Series to discuss ideas for Singapore’s future launched

AMANDA LEE Today Online 30 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE — Picking up on where the Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) series left off, a new series of engagement sessions to get Singaporeans to talk about their ideas for the future was launched today (Nov 29).

First announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong when he unveiled the Cabinet line-up after the Sept 11 General Election, the SGfuture series will be led by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Minister in the Prime Minister’s office Chan Chun Sing.

Speaking at the official launch of the Future of Us exhibition at Gardens by the Bay today, Mr Lee said Singapore was coming to the close of SG50 and “beginning a new chapter of the Singapore story”.

“Our future depends on what we make of it together and it’s up to each one of us to voice our hopes and our future dreams, to make the choices to realise these dreams, to help one another and work as team Singapore to shape our own destiny, so that we can build a Singapore that is inclusive, diverse but united,” said Mr Lee.

The SGfuture sessions, which began today, will be held till to the middle of next year. They will be organised by various agencies and non-profit organisations, and will explore areas such as fostering a caring community, building a sustainable home, creating opportunities for learning, and strengthening community and national resilience.

“I hope you will step forward to work with fellow Singaporeans to shape our future, the future of us, so that by SG 100, we will have another celebration as happy and satisfying as this,” said Mr Lee.

The OSC series, announced a year after the 2011 General Election, was a year-long exercise led by then-Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.

About 47,000 Singaporeans were engaged in 660 sessions, with the feedback culminating in a report that set out ideals Singaporeans wanted for their government. The report found that Singaporeans wanted a government that was ready for diverse views, had empathy and was open to engaging with citizens.

Speaking to reporters today, Ms Fu said Singapore faces the challenge of keeping society united “as we find new fault lines in a very new nation”. “So getting citizens involved, engaged (is) the objective of SGfuture and Future of Us, (allowing us) the platform to engage many, many Singaporeans.”

She urged Singaporeans to think about the future and “pledge to do something” with their family and friends for Singapore. “This is not just about giving your ideas,” said Ms Fu. “It’s about putting your ideas into action and together ... as a united people really striving forward to bring about a better future for Singapore.”

The OSC, she said, provided a “very good idea” of the aspirations of Singaporeans, and the next phase is to “bring action into reality”. “It can be a small project to encourage recycling, a small project to volunteer to look after the elderly in the neighbourhood, it can be across many many sectors.”

Asked about the timeline and scope of the series, Ms Fu said time was needed to work out the details and it was “a bit early” to talk about “concrete numbers” for now.

Meanwhile, the Future of Us exhibition will run till March 8 next year. The exhibition opens to the public Tuesday, but some Singaporeans were invited to a preview today. Among them was Mdm Shermeen Ng, who liked the futuristic concepts that were featured, like the cars of the future. “It will be excellent for my children,” said Mdm Ng, who is in her 30s and works in human resources in a bank. She visited the fair with her mother-in-law and two children.

Admission to the exhibition is free, but visitors are encouraged to register for tickets in advance at www.thefutureofus.sg. Tickets for January will be made available Tuesday.


SGfuture dialogue sessions launched to engage youth on Singapore's future
The aim of the SGfuture engagement series is to spur youths to envision their hopes and aspirations for Singapore.
Faris Mokhtar Channel NewsAsia 29 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE: SGfuture, an engagement series to spur Singapore youths to envision their hopes and aspirations for Singapore, was launched on Sunday (Nov 29).

The first dialogue session of the engagement series was held on Sunday at The Future of Us exhibition, located near Gardens by the Bay. One of the topics discussed among 100 youths aged between 16 and 35 was exploring how to develop an empathetic society that reaches out to and cares for the elderly.

The youths were also encouraged to turn their ideas and suggestions that were raised during the discussions into reality.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who will co-lead the effort together with Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, said the engagement series is an opportunity to chart the future.

"We kick off the series with our youth, and we hope it will spur more young Singaporeans into thinking how we can build a Singapore that we will continue to be proud of," she explained, speaking at the launch of SGfuture.

"The Singapore Conversation gives us very good ideas about the aspirations of Singapore... The next phase that we're doing, which is SGfuture, is to bring action into reality," she added.

The various dialogue sessions will be organised by various Government agencies as well as non-profit organisations. Those interested in participating in the upcoming sessions can do so by signing up at the SGfuture website.

- CNA/xq



Volunteer hub among ideas at first SGfuture session
AMANDA LEE Today Online 30 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE — The SGfuture engagement series kicked off today (Nov 29) with 100 youth leaders and young working adults brainstorming for ideas for Singapore’s future.

Organised by the National Youth Council (NYC), the participants were aged between 16 and 35 years old, and came from a range of backgrounds, from working in the private sector (22 per cent) to members of Youth Corps Singapore (35 per cent).

