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The Sikh community working together to groom future leaders

Brief Remarks by Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, at the Young Leaders Programme Graduation Ceremony 

19 February 2017

Mr. Malminderjit Singh, President, Young Sikh Association;

Distinguished Guests;

Community Leaders;

Participants and families;

1. A very good afternoon to everyone! I am glad to be here today at the Graduation Ceremony of the inaugural Young Leaders Programme (YLP).

The Sikh community’s efforts in working together to groom future leaders

2. I would like to first commend the Young Sikh Association (YSA) for partnering other Sikh organisations to identify and develop future leaders. In recent years, we have seen how terrorist attacks, religious extremism, and the growing discontent have caused fractures within societies. Singapore is not immune to this. Beyond the traditional fault-lines of race and religion, we face a growing risk of social rifts as our society becomes more diverse. Hence, it is important for us to come together often as a community, to create safe spaces for frank discussions and to initiate dialogues with other communities. And I believe that young Singaporeans can step up and play an active role in building a more caring and cohesive society.

Young Leaders Programme as a platform to tackle community issues

3. I am heartened that you made the decision to join this programme. This tells me that you have an interest in improving the lives of fellow Singaporeans. It is important to work with your peers on community projects – especially if these issues are not easy to resolve and require cooperation and mutual understanding.

4. I hear some of you have the opportunity to work on some of the issues that the Sikh community has been facing, and encountered some challenges along the way. For example, one group studying programmes to lower recidivism among Sikh ex-drug offenders faced a lack of published statistics. The community was also reluctant to get involved due to the sensitive nature of the subject. But this group persevered and found innovative ways to overcome these challenges. They conducted interviews with different organisations for statistics, and reached out to former inmates to gain a better understanding of their challenges. Their study has raised the need for more comprehensive community-based approaches to help ex-inmates better integrate into society. Amrit, Perinder, Rashvin, Reshveena, and Nirmolak – congratulations on a job well done and thank you for your contributions! It is a lot of hard work, but it serves an important purpose, and I hope you take this project beyond today.

5. As you continue to volunteer with the Sikh community and other organisations, you will also encounter similar or more difficult challenges, but through such experience and exposure, you will learn to be resilient, you will learn of the need to compromise at times; and the importance of collaboration to create mutually beneficial outcomes. I hope you continue to use the Programme as a forum to tackle real-life community issues. You will be able to gain critical skills and exposure, while community organisations get to tap on the energy and dynamism of our youths – you.

6. If the Programme has helped spark your interest in volunteering and you would like to have more experience in community leadership, do consider being a part of Youth Corps Singapore. It provides support for young Singaporeans from all walks of life who are keen to promote causes in the community. Together with other like-minded youths, you will be empowered with the skills to devise, lead and more importantly implement projects that you are interested in, and that can make a difference to our society.

Taking to heart Singapore’s philosophy of self-help

7. To conclude, I would like to thank the Sikh community for having this initiative to come up with ground-up solutions for your community. To all the organisers, graduands and family members - this is an important first step in grooming future young leaders for the Sikh community. They can become role models for other youths and galvanise them towards helping our society.

8. To the organising committee, participants and volunteers, thank you for making this event possible. I hope all of you will continue to keep in touch, and work together on projects to benefit the community. I wish all of you a great day ahead!

Last Updated: 03 April 2017

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