Youth share vision of inclusive and compassionate society

More than 100 people aged between 16 and 40 participated in Youth Conversations at The Red Box in Somerset yesterday. Soaking up the views were members of the SG Youth Action Plan panel.
More than 100 people aged between 16 and 40 participated in Youth Conversations at The Red Box in Somerset yesterday. Soaking up the views were members of the SG Youth Action Plan panel.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Hopes raised at 3-hour dialogue session, in which 100 people aged between 16 and 40 took part

Many young people today hope that in six years, Singapore society will be inclusive, compassionate and respectful.

They also hope people will live sustainable lifestyles and enjoy better work-life balance.

These hopes were raised at a three-hour dialogue session yesterday called Youth Conversations. More than 100 people aged between 16 and 40 participated in the event at The Red Box in Somerset.

Soaking up the views were members of a new panel that will lead efforts to articulate young people's vision for Singapore in 2025, and come up with an action plan to get there.

The formation of the SG Youth Action Plan panel was announced yesterday by Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann, who is co-chair of the panel together with Mr Edward Chia, Timbre Group's co-founder and chief executive.

The other 14 members of the panel include entrepreneurs, musicians and civil society activists.

Addressing the youth at the event, Ms Sim said that the Government's goals were aligned with theirs in many areas, such as in building an inclusive society. She encouraged them to point out ways to improve relevant policies - such as those to help people who are not digitally savvy become more familiar with technology.

  • WHO'S ON THE PANEL

  • • Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and for Communications and Information (co-chair)

    • Mr Edward Chia, co-founder and chief executive of Timbre Group (co-chair)

    • Mr Andrew Richard Pang, vice-president, Eurasian Association youth sub-committee

    • Mr Bryan Choo, founder and managing director, The Smart Local

    • Mr Dedric Wong, general manager and assistant conductor, Ding Yi Music Company

    • Mr Gavin Chan, principal geotechnical engineer, CPG Consultants

    • Ms Inch Chua, singer-songwriter

    • Mr Khairul Rusydi, co-founder and chief executive, Reactor

    • Mr Lai Chang Wen, co-founder and chief executive, Ninja Van

    • Ms Rachel Lim, co-founder, Love, Bonito

    • Mr Mohamed Abbas Sheyed Ebramsa, co-founder, Rely

    • Mr Shafiee Razali, chief executive, Majulah Community

    • Ms Shahira Abdullah, vice-president, Mendaki Club

    • Ms Swedha Rajaram, grassroots volunteer and political science student at the National University of Singapore

    • Ms Sylvia Chan, co-founder, Night Owl Cinematics

    • Ms Wendy Tan, covering director for youth development at NTUC

 
 
 

"The most significant developments and progress that Singapore has made really have been due to people who have contributed, who have given of their time and energy at the prime of their lives. The energy, the passion, the ideas and the action of young people through every generation have shaped Singapore to the way it is today," she said.

The panel will come up with a vision by August, and then work on the SG Youth Action Plan until March next year. The five-year plan, which was first announced during the debate on the budget of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth in March, aims to give youth a greater say in Singapore's development and to explore ways for them to work together with the Government.

One of the projects under the SG Youth Action Plan is to develop a masterplan for the Somerset Belt, which has been designated as a hub for youth.

A working panel co-chaired by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng and the chief commercial officer of home-grown women's fashion brand Love, Bonito, Ms Dione Song, will head the effort.

Some of the SG Youth Action Plan panel members who attended yesterday's event said they were impressed by the depth of the discussion among the participants.

Ms Shahira Abdullah, 31, vice-president of Mendaki Club, said many participants wanted concrete steps to solving problems they see in the community.

"They had ideas, whether feasible or not, which we can take into account in our discussions," she said.

One of the participants, junior college student Chelsea Wong, 17, said she hopes to see more measures put in place to ensure people of all income groups, races, religions and nationalities have access to the benefits of technology.

Fellow participant and first-year undergraduate Nur Hazeem Abdul Nasser, 20, said youth sometimes feel left out of the policymaking process because "a lot of the time it's adults making them".

"Giving youth a space to be heard and involved in influencing policies that will eventually affect us is inspiring and productive," he said.

SEE INSIGHT: Don't knock millennials who choose purpose over pay cheque

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 19, 2019, with the headline 'Youth share vision of inclusive and compassionate society'. Print Edition | Subscribe