You might have heard your parents said this to you: “Politics is full of conspiracy, human darkness and greed with little space left for uprightness, integrity and sincerity; it is wise not to be a part of it.” Yes, their advice is true to a certain extent; political corruption is still very rampant nowadays. However, we as citizens play a major role in the development of the nation as well. In fact, most of the revolutions in the history of humanity become successful when the people of a certain country took their own initiative to overthrow their ruler. Hence, it is quite an ironic that the ruler shall fear the ruled and not vice versa.
Reading and Watching
Your job as a citizen is to indirectly monitor the work of the government and if possible, offer useful suggestions to make improvements on certain policies as individual. To do that, we first have to be aware what is happening in our country, as the Chinese Proverb goes like this: “A scholar who is never out of his door knows everything in the country-秀才不出门能知天下事.” We don’t have to travel around to get the latest news, all you have to do is just switch on the television, or if you are photosensitive, newspapers, magazines and radio broadcast will serve as excellent sources of information. By reading newspaper and watching news on TV is the most efficient way to know more about the world around you. However, we have to carefully evaluate the sources as most of them might be biased and often offering one-side view and we have to make full use of our skills taught in history class as well as our own judgment. If ever there is a debate of current affairs in your institution or community, you will have a chance to get involved.
Learning some Humanities subjects
To those people who have a zest for politics and are eagerly seeking for opportunities to serve the country, you may wish to start nurturing your skills to prepare yourself to embark on this noble task. For example, you may like to take up a humanity course in your high school or college education. Humanity subjects are very relevant on the political aspect of our life. For example in history, the students get to explore the various reasons for the success of a benevolent and proficient ruler and the failure of foolish despot, learning never to repeat their mistakes against, the course is supposedly designed to cultivate talents and critical thinkers in the area of government to succeed in today’s global environment.
"By learning the past of the Southeast Asian countries, I can know how the past of has affected the statue quo of the twenty-first century. For Geography, it teaches me the inter-relationship between human and the environment. Many teenagers around the world today are apathetic about the happenings around them, and actually I was one of them too before I joined the Humanities Programme" - A student in Hwa Chong Institution offering his point of view about the school’s Humanity Programme
Participating in Clubs and Societies
School may also take more initiative in setting up clubs and co-curriculum activities and organizations like International Affairs Club, Mock Parliament Programme and Student Councils that raise the general knowledge of the students on current world affairs and unearth their neglected gift like strong leadership. You may also like to join some competition that can help to raise your awareness, for example, Model United Nation is held worldwide to serve as a simulation of the United Nation conference that aimed at educating the students on international issues. Students take roles as foreign diplomats who consult, debate and develop resolution to problems the world faced. By participating in this programme, students can have the true-time experience of being a UN Delegate, fighting for the rights of “your own nations”.
In addition, teachers can also use our website as an interactive platform to educate the young the basic understanding of the systems of government and ideology. You may have noticed the floating quiz at the left side of the website. After reading through reach of the articles, you can do some of the quizzes at the side. Conducting seminars and workshop on leadership of current affair talk are other alternatives to engage the students as well and getting them to be involved.
Apart from acquiring the skills of the government jobs, the character of the person who sought government service is also extremely important. A capable ruler also has to lead with compassion. The backbone of one’s authority depends greatly on the common masses. Hence, as the Confucianism has stressed, that only the benevolent king who rules his subjects with humanity and great care deserve respect and true obedience. Although Confucianism was strong supporter of autocratic rule, it does emphasize on the duties and obligation of the ruler to the ruled. Another theory is that to govern the people, one has to govern his or her own well, this include the responsibility to one’s character shaping and family(修身，齐家，治国，平天下) This said, you can just see that we are training ourselves to be leaders of tomorrow everyday but unfortunately many of us do not see and appreciate all these precious opportunities. Most of the time we take them for granted.
I am sure you can think of more ways to show your concern for your beloved country. Having said so , I should quote an old saying in China “Every folk is responsible for the rise and fall of his or her country- 国家兴亡，匹夫有责”
Confucianism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2008, March 27). Retrieved March 29, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucianism.