The Government is scaling up its efforts to engage the young in Singapore.
This year, the annual Shine Festival held by the National Youth Council (NYC) has grown into the inaugural YouthX, one of the largest youth-centric events in recent years.
The two-day event ends today and is the umbrella event for three anchor festivals: Shine Festival which showcases youth art and music; GetActive! Singapore, a series of sports festivals, ground-up sports initiatives and competitions; and Hyperplay, an e-sports tournament and music festival.
Some 80,000 young people are expected to turn up over the weekend at the Singapore Sports Hub for YouthX.
International celebrities such as South Korean singer CL, American singer Nick Jonas and Thai rock band Slot Machine are part of the performing line-up, together with local artists such as The Sam Willows and Charlie Lim.
Last year's three-day Shine Festival in Orchard Road attracted 50,000 to 60,000 young people.
Said Mr David Chua, chief executive of NYC, about YouthX: "It is definitely the largest youth-centric festival in recent years, in terms of the range of activities provided and the outreach as well."
He added that the event brings together sporting youth with e-sports gamers and artists, appealing to a wider variety of people with diverse interests.
"It becomes a more vibrant and exciting experience when it is all blended together," he said.
Mr Chua also said that the Government is increasingly trying to reach out to young people and understand them.
"The young are more interested in national issues and they are participating. We want to go to them to find common ground and build trust between the segments of our population."
While the Shine Festival and GetActive! have been organised in previous years, this year marks the first time that Singapore is holding an Asean integrated e-sports tournament and music festival called Hyperplay.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who launched Hyperplay yesterday, said: "We are the Asean chairman this year and it is wonderful we are hosting the first Asean e-sports (event)... because it brings together young people throughout Asean.
"By 2020, half of the population of Asean will be 30 years and under. So it's important that our young people feel a sense of identity for Asean and come together."
Like in previous Shine Festivals, music mentees of the Shine X *Scape Talent Development Programme will also be performing this year.
One of these mentees is rapper Fariz Jabba, 22. "It's good that now there are platforms and support for people like me. I started rapping professionally about seven months ago and now here I am," he said.
Dr Lim Wee Kiak, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Culture, Community and Youth, said of events like YouthX: "Through our work in the arts and sports sectors, and our continued investment in our youth, we hope to build a confident youth population that will take Singapore forward. We also hope to work with them to build a home youth are anchored to, care for and feel proud of."
Young people are "clearly on the radar screen" of the Government, said National University of Singapore (NUS) sociologist Tan Ern Ser.
"Various government agencies and grassroots and community organisations prioritise engaging, involving, and supporting youth in achieving their aspirations and their desire to reach out to others in the community," he added.
"It is important to hear them out and motivate them to step up, rather than feel alienated, being critical on the sidelines, and letting their ideas go to waste."