Parliament: *Scape and National Youth Council to be reviewed, says Lawrence Wong

*Scape in Orchard Road. The youth hangout will be reviewed so that its space can be better used and its programmes will be more appealing and relevant to youths in areas like music and media. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE
*Scape in Orchard Road. The youth hangout will be reviewed so that its space can be better used and its programmes will be more appealing and relevant to youths in areas like music and media. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE

SINGAPORE - Youth hangout *Scape will be reviewed so that its space can be better used and its programmes will be more appealing and relevant to youths in areas like music and media.

The National Youth Council will also be restructured as a national body overseeing youth affairs, said Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong on Friday.

In his speech focusing on youth issues in Parliament, he said that as Singapore continues to evolve, its youth must be equipped with the knowledge and the attributes they will need to grow into active and discerning citizens.

Addressing the Workers' Party's call for youth to receive a political education, Mr Wong said that the priority is to nurture their character and encourage them to get involved in causes that build a better society.

"We must aspire for Singapore to be a problem-solving democracy, a democracy of deeds," he said.

He also gave an update on the celebration of Singapore's 50th anniversary of Independence, more details of which will be shared next week.

He began his speech with the story of Youth Corps applicant Nur Huzaima Mahrom, 28, who tutored underprivileged children here and built a community centre in Nicaragua. He held her up as one of the many youth with idealism and enthusiasm to improve things for themselves and other citizens.

To appeal to such youth, more youth spaces have been planned outside the city centre and more programmes, such as those run by the Outward Bound Singapore, which organises outdoor learning activities for students.

"I encourage our youths - and all Singaporeans - to step forward. Leave your comfort zone. Engage with others from different walks of life in service, leadership and empathy. Act on your ideas and your ideals," he said.

The speech received enthusiastic thumps from Members of Parliament in the House.