Diversity, inclusion are valued by the people and will play a part in shaping S’pore’s future: DPM Wong

DPM Lawrence Wong noted that Singaporeans want to build a society which embraces diversity and which will be inclusive. ST PHOTO: KELVIN LIM

SINGAPORE – Diversity and inclusion are key themes that will shape Singapore’s future and which are highly valued by the people.

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong made this observation at a Forward Singapore dialogue on Thursday, where he noted that Singaporeans want to build a society which embraces diversity across racial and ethnic groups and which will be inclusive for people with disabilities and the elderly.

About 110 participants came up with topics and joined in discussions over Singapore’s future at the dialogue held at the Singapore Management University.

Topics included how Singapore can create more diverse education pathways and bridging the generation gap between seniors and youth. One participant suggested that schools can invite parents in more unconventional occupations to give talks to young people and children who can be exposed to a wider range of roles.

DPM Wong, who is also Minister for Finance, thanked the participants for their suggestions and assured them that their feedback will be taken seriously as part of the Forward Singapore exercise. 

He said: “You have played a role in giving us very useful inputs in thinking about what changes we may want to make, how we can do things differently in order to shape a better Singapore.”

He added: “Moving to a better place is not just the responsibility of the Government, nor is it possible for the Government to do it all. It’s also for us to think about what changes employers can make, what (changes) community organisations may make and how Singaporeans might change our mindsets, attitudes and expectations.”

Forward Singapore is a year-long public engagement exercise launched on June 28 by the fourth-generation leadership to renew the social compact as the new team charts the next stage of the country’s development.

Spanning a year, the exercise will conclude with the publication of a report in mid-2023 that will set out policy recommendations and highlight how different segments of society can contribute towards these shared goals.

The dialogue on Thursday was organised by government feedback unit Reach. Most of the participants were between 36 and 55 and were professionals, managers, executives and technicians.

During the dialogue, participants proposed their own topics and voted for the ones they wanted to discuss. They were able to walk around and join in discussions freely.

Reach said in a statement: “These sessions aim to give participants the autonomy to take the lead in envisioning how citizens can partner with the Government – not only to raise ideas but also to identify and work on possible solutions together. This is in line with the aim of the Forward Singapore exercise… to strengthen the spirit of collective ownership and partnership between the Government and citizens.”

Mr Tham Jun Han, 29, liked having the participants decide on what they wanted to talk about.

The co-founder of community building organisation Friendzone said: “I enjoyed having conversations with people from different generations and from different walks of life.”

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