Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ask not why you were not invited, ask why they must invite you

Ask not why you were not invited, ask why they must invite you.

The above statement was what first came to my mind as I read this post by Ms. Vigneswari V Ramachandran who is head of the Reform Party's (RP) youth wing.

I find it rather presumptuous for the RP to perhaps imply that it must be invited to the "Young Guns" forum and that by not inviting them, it was "deliberately left out"; and judging by the second paragraph of Ms. Vigneswari's  post, the RP seems to be implying that this non-invitation is part of the "'media blackout' on the Reform Party and its candidates".

It should be pointed out that the RP was not the only party that was not present at the forum - other parties such as the Singapore People's Party, the Singapore Democratic Alliance and Socialist Front were also not present but so far, I have not come across any complaints from them about not being invited to the forum. Of course, perhaps these other parties were invited but they declined to attend.

The point however is: why must the RP be invited? The only plausible reason offered which I can see from Ms. Vigneswari's post is that the RP believes it has "important points to share the students of NUS [sic] as they have the right to know whatever we [the RP] wish to share".

Okay but what's stopping the RP from organising its own forum and invite NUS students (or anyone else, for that matter) to know about the "important points" it wishes to share? Why must the NUS Students' Political Association (NUSPA) invite the RP so that the latter can share its "important points"? If the NUSPA has to invite everyone and anyone who thinks they have something important to share with NUS students, there will be perhaps an endless list of people they have to invite.

In the end, it is well within the NUSPA's right to choose who they want to invite or not invite - if you are invited, good but if you are not invited, then so be it; there is really no need to question why you were not invited and give the impression that you demand to be invited.

Also, I find it rather curious that besides sending it to parties within NUS, the RP apparently also sent Ms. Vigneswari's post to the Deans of Yale University and Duke University. While I understand that these two universities have joint programmes with NUS, I do not really understand why the RP thinks it necessary to bring these two universities into what is essentially a private disagreement between it and the NUSPA.

Was the RP attempting to demonstrate to these two universities that NUS is perhaps somewhat politically unfree  just because the NUSPA did not invite it to a forum? If this is indeed the case, then I must say that the RP must really think a lot of itself. (On this note, if this website is to believed, Yale and Duke are not the only overseas universities which NUS have partnerships with - perhaps these other universities are feeling sore at being "deliberately left out" by the RP)

To conclude, I just like to point out that while it is good that a political party has self-confidence in itself, self-confidence can easily be interpreted as over-confidence, if not arrogance. Also, while one may have the right to make oneself heard, this is not the same as a right to demand to be heard.

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