Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth's addendum to President's Address 2020 by Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law
28 August 2020
The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY)’s mission is to build social capital and inspire the Singapore Spirit. COVID-19 is impacting us in many ways, reminding us that social cohesion and a strong spirit of civic responsibility is more important than ever before. In this new term of government, MCCY will continue to work with Singaporeans to build a home that is caring, cohesive, and confident. We will step up our community and youth engagement efforts, while continuing to develop a vibrant arts, heritage, and sports landscape that Singaporeans can enjoy and be proud of.
Rising to the challenge of COVID-19
Mobilising our community to care for and support each other
Even as the circuit breaker and safe distancing requirements kept us physically apart, MCCY led SG United’s call for Singaporeans to stay connected and support each other. Individuals, households, businesses, and the community rallied to partner the government in national response efforts. The SG Cares Volunteer Centres complemented the efforts of our community organisations to care for vulnerable groups, by coordinating volunteerism efforts on the ground. Religious organisations continued to give spiritual guidance and comfort to their communities, working with us to put in place measures to keep their worshippers safe. Together, we adopted new ways to connect with those in need of support, such as phone calls, tele-conferencing, contactless delivery of essential goods, and digital platforms for religious worship.
To safeguard the livelihoods of our arts and sports professionals, MCCY introduced the Arts and Culture Resilience Package and support measures for the sports sector, a suite of funding and training support for new artistic commissions, SGUnited jobs for sports professionals, digital channels for arts and sports content and upskilling opportunities in preparation for post-COVID-19 recovery. We also created traineeship and internship opportunities for youths in the community and social sectors, enabling them to pick up work-ready competencies while giving back to society.
Emerging stronger together as a cohesive and caring society
Strengthening our social compact and sense of solidarity
Singaporeans have rallied together during this crisis. We have seen Singaporeans showing empathy, social responsibility, and neighbourliness – values and behaviours that underpin a cohesive and caring society. More ground-up movements, such as Goodhood.sg, are emerging to propagate community-based initiatives for mutual support and we will support them. We want to sustain this strong spirit of civic contribution and mutual care, even when COVID-19 is over. Through Youth Corps Singapore, Team Nila, and the PA Youth Movement, and grants for ground-up projects, such as Our Singapore Fund, Our Harmony Fund and the National Youth Fund, we will empower Singaporeans to create positive change in society. To support more such ground-up projects, earlier this year we topped-up Our Singapore Fund with an additional $20m and extended it to SG60.
Through the SG Cares movement, MCCY will continue working with partners and intermediaries to coordinate volunteerism efforts, build capabilities, channel resources to areas of need, and grow a more caring society together.
Fostering social interaction and bonding
We will continue to create opportunities for Singaporeans to come together and build shared memories with their communities, friends, and loved ones. Even as the arts sector works to safely resume live performances, we will continue the #SGCultureAnywhere campaign so that Singaporeans can continue to enjoy the arts and culture. We will also continue to build and upgrade sports facilities, and offer affordable, quality ActiveSG programmes, so that Singaporeans can enjoy an active lifestyle and bond through sports. Through such platforms, Singaporeans with a passion for the arts and culture or sports will have access to opportunities to pursue their aspirations.
With community partners, we will strengthen solidarity by providing opportunities for Singaporeans from different backgrounds to engage in respectful dialogue on sensitive issues of race and religion, both online and face-to-face.
Strengthening our national identity and sense of belonging
Inspiring national pride through heritage, arts and sports
While COVID-19 has transformed how we create and engage with the arts and culture, we will continue to enrich and grow our arts scene and cultivate our tangible and intangible heritage. We look forward to the outcome of our nomination to inscribe Hawker Culture in Singapore on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, so we can proudly showcase our culture to the world.
Sports can inspire Singaporeans to rally together as a nation, and celebrate with our sporting heroes. MCCY is committed to supporting our athletes’ aspirations through the SportSG spexScholarship programme, funding for National Sports Associations and High Performance Sports (HPS) funding, which also provides sports science and sport medicine support for athletes preparing for their campaigns. Earlier this year, we introduced the Inspire Fund, in partnership with Temasek Foundation, to support athletes outside the HPS system. Through this, we can spur our athletes to greater heights.
Generating hope and confidence in our future
To strengthen the resilience of the community and social sector sectors over the longer-term, we are partnering NCSS and Tote Board to raise the digital capabilities of the local non-profit organisation sector, particularly the charities. We will also raise the digital capabilities of SMEs in the arts, heritage and sports sectors by leveraging SMEs Go Digital Programme, with support from IMDA and ESG. Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, the road ahead will not be an easy one for many of these organisations. We will invest in new capabilities that can help them lower costs, improve service delivery and develop new and exciting products.
We will continue to create opportunities so that youths are well-positioned to thrive in the future. We will set up a “digital corps”, comprising trained youths, who will be deployed to assist community and social sector organisations to digitalise. We aim to create up to 1,000 opportunities for this. We will partner Youth Sector Organisations (YSOs) to provide life skills training for youths, such as in leadership and financial planning. We will equip youths with the skills and knowledge to capitalise on opportunities in Asia through the Asia-Ready Exposure Programme (AEP).
To look after our youths’ well-being and create better access to help, we will partner YSOs to co-create mental well-being resources, online. We will also continue working with partners to strengthen peer support among youths in schools and the wider community. As part of the Youth Mental Well-being Network, we will support youths who want to initiate ground-up efforts to promote mental well-being.
Partnering Singaporeans to forge a stronger and more resilient Singapore, together
In 2018, we launched Our SG Arts Plan and Our SG Heritage Plan, setting out a 5-year roadmap for our sectors. We are reviewing these at the midpoint, drawing on the experiences, insights and aspirations of the arts and heritage communities. Similarly, in 2019 we launched V2030 Recharged, co-created in close collaboration with the sports community. These plans will support MCCY’s vision to foster a caring people, cohesive society, and confident nation.
Singaporeans have undergone a shared experience that has changed our lives. We must reflect on and learn from what is happening, and how we can emerge stronger as a society. The government will convene the Emerging Stronger Conversations, so Singaporeans, including youths, can reflect and reimagine the future together. These conversations will be an inclusive platform to discuss important bread and butter and key societal issues. We invite Singaporeans to partner the government to translate these reflections and ideas to action. Singapore Together Action Networks will bring together Government, community, and businesses, to co-create solutions and lay the foundation for our vision of a stronger Singapore society.
Together, making Singapore home
The current pandemic has underscored our duty to each other as fellow Singaporeans. We came together to do our part, and demonstrated that we are a caring, inclusive society, that is united in the face of adversity. In this new term of government, MCCY’s agenda of policies and programmes will bolster this Singapore Spirit, and in partnership with Singaporeans, forge a stronger, more resilient society of mutual care and collective well-being. We will create a shared future by working together, as one people.