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What it Means to be Free.

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What it Means to be Free Since the independence of Singapore, freedom has taken on a whole new meaning in the minds of many Singaporeans. As we recall with misty-eyed nostalgia the fight for our national independence, we'll wave our flags, and maybe sing a patriotic song or two in the bargain. Just like we do every year. But patriotism has an edgier quality to it these days than it used to. A sort of hopeful desperation creeps into any conversation on the merits and pitfalls of a free society. It seems almost as if we are trying to convince ourselves that we are still the same people that we were before that day in August. And it just doesn't seem to be working all that well. What is freedom? Better minds than many have debated and orated and philosophised over what 'freedom' really means. Freedom is a very contextual word. There is personal freedom, political freedom, and religious freedom and market freedom. A society or a government looks at the role of freedom and then decides just how much and how little it needs to allow or to regulate in order to keep things from falling apart. Some rules and regulations are needed to keep absolute freedom from turning into absolute anarchy. ...read more.


Traffic laws, certainly, but there are environmental hazard protection laws, percentage of MSG or food colouring in your food or drinks, smoking laws, alcohol drinking laws and child protection laws. The list goes on and on. Concerns for public and personal safety make up a large bulk of the laws that have been passed. And if they indeed help keep us safe from too much sugar and colouring, well then, most of us will be happy with a bit more nutritional content to start off our morning. We have come to depend on safety laws. Perhaps we have come to depend on safety laws too much. Perhaps we have been lulled and regulate enough for our own safety that we really believe that if a law is designed to keep us safe, it has to be considered as a good law. And that it will, indeed, keep us safe. Even if it means that we cannot be free. There is always a trade-off between freedom and safety. Since independence, the trade-off has become much more visible. I think most people will notice some extra police and security guards on duty when we go out, after the 911 attack of the terrorists. ...read more.


We must not take this freedom for granted, as any other invaders could easily take them away. Thus, National Service was also introduced to make sure that every man reaching 18 needs to protect Singapore and so that we can still continue our freedom. Freedom did not come easily. But see how easily it can be given up. It gives us the power to transcend our paradigms, to swim upstream, to rewrite our scripts, to act based on principle rather than reacting based on emotion or anything else. Thus, freedom cannot be viewed as if it was already there for you, freedom is a thing that you have to work hard to achieve and strive for. It was a long struggle for people then and they did this just so that they would be free. You may think that freedom is easy to achieve, but it is really hard to do that. We should always treasure it, all kinds of freedom, democratic freedom, human rights and citizenship, in order to have a prolonged period of freedom. Freedom is not only hard to obtain, it is also hard to maintain. So for all those people who think that freedom is extremely easy to achieve, think again. Treasure the freedom you have now and do not regret later on in future. (1274 words) ...read more.

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