DPM Teo: We need to be mindful of tensions and fault lines in society

DPM Teo: We need to be mindful of tensions and fault lines in society

One of the ways to do so is to be mindful of the tensions in our society, and learn how to deal with them as public officers, he said. "Race and religion remain sensitive, and other possible fault lines have emerged, including citizenship, sexual orientation, and social values," he added. He also spoke of the dangers of social media, in terms of its ability to "reinforce and entrench" polarising views.


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

More information can be found in DPM Teo's speech below:

Good morning. I am happy to join you here at the 11th National Security Seminar. Hardly a day passes when we don't see news on turmoil, terrorism, fear or breakdown in social order in one country or another around the world. We have to deal with these situations, but it is also important for us to create circumstances in which these situations do not arise.

Societies around the world are being disrupted by social tensions

In the past year, we have seen several societies disrupted by social tensions, even in some surprising cases.

In May, riots broke out in a suburb of Stockholm and spread to half a dozen other cities and towns The Economist called it "a blazing surprise", disrupting "a Scandinavian idyll". Over a period of 9 days, the rioters, who were mostly youths, set fire to some 150 vehicles, and two schools 1 causing some US$9.5 million of damage.

The riots were attributed to a host of issues, including youth unemployment, especially among immigrants; widening income inequality; and tensions between native and immigrant populations. While the violence was an expression of discontent rooted in real socio-economic issues, the Swedish PM's remarks were noteworthy. He said, "It's important to remember that burning your neighbour's car is not an example of freedom of speech, it's hooliganism."

Even in tolerant Sweden, there is a limit to the form that public expression can take.

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