Benefits of the Yale, NUS union: a re-post of Carmen Hartono’s April 10th, 2012 piece in Today

As a graduate of a liberal arts college on the “left coast” of the United States – in fact my degree was in liberal studies – I would like to take some artistic liberties in response to the “saga” of the planned union between Yale and the National University of Singapore (April 7).

Firstly, I believe the liberation of a people is an art. It is not a science that can be measured by standards set by another people. The US is a worthy experiment in democracy and liberation. But, in my opinion, Singapore has also made remarkable strides in achieving freedoms for her people.

I have lived in this “city within a garden” for over a year. I have enjoyed the fruit from the labour of love by her leaders as they have landscaped what I see as a utopia. Because of their regard towards my civil liberties, I enjoy the freedom to take endless walks through nature preserves.

The zero tolerance for violence, vandalism and drugs creates an environment of safety, beauty and freedom from addictions. The transport system gives me the liberty to travel anywhere here to explore yet another place of interest.

The constant attention from the Government to the needs of every minority gives me a sense of a society based on a foundation of justice. But, for me personally, what astounds me the most is the freedom of religion found in Singapore. This can serve as a model for the world, including the US, where some feel we have freedom FROM religion and not freedom OF religion.

I hope Yale faculty members can liberate their minds enough to see the benefits to be found in the union with the NUS. It would truly be sad to see leaders in academia shackled by ignorance, misconceptions and misinformation.

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