by Patrick Liew on August 27, 2018


For Singapore to progress, we need to speak up and do our part.

As we debate over ideas and ideologies and proposals and presuppositions, let’s aim to have a more constructive discussion both on the Net and otherwise.

Here are some suggestions on how to engage each other purposefully for the greater good of our nation.

1. First, we should be prepared for a conversation.

That means we have to do our own research and analysis about a proposed topic of discussion.

2. Aspire to have objective, balanced and meaningful outcomes.

Outcomes that will not only value-add to one another but also to the country.

2. Discuss merits and demerits of an idea.

Don’t just grumble, gripe, and grouse.

And if possible, propose solutions for current and future problems.

3. Focus on the subject matter and not subject each other to any form of negativity.

Debate about the message and not about the messenger, after all none of us are perfect.

Do not take things personally and call each other names and seek all kinds of harm on each other.

4. Respect each other and each other’s views.

Listen to one another and try to understand the other party’s perspective.

Be gracious to accept that positions and views are evolving and they can be changed.

5. When a presupposition is put forth, question the epistemological basis of that view.

For example, “How do you know it’s true?”

Just as importantly, “How do you know that you know is true?”

6. Evaluate an opinion from all angles and do not accept an opinion on face value.

Ensure that the discussion is based on evidence and not on assertions and anecdotes.

Be mindful that there is a hierarchy of evidence in terms of credibility and relevance.

At the highest level of evidence are clinically-proven evidence.

Those evidence have gone through vigorous studies, double-blind tests, and reviews by experts.

And are published in a credible journal for further scrutiny.

7. Do not unwittingly create or spread lies, half-truths, and misinformation.

Such misinformation results frequently from make-beliefs, hearsay, and pop culture.

As they say, if you’re not contributing to the solution, you’re a problem.

8. Aspire to be responsible, accountable and transparent.

That does not mean that there will be no conflict, controversies and other kinds of challenges.

By distilling a variety of ideas, it can lead to positive results.

It can also help us become a more united, better-informed, and resilient people.

In summary, let’s have a more healthy discussion in cyberspace, coffee shops and other public places, and behind closed doors.




I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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