Photoshoot with Daniel Subramaniam and the new BRATs committee members.

IF 2013 was anything to go by, 2014 will see plenty of issues being discussed in the public sphere, be it face-to-face or, more likely than not, on social media.

Last year, we saw our newsfeeds flooded with posts ranging from the 13th General Election to the raunchy antics of Miley Cyrus. This past week we’ve been flooded with news on the reduced price of kangkung following weeks of posts about rising prices.

With so many things to tweet and talk about, we should not be afraid to voice our opinions on issues that we find important. Social media today has empowered us by providing a platform to share our thoughts with so many people and so often as well. However, as Uncle Ben warned Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

It’s easy for us to get carried away, especially when we’re shielded by our computer screens and that “Enter” button is right under our fingers.

And sometimes, those instant, rage-fuelled reactions may not go down so well with others. Particularly so when they are knee-jerk reactions to issues which may be touchy to others. As much as open discussion and debate can be constructive, we must remember that constructive criticism can only shine through when we stop to think first.

With so many opportunities to express ourselves these days as youth, it would be a real shame if we were to dismiss those opportunities by commenting using our emotions rather than reason. Just looking at the past two weeks, social media has exploded with stories such as the #kangkung trend or the news about school children getting their heads stuck in chairs on the first day of school.

We often treat such viral news dimissively even though it could lead to more constructive discussion on bigger issues. It seems to me that we only speak our mind when a highly controversial issue comes up. Even then, we still seem to be often guided mostly by our emotions.

The point I am trying to make is this: make your opinions matter. We live in an era where our voices can be easily heard and also drowned out. To make your views stand out clearly, think before you comment, tweet or post, and keep in mind that you can never really hide behind your computer screen.

The writer is a member of The Star’s BRATs young journalist programme, organised by R.AGE. For more info and stories from the BRATs, log on to

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