Who am I? I am an eighteen year old teenager who wants to have the freedom and opportunities to speak out, to have a say in things, to express my feelings and thoughts freely.

Why is this freedom of expression so important to me? Although I may be young, I want to be heard as an individual. Whenever adults take my ideas into account and allow me to contribute in decision-makings, I feel respected and appreciated as it shows that I am capable of contributing in discussions. This naturally gives me an indescribable sense of achievement, and thus builds my confidence in the long run.

Besides that, freedom of expression is essential for the unity of my family. For me, when my parents allow me to have a say in things, and take my thoughts and feelings into consideration before making decisions, I am assured that I have a significant influence in my family, that I do play a role as a member of my family. By giving me this freedom, my parents are telling me that they love me and that my feelings and thoughts matter to them. It creates a special bond between my parents and I. In a way, this freedom improves my relationship with my parents and thus, brings the relationship to a whole new level.

Most importantly, this freedom allows me to stand up for what I believe in, and for what is right. An incident that happened to me in college recently can be a very good example to portray the importance of this freedom. A few weeks ago, when I was having a Biology lecture on Evolution, my lecturer questioned whether I believed in Charles Darwin’s theory. As a Christian, I do not believe in the theory of evolution as I believe that God is the Creator of everything in this world and that His creations did not evolve to exist as how they are now. So, I answered my lecturer, saying that I do not believe in evolution for it is merely a theory. Try to imagine yourself in my situation but without the freedom to voice out what you believe in. You would be forced to just nod and agree on something when you actually do not. Wouldn’t that be a total nightmare?

It is evident and clear that the freedom of expression is important to young people like me. We want to speak for ourselves, to be respected as individuals, and to have the opportunity to contribute in our families and even our society. To be able to state our opinions publicly is our right. Is it too much to ask for? Do not take this right away from us.

Steph Tan, an 18 year old aspiring veterinarian

Convention on the Rights of the Child:

Article 12
The child’s opinion – The child has the right to express his or her opinion freely and to have that opinion taken into account in any matter or procedure affecting the child.

Article 13
Freedom of expression – The child has the right to express his or her views, obtain information, make ideas or information known, regardless of frontiers.

Article 14
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion – The State shall respect the child’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, subject to appropriate parental guidance.