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Supporting and preparing our youth for action

Speech by Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Communications and Information in response to the Adjournment Motion on a liberal education and corruption of the youth of Singapore

Reponse to Adjournment Motion by Nominated Member of Parliament Assoc Prof Walter Theseira and Ms Anthea Ong

  1. I would like to address Associate Professor Walter Theseira and Ms Anthea Ong’s points on youth activism. I also cannot help noticing that the concluding paragraphs of Ms Anthea Ong’s speech very nicely answers the concerns that she raised at the start. I believe that Members of the House who have heard the concluding paragraphs of her speech can only conclude that our youths – to her words – are passionate,  energetic and quite uninhibited in speaking up. I agree that such youths who wish to help shape the future of Singapore should have avenues for doing so. This is indeed something that the Government has publicly committed to supporting.
  2. MCCY has been actively engaging youths to better understand their views, aspirations and needs. Last year, we started the Youth Conversations, hearing over 8,000 youths on topics that matter most to them, such as social inequality, mental health, environmental sustainability and narratives of success. These topics were identified by youths themselves. We are heartened to see that our youths show a strong sense of purpose and care deeply about the long-term future of our country.
  3. At the same time, we want to help youths go beyond talking about the topics and causes that captivate their attention. Good ideas need to be translated into action, before they can result in concrete and positive change. Such action can be taken by the youths themselves, or in partnership with others, or in partnership with the Government. In the process of planning effective action, youths can gain a hands-on understanding of the responsibility that comes with advocating for change. They would need to work out how to inform, persuade and mobilise others in support of their cause. Their chances of success would grow if they are open-minded and prepared to have their ideas and beliefs challenged, and if they are able to appreciate and address the needs and perspectives of other segments of society. MCCY encourages this through the design of the Youth Conversations. Among those who participated, 80% of youths indicated a better understanding of issues that Singapore faces, and close to 90% agreed that they became more aware of different views.
  4. The next stage would be to prepare our youths for action. This is why we started the SG Youth Action Plan. It is a platform for our youths to articulate their ideas and vision for Singapore’s future, and to create positive change. The SG Youth Action Plan is driven by a diverse group of youth leaders, who have taken an inclusive approach to reach out to youths from different walks of life, and from different educational and professional backgrounds.
  5. The SG Youth Action Plan seeks to support youths in coming up with robust and impactful policy ideas and projects, by equipping them with the information and resources they need. In addition, we are bringing youth leaders to engage directly with Ministries on policy issues such as sustainability.
  6. In the next phase of nation-building, the Government will shift from working for citizens, to working with all segments of citizens. SG Youth Action Plan is very much a part of this approach, which we have termed SG Together. It is our hope that SG Youth Action Plan will not only foster many projects undertaken by youths for the betterment of society, but also develop skills among youths for engaging with the wider society, and instil confidence in them that their ideas can be translated into action and ultimately make a positive difference.


Last updated on 08 October 2019