They were split into six groups to discuss ideas such as the future of security, building an empathetic society and creating opportunities for youths from all backgrounds.

Among the ideas to emerge at the session was having a volunteer hub to share resources for volunteering programmes. Ms Murugiah Komala, marketing manager of social enterprise Project Dignity, which works with the disabled and disadvantaged, said a volunteer hub would make it easier to people to start volunteer programmes and or take part in them. For example, it could serve as a database, said Ms Komala, 27, who was in the group discussing how to build an empathetic society.

Final-year Temasek Polytechnic student Andria Tan, who was part of the group discussing opportunities for youths, said her group talked about why people are happy in their jobs. “We want to find out how they can be satisfied in their jobs even without earning a good pay,” said the 19-year-old, who is also part of the Youth Corps Singapore.

Speaking to reporters, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee said there was a “diversity of views” during the session.

“You cannot expect (from) one session (to have) a confluence of ideas. In fact you want the diversity to drive a momentum forward, added Mr Lee, who is also chairman of the Youth Corps Singapore Advisory Committee and Council Member of the NYC.

He also described the sessions as a “call to action” rather than a dialogue session. “We want people to take up projects, to take up collaborations with each other and with government and civil society and to make things happen,” he said.

Another four sessions will be held this month, including one Tuesday by Halogen Foundation Singapore on empowering youths from underprivileged backgrounds. The public can go to www.singapore50.sg/SGfuture for more information.


PM Lee: Let's unite and build towards SG100
Walter Sim, Calvin Yang, The New Paper AsiaOne 30 nov 15;

BY HELPING one another and working as a team, Singaporeans can shape the nation's destiny and forge a future that is inclusive and united in diversity, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

Speaking at the launch of The Future Of Us exhibition at Gardens by the Bay, Mr Lee looked back at how the nation had overcome uncertainty and racial tensions during independence, as he cast an eye on what the future of Singapore will be like 50 years from today.

Singapore as it is now is the "work of more than one generation, each standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before", he said, crediting pioneers for their sacrifice and for building Singapore up brick by brick.

Likewise, Singapore's future "depends on what we make of it together", he added. "It is up to each one of us to voice our hopes and future dreams, to make the choices to realise these dreams."

The free Future Of Us exhibition, which opens to the public tomorrow at Gardens by the Bay, is the capstone event of the year-long SG50 Golden Jubilee celebrations. It has seen overwhelming response with more than 85 per cent of tickets booked for the opening month.

The exhibition, which will end on March 8 next year, envisions how daily living will be like in 2030, with possible innovative developments in areas such as transport, housing and healthcare.

The SG50 celebrations have "been an extra special year for all of us and I am sure each of us has his or her own special memories", Mr Lee noted.

He said looking forward will involve "coming together as one people, one nation, one Singapore, re-dedicating ourselves to build a better Singapore (and) looking forward to the possibilities ahead of us".

Mr Lee also said that it was fitting to have taken part in the SG50 Jubilee Big Walk earlier yesterday morning, going past historic and iconic sites in the Civic District.

Some 25,000 people took part in the 5km mass walk, organised by The New Paper and the People's Association.

It included part of a permanent 8km commemorative trail, known as the Jubilee Walk that Mr Lee also launched yesterday, which connects more than 20 historic and iconic locations within the Civic District and Marina Bay precinct.

The event was flagged off by Mr Lee at the National Museum of Singapore, the walk's starting point.

The mass walk's route took participants past key landmarks and sites that mark significant events in the nation's development, including the Padang and Parliament House, before ending at the Meadow at Gardens by the Bay.

Mr Lee - who took selfies with some participants, shook hands with others and exchanged high fives with young children - also launched the 220m Jubilee Bridge that connects the Merlion Park and the waterfront promenade by the Esplanade.

He then made a brief visit of the SG Heart Map Festival at the Marina Bay floating platform.


Singaporeans must work together to shape their future: PM Lee
The Government will be launching new citizen engagement series SGfuture, two years after the conclusion of the nationwide feedback-gathering exercise Our Singapore Conversation.
Justin Ong and Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid, Channel NewsAsia 29 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE: The future of Singapore depends on what Singaporeans make of it together, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday (Nov 29).

He was speaking at the launch of the Future of Us exhibition, which offers a glimpse into what living in Singapore could be like in 2030.

"What will our future be like? That's what the Future of Us exhibition is about. It's up to each one of us to voice our hopes and future dreams. To make the choices to realise these dreams. To help one another and work as Team Singapore, to shape our own destiny so that we can build our own Singapore that's inclusive, diverse but united," Mr Lee said.

To that end, the Government is kicking off the SGfuture citizen engagement series. The initiative