Shania Loh, Seedly Student Ambassador 2020/21 at Seedly
Updated on 30 Oct 2020
The simplest answer to this would be because it affects EVERYONE.
There’s a lot at stake for the US and the rest of the world especially during this wild roller coaster of a ride that is 2020……
You would think that an election held miles away would have little impact on us in Singapore, but as a small nation, we are largely affected by what bigger nations such as the US does.
“When the US sneezes, the whole world catches a cold”
The US underwrites a lot of the world order that we know of and as the world’s superpower, they have a lot in their hands. From the words of Former President Barack Obama “if we are not at the table helping to shape solutions, then a vacuum develops, and it’s very hard to get coordinated international action” US has to walk the walk and talk the talk. By the looks of the current presidency under President Trump, let’s just say it isn’t going too well.
Let’s be honest, US politics is complicated for many of us. What is a democrat? What is a republican? SO MANY QUESTIONS! Before we dive into just why it’s so important for Singaporeans to be involved in this year’s US elections, let’s go through a brief summary of the presidential candidates’ stand towards certain issues which are necessary to note in order to understand the effects that they would have on us:
Now let’s dive into the areas that would have a large impact on Singapore which we should pay close attention to during the elections:
Singapore investors in the US markets will have to tread lightly during the coming weeks to monitor how the presidential results will affect the stock markets. Sure, everyone wants to earn a quick buck during this volatile period, but this election is beyond the numbers and the monies. You can read up more on the impact the election has on your portfolio over here or feel free to read up on other news sites!
Whatever the next president does in his coming term will shape the next decade on all fronts. We need to be concerned about the kind of values he upholds to help his people and emerge stronger from the pandemic.
The President will have to focus on controlling the coronavirus outbreak in several states and provide aid for its citizens, especially those who have been retrenched and struggling to make ends meet. Singapore has long relations with the US and is reliant on the US economy. Take the US-China trade war for example. Singapore’s economy has been tipped to enter a recession because of the trade war that continues to shake Southeast Asian countries.
(Source: The Independent Singapore News)
If the US continues to struggle during this difficult time, it would be hard for us as a global economy to pick up. It would be key for us to monitor and keep an eye on what the US does in the coming year in these aspects.
For those who haven’t heard, there is a climate clock in New York right now that counts down the time we have left before climate change becomes completely irreversible. Approximately, we are left with only 7 years, which clearly isn’t a lot :(
(Source: The New York Times)
One thing the global lockdown taught us for sure is that nature thrives without humans (oceans are clearer, animals are roaming free in the streets!!!) and we are indeed the problem.
The US is amongst the BIGGEST emitters of greenhouse gasses in the world and IF President Trump were to be re-elected, he wants to be formally excluded from the Paris Agreement (which aims to strengthen and support countries’ ability and efforts to deal with the impacts of climate change).
Imagine the impact it will have on smaller nations, they might be thinking - “Since the US isn’t taking climate change seriously, why should we?”.
Singapore has been doing her part in combatting climate change, such as introducing carbon tax and greening of our buildings, but more can be done. Lucky for us, our government knows the significance of climate change. However, that doesn’t mean that the absence of the US in the Paris Agreement won’t affect us, as it would still set us backwards on our climate change efforts with the lack of US contribution and commitment to the cause. This should be a wide topic for us to discuss and take a stand.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has been louder and stronger than ever since the death of George Flloyd. We have seen the number of Americans flooding the streets, fighting desperately for change and for justice. This has caused a ripple effect internationally where other nations have seen protests and demand for change in their own country’s system.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has led to conversations in Singapore revolving around minority experiences and understanding the privilege that most of us have. Singapore prides herself as a multiracial society with law and order in place to prevent any violent protests or riots in the streets. However, we tend to take our safety and peace for granted.
Singaporeans are turning to social media to voice their opinions on the matter and more of us are becoming increasingly aware (or #woke) of the inequality between race and even gender. It is important for us to discuss these topics, understand and empathize, before seeking out answers. Singaporeans generally are quick to past comments or opinions on social media regarding racial inequality but aren’t quick to take action. The majority of us are happy with the status quo instead of demanding change.
This year’s US election has taught us that change is uprising and that discussion on injustice and inequality doesn’t end in America. The next president has to work on integrating minorities in their society, and not deprive them of the basic rights that they deserve. The US deserves a president that unites the people regardless of the colour of their skin rather than divide them further. What the US does is ultimately going to affect the rest of the world in a domino effect. So how are we, as Singapore, going to spark a change in our own society?
With less than 10 days before Election Day, we should take some time to think and read up about Trump and Biden's policies to form our own views regarding issues in the world that matters most to us. There’s no harm in learning more about what’s going on in the world.
The Ministry of Education has encouraged students to read widely to gain a better understanding of global issues and understand different perspectives and cultures. What better way to start than with the US elections? All of us across different age groups should be involved.
Perhaps, this helps to shed light on Singapore’s politics too. Our elections may not be as entertaining (apart from the occasional drama…..) but it is still important for all of us to be aware of local policies that would shape Singapore’s story for generations to come.
If you think that some things should change in this world after diving deeply into US politics, you can always start in your local community, right here in Singapore. As cliché as it sounds, it's time we be the change we’d like to see in the world :)