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Progress of Singapore Together and strengthening our national identity and shared values

Response to parliamentary question on the progress of the Singapore Together movement and efforts to strengthen national identity and shared values

  1. Singapore Together is a governance approach that involves the Government working with Singaporeans, and Singaporeans working with one another, to build our shared future together. In that spirit, we launched the Emerging Stronger Conversations (ESCs) as we exited the Circuit Breaker in June 2020. The Conversations were a platform for Singaporeans to reflect on our COVID-19 experience, and our aspirations for a more resilient post-COVID society. In February 2021, the Government published a report to take stock of the Conversations and feedback received from 17,000 Singaporeans from all walks of life. The report highlighted 15 key themes that were most discussed, including National Identity and Shared Values. 
  2. Conversations are an important starting point, but they must eventually lead to action that translates aspirations into reality through strong and sustained partnerships. To respond to Mr Gan’s question, 30 Singapore Together Alliances for Action (AfAs) have been formed to date. The AfAs are making steady progress on the key themes that emerged from the ESCs. These AfAs address issues which are important to what we stand for collectively as a nation.
  3. For example, at the ESCs, many touched on building a more inclusive society and shared concerns that COVID-19 had accentuated the digital divide. As part of the AfA to Enhance Digital Readiness Skills and Literacy, Smart Nation Ambassadors from more than 50 business and community groups, as well as individual contributors, curated and launched programmes to help Singaporeans learn more about digital initiatives and emerging technology. These included lessons for seniors on how to use digital Government tools and lifestyle apps such as Singpass, ActiveSG and Zoom, and workshops for working adults to upskill and get a headstart to explore opportunities in the digital economy.
  4. Creating a more compassionate and caring, resilient and inclusive society was another thread that came out very strongly during the Conversations. A number of AfAs speak to these issues. 
  5. The AfA on Emerging Needs and Volunteerism has three focus areas, each led by different SG Cares partners. The first focus area, led by RSVP Singapore, taps on the resources of different partners to help seniors learn digital skills and empower them to use technology in their daily life. The second focus area, led by Gift for Good in partnership with the SG Cares Volunteer Centres, seeks to better aggregate and match donations-in-kind to community needs at the town level using an online platform. The third focus area, led by the SG Cares Volunteer Centre @ Jurong East, aims to increase mental wellness support in the Yuhua community.
  6. As part of the AfA on Corporate Purpose, some 40 businesses and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) leaders are co-developing a national blueprint for corporate purpose and social impact. 
  7. The AfA for Caregivers of Persons with Disabilities is working on self-care, mutual support, and improving caregiver well-being.
  8. The Mentoring AfA, co-led by the National Youth Council (NYC) and the Mentoring Alliance Singapore (MASg), is building a culture of mentoring in Singapore. The AfA works with the public, private and people sectors to involve youths to build this mentoring culture, and provide mentoring opportunities to help our youths in navigate educational, career, and life transitions. As of the end of September 2021, 166 organisations and individuals have pledged their support to build a mentoring culture in Singapore. 
  9. Our national policies will continue to respond and adapt to reflect what is important to Singaporeans. Some recent policy moves such as the expansion of the Progressive Wage Model and enhancements to Workfare payouts were shaped by Singaporeans’ aspirations for a more fair, caring and inclusive society.
  10. On the theme of National Identity and Shared Values that Mr Gan highlighted, Singaporeans raised the need to share responsibility in helping one another, especially vulnerable groups such as low-income earners, seniors and persons with disabilities. I mentioned a number of AfAs formed on these themes earlier.
  11. They also raised the need to cultivate and promote Singapore’s cultural resources. In this vein, our Arts and Heritage play an important role in cultivating our national identity and shared values through our cultural resources.  
  12. Our arts grow a Singaporean identity that is strong and distinctive, while remaining open and outward-looking. Our tangible and intangible heritage reflect our roots and shared milestones in our history. They strengthen our sense of belonging and are sources of pride and confidence for Singaporeans.
  13. One such example that connects with all Singaporeans and reflects our multicultural identity is our Hawker Culture. Together with NEA and the Federation of Merchants' Associations, Singapore (FMAS), we worked closely with hawkers’ associations and representatives as well as the public and experts to successfully inscribe our Singapore Hawker Culture on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage in December last year. As a living heritage that forms an integral part of our daily lives, we will continue to partner our citizens to promote and celebrate this intangible cultural heritage.  
  14. We also partnered citizens on their ideas to promote national identity through our Citizens’ Workgroup for National Symbols. The Workgroup gathered 47 Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds to review the use, governance and promotion of our National Symbols, including the National Flag, National Anthem, and National Pledge.  They, in turn, engaged around 1,500 other Singaporeans to formulate their recommendations.
  15. The Workgroup’s recommendations will inform i) the government’s legislative review of the Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem (SAFNA) Act and Rules; as well as ii) non-legislative measures such as better public education on using the National Symbols respectfully. 
  16. Our youths also want to play a key role in building our nation. And we provide opportunities for them to do so. They can volunteer through Youth Corps Singapore and the People’s Association Youth Networks. They can also lead ground-up initiatives on issues they care about through our Youth Action Challenge, and contribute to policymaking through our Youth Circles. By coming together through shared experiences in contributing to society, and interacting with others from diverse backgrounds, our youths are building up our social cohesion and national identity.  
  17. These partnerships embody the spirit of Singapore Together.  The concept of Singapore Together is a means through which we strengthen our National Identity and Shared Values. It allows us to express our sense of obligation towards one another as fellow citizens, and to our nation.  It is about building consensus and working together towards our shared future as a country. Singapore Together will always be a work in progress, requiring the commitment of each successive generation of Singaporeans. 
  18. We will continue to grow the ethos of Singapore Together, and partner citizens and stakeholders to strengthen our National Identity and Shared Values, and build a more caring, confident, and cohesive Singapore.
Last updated on 19 January 2022