An inclusive and diverse representation of Singaporeans came together to join the Citizens’ Workgroup to explore, discuss and create content that will be used to update the Singapore Citizenship Journey.
After seven months of discussions, research and writing, the Citizens’ Workgroup has completed their report in the form of a letter, to share their perspectives with naturalised citizens on what makes us Singaporean.
The report covers eight key topics: 1) Values and Norms, 2) Roles and Responsibility, 3) Integration, 4) Contributing to Society, 5) History and Milestones, 6) Art Culture and Traditions, 7) National Systems and Institutions, and 8) Moving Ahead as a Nation.
Read the full report.
We are more alike than different
What makes us Singaporean? 93 participants came together for Singapore’s first fully digital citizens’ workgroup – the Citizens’ Workgroup for the Singapore Citizenship Journey (CWSCJ) – to discuss what they would like all citizens to know about Singapore. The content will be included as part of the revised curriculum for all naturalised citizens in the Singapore Citizenship Journey (SCJ).
Our multicultural society is like none other. Despite our varied backgrounds, Singaporeans have a way of empathising and appreciating different cultures. A participant fondly recalled that despite having come from different backgrounds, it was more important to share a common goal. Coming together for the common good is what makes us Singaporeans, and that was something the work group wants to pass on to other Singaporeans too.
Turning Values into Action
In subsequent sessions of the Citizens’ Workgroup, participants delved deeper into the shared values and norms of what makes us Singaporeans. The discussion was designed to move away from larger overarching statements, and instead, focused on examining the values in their everyday actions, practices and behaviours. In small groups, participants shared anecdotes and personal experiences of what they regarded to be uniquely Singaporean behaviour.
Kindness in Singaporeans was one of the hot topics. There was consensus that while Singaporeans tended to be more reserved and thus not come forward in the very first instance. After being informed, Singaporeans tend to do the right thing, hinting at an intrinsically kind and caring nature in most.
A notable quote from a participant: “We don’t want to be the first to step forward, to ‘kee-chiu’ (volunteer), but when there are opportunities to come forward and serve, we will.”
Featuring our Participants
Mr. Mohamed Haniffa and Ms. Ginny Morrison were two participants of the Citizens’ Workgroup. They came from very different backgrounds; with Mr. Haniffa from the RSAF, and Ms. Morrison from a global MNC, but they both offer unique perspectives and insights to the discussions. Interestingly, both participants had been very vocal about the need for a common goal.
Mr. Haniffa believed that “Singaporeans, no matter their age and background, can work together for a common national good.”
Ms. Morrison believed that “it’s okay to be different, as long as there is a common goal which unites us.”
The Singapore Citizenship Journey (SCJ) is a mandatory programme for new citizens who have been granted in-principle approval for Singapore citizenship. The SCJ helps enrich new citizens’ understanding of the key milestones in Singapore’s history and development and deepens their appreciation of Singaporean norms and values, as well as provides opportunities for meaningful interaction with their local community.
The SCJ is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and the People’s Association (PA).
1) What is the role of the Citizens’ Workgroup? How is this Workgroup different from other engagement sessions or focus groups?
The Citizens’ Workgroup built upon past engagements, such as Our Singapore Conversation, where Singaporeans spoke about their shared values and aspirations for society. The scope of discussion included various aspects of being Singaporeans and shared norms amongst Singaporeans.
Unlike previous engagements and focus group discussions, participants were given time, access to data and expertise to go beyond giving feedback. Their views, ideas, and suggestions would later be represented in the eventual material for relevant programmes, in particular the Singapore Citizenship Journey.
2) Who were the people part of the Workgroup? How were they selected?
In January 2020, MCCY invited Singaporeans through an open call to join the Citizens’ Workgroup for the Singapore Citizenship Journey. More than 200 members of the public responded to the call. The Citizens’ Workgroup convened the first session of Phase 1 on 25 April, with 93 members from diverse backgrounds, including local-born and naturalised citizens.
Workgroup members from Phase 1 were subsequently invited to stay on to participate for Phase 2 and 69 members accepted the invitation and completed the journey.
3) When did the Workgroup sessions take place?
The sessions took place online between 25 April 2020 to 7 November 2020 across nine sessions (about 27 hours in total), in two phases.
4) Did COVID-19 affect the Citizens’ Workgroup sessions?
To ensure safe-distancing due to COVID-19 restrictions, instead of face-to-face sessions, the Workgroup members used video conferencing tools for discussions, as well as messaging apps and social media platforms to engage one another between the sessions.
5) I still have more questions! Whom do I contact should I have queries on the Workgroup?
For queries about the Citizens’ Workgroup, please email us at RED@mccy.gov.sg and we will get back to you.