SINGAPORE - More Singaporeans remain socially conservative - preferring some censorship in the public interest and rejecting gay lifestyles - although the younger generations are increasingly liberal.
In the survey of 4,000 citizens commissioned by the Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) exercise, a section on social values asked respondents to pick between opposing goals.
For example, they were asked if they preferred "limits on freedom of expression to prevent social tensions" or "complete freedom of expression even at risk of social tensions". Some 40 per cent went for limits, while 37 per cent went for complete freedom.
The rest had no preference. Asked if they preferred to "censor media content to protect public interest" or "do not censor media content at all", 39 per cent picked censorship while 36 per cent went the other way.
On alternative lifestyles, more respondents rejected gay lifestyles and marriage than accepted them. Around 47 per cent said they rejected gay lifestyles, while 26 per cent said they accepted them; 55 per cent rejected gay marriage, while 21 per cent accepted it. The rest were neutral.
What jumped out to researchers was the generational disparity in respondents' picks. On gay lifestyles especially, the younger the respondent, the more likely he was to signal acceptance.
Among those aged 50 to 69 years old, for example, the scales were tipped 56 per cent to 20 per cent with the majority rejecting gay lifestyles. This balanced out among those aged 20 to 34: the proportion of those who accepted and rejected gay lifestyles was even at 35 per cent each.
A similar trend was observed in respondents' picks on censorship and freedom of expression.