Speech by Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry, at the SHINE NOW 2020: Unconference Closing Plenary
29 November 2020
Good evening to everyone. A big thank you to all our SHINE 2020 organisers behind the scenes, and all of you for taking the weekend to do this Youth Unconference.
I wanted to start this speech with imagination. I want you to imagine what you would do if you could do anything, or be anything.
Youths today are concerned with bread and butter issues – family, finding a job, looking after your parents. You also have ideals and aspirations about sustainability and our planet, looking after the vulnerable, the future of job and work, and mental well-being. With ideals, you require drive to achieve what you want to see in the future.
I want to raise two wonderful examples of drive. Take Tan Yang Er for example, who after graduating from university, set up her own multi-disciplinary art practice, and also started 21 Moonstone, a bar and co-working space – all without formal training. And Fauzi Aziz, an influencer and the marketing lead at TheSmartLocal. He started as an intern, volunteering to do all kinds of things – cleaning and restocking the pantry, cleaning the toilet, feeding the cat. During all this, he built the right skills and resilience to work well – starting on time, getting things done for the team. It was his drive, rather than formal training, that helped him succeed.
These are just two examples of people who have the drive to get things done and to imagine what they can do with their future.
Build relationships that make success possible and worthwhile
Secondly, I want you to also imagine the day when you become successful. Imagine who was beside you in your journey of life? Most often, it would be your family and friends, your loved ones that will be there with you through ups and downs.
I wanted to share a story about Fariz Jabba who will be performing later on. Fariz Jabba has always looked up to his older brother as his mentor and inspiration. He also looks up to Yung Raja in terms of how to develop his craft of rapping. Fariz attributes his success to people like his brother and Yung Raja. His success does not belong to just him alone, but is shared by the people who believed in him and were there with him when times were difficult.
Take action to build a brighter future for Singapore
The third thing I want you to imagine, is a world after COVID. When we get there, I want to share that the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the National Youth Council are ready to equip you in different areas.
We have programmes to help you to find jobs and build skills. We have YouthTech, with 1,000 placements to help the social and community sectors to digitalise. We have the Youth Corps Internship Scheme – with over 300 placements to experience working in the community and social sectors for up to 6 months.
Second, we have spaces for you. We are reimagining and rebuilding the Somerset Belt, stretching from *SCAPE down to the Somerset Skate Park. We want all of your ideas to create a space for youths, ideas, and entrepreneurship. So send in your ideas to shape what these spaces can become.
Lastly, we are not just keen on ideas, we are keen on action. The NYC has set up the Youth Action Challenge, which is now in the second season. We have over 50 teams pitching their ideas this January, and they have amazing ideas ranging from Green Sustainability, the Future of Work, Youth Mental Well-Being, and Supporting the Vulnerable.
If you already have good ideas in mind, we have the Young Changemakers grant for you to turn your ideas into action. If you have a special interest in Green Sustainability, the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment has a $50 million Eco-Fund. If you have a good ground-up idea for how to green-up our spaces, you can tap onto this fund.
Imagine that time in the future after COVID where all this is made available to you, and imagine how you will take action to turn your ideas into reality.
In closing, I want to repeat what Eric Feng said, “You don’t have be good to start, but you have to start if you’re going to be good at something.” Personally, having just joined the Government, I’m not good yet. I will learn over time. But I have to start learning new skills, addressing new issues to make a difference. I know many of you are learning the new skills shared over the past 2 days. You don’t have to be good, but start and you will get good.
On behalf of the team at MCCY, thank you to all the SHINE NOW participants and thank you to everyone behind the scenes for making this an incredible event. Good night!