Young Singaporeans throw up ideas for country’s future at dialogue

Ms Grace Fu, together with Mr Chan Chun Sing, will be leading the SGfuture series of public engagement sessions.
Ms Grace Fu, together with Mr Chan Chun Sing, will be leading the SGfuture series of public engagement sessions.PHOTO: ST FILE

A young man suggested organising communal feasts to celebrate Singapore's diversity, while another proposed teaching first aid to all Singaporeans so that they can help in the event of emergencies.

The ideas flew thick and fast yesterday when 100 young Singaporeans came together at the first session of the SGfuture dialogue series, to talk about their hopes for the country, and how they can bring them to fruition.

Led by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, it is a new public engagement exercise, following the Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) completed two years ago.

Ms Fu told reporters yesterday: "This is a crucial point for us to look beyond SG50 towards SG100, and among the challenges that Singapore will face is how to keep the society united as we find new fault lines in a very new nation."

Mr Chan said in a statement that he hoped it will get Singaporeans to "build consensus about the future they wish to have, and to commit these aspirations to action".

The SGfuture series, which will run until the middle of next year, will draw inspiration from the possible scenarios presented at The Future Of Us exhibition, which opens to the public tomorrow.

Ms Fu said SGfuture will also build on the hopes and values Singaporeans shared in the OSC: "We want Singaporeans to step forward to put the values that they have envisioned in the OSC into action."

During yesterday's session, organised by the National Youth Council, participants aged between 16 and 35 discussed issues such as security, the environment and building an empathetic society.

UniSIM finance undergraduate Kenneth Yap, 23, was actively involved in a discussion on how to encourage less consumerism. He said of the exercise: "It kick-starts the imagination on what is possible and can actually be done."

Public servant Mohamed Khairul Anwar Mohamed Abdul Alim, 31, said it was a good reminder to be attuned to the potential shortcomings of one's own positions. "A lot of issues today are open-ended and multi-dimensional," he said.

Members of the public can visit www.singapore50.sg/SGfuture to sign up for upcoming sessions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2015, with the headline 'Young S'poreans throw up ideas for country's future at dialogue'. Print Edition | Subscribe