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Opportunities for youths to contribute to a caring society

Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth at the Order of St John Grand Council Meeting 2019 Banquet Dinner, at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

Prof. Mark Compton, Lord Prior Designate, the Order of St John
Dr Teh Peng Hooi, Prior, Priory of Singapore 
Priors, Chancellors and Delegates from St John Priories and Associations
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

  1. Good evening. To our friends from abroad, a warm welcome. It is my pleasure to meet the Lord Prior Designate and all the Priors, Chancellors and delegates from the different Priories. I hope all of you will have some time to enjoy the sights and sounds of our city, and try our delicious food!

    St John Singapore’s 130 years of service reflects the values which have shaped our nation

  2. This year, we are commemorating our Bicentennial, 200 years after the key turning point in our history. It is a time for us to reflect on the actions of our pioneers, and take guidance as we move into the future. Our forefathers came to Singapore in search of a better life. Although coming from different cultures and backgrounds, they shared many common values -  hard work, resilience and enterprise. They have toiled and made many sacrifices to shape a nation which we now call home.
  3. One of our pioneering organisations is St John Singapore. It has a 130-year-long history of serving the people, regardless of race, language or religion. One of St John’s goals is to have a trained first-aider in every school, home, organisation and workplace in Singapore. It is ubiquitous as first-aid response with almost every Singaporean growing up with a St John’s brigade in our school’s sports meet. It is still a regular sight in the community events in my constituency as I have the good fortune of having an active branch office in my area of Jurong. In recognition of your distinguished service to the community, St John Singapore was invited in 2014 into the Order of St John as a Priory.

    St John Singapore is growing the SG Cares movement

  4. St John Singapore’s journey reflects the story of our pioneers, who overcame all odds to build a home for Singaporeans. While Singapore has experienced economic growth over the past decades, it is not the only indicator of our success. We want Singapore to be a strong society and a caring nation. Hence, we started the Singapore Cares (SG Cares) movement to galvanise all Singaporeans to step up, help one another, and ensure that no one is left behind.
  5. St John Singapore is an important stakeholder in this movement. It has been leading the way in organising resources in the community and serving the vulnerable. It offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities to connect people to meaningful experiences, and help them develop empathy. It is also encouraging more youths to volunteer, so that they can play a role in making Singapore a caring and inclusive home.

    St John Singapore is providing opportunities for youths to contribute to society

  6. I am heartened that the theme of the Grand Council Meeting is “Young People and the Order”. According to the National Youth Survey 2016 done in Singapore, over 90% of our Singaporean youths regard helping the less fortunate or contributing back to society as important life goals. It shows that our youths aspire to give back and we can and should provide them with the opportunities to becoming lifelong volunteers.
  7. Currently, half of St John Singapore’s members are young Cadet members, and equipped with Basic First Aid skills. Recently, 22-year old Ms Chiu Yu Cheng, a member of St John, was presented with the Community Lifesaver Award by our Singapore Civil Defence Force after she successfully revived a man who had collapsed on a jogging track. This is a clear example of how St John is relevant to community quick response to medical emergencies.
  8. There are many more areas where youths can contribute to the country. We are currently developing the SG Youth Action Plan, a vision of youth for Singapore in 2025. The Action Plan will include policy recommendations for priority areas identified by youth, and proposal for partnerships to drive change in Singapore.
  9. One of the partnerships under the Action Plan is an effort to re-imagine the Somerset Belt, which is the stretch of Somerset Road, off Orchard Road, that encompasses spaces such as *SCAPE, The Red Box and a skate park. My Ministry will be engaging youth on how we can transform the area into a vibrant district to support the interests and aspirations of our youth.
  10. Through the Youth Action Plan, I hope more youths can participate in public discourse and action in nation building. We want our youths to come forward and contribute, be it through acts of service, or creating change for a better Singapore.


  11. Finally, I would like to thank St John Singapore for inviting me tonight. I would also like to wish Prof Mark Compton and the delegates an enjoyable stay in Singapore, and a safe journey back home. I wish all of you a pleasant evening!

Last updated on 31 May 2019