis: discussion of controversial issues, which could be contentious when discussed in public, could still
be discussed for educational purposes.
(addresses how far as where such topics can be discussed)

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eg. propaganda made use of in Singapore history / controversial events that have occurred in Singapores
history that are now not as thoroughly discussed in textbooks (eg. various racial riots like Maria Hertogh
riots & Operation Coldstore / Operation Spectrum > heavily debated by the use of ISA to detain
political opposition, which was mentioned in body #1).



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such discussion should be carried out in the settings of a classroom > allows students to gain a deeper
understanding about Singaporean history and policy-making, without bringing up contentious issues in
public to ignite controversy



CONCLUSION

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reason why they are unpopular should be thoroughly considered: is it because they are truly offensive /
threaten national security or because people are unaware?

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purpose of discussion should also be an important factor: discussed based on educational purposes or to
cause destabilization of society?

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outcome of discussion: positive outcomes - yes, discussed / detrimental outcomes - should not be
discussed