More ground-up initiatives taking place where residents can help create a better community: Ong Ye Kung

Flagging off of the amazing race event, the first of over 70 youth-driven projects by the People's Association Youth Movement Loves Red campaign. ST VIDEO: TAN TAN MEI

SINGAPORE- When there were problems in the past, residents used to ask what the Government could do to solve them. But today, more ground-up initiatives are taking place where residents find ways to create a better environment for themselves and their community, said Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung.

The MP for Sembawang GRC and Second Minister for Defence was speaking before the first launch of the People's Association Youth Movement (PAYM) Loves Red campaign on Sunday (July 16). The campaign is spearheaded by PA's Youth Executive Committees to celebrate Singapore's 52nd birthday and scheduled to run for the next two months.

The first of over 70 youth-driven projects started with an amazing race event on Sunday (July 16) morning , which saw about 150 youths take part in stations games that were related to Singapore's identity and heritage.

Other events under the campaign will include a home refurbishment effort, where youths will help less-fortunate families living in Clementi, and a food collection and distribution drive. The campaign aims to give young people an opportunity to show their national pride for Singapore by taking part in National Day celebrations around the island.

Mr Ong, who is also grassroots adviser to the Gambas Grassroots Organisations, said the campaign represented youths taking a step to build a closely-knit community and would help to foster a spirit of patriotism among Singaporeans.

He also likened Singaporeans to the "12th man" supporting every football team and highlighted the importance of ground-up initiatives.

"In football, the team always plays well at home rather than away for the simple reason that the atmosphere at home is better... Similarly Singapore will do better when our spirit is higher, our spirit is positive, and (when the spirit) is ground-up it's even better."

He added: "Never forget the 12th man of every football team which is the home crowd. So when we see problems we no longer ask, 'What is Government doing about it?'. We must remember the 12th man, (and ask), 'What are Singaporeans doing about it?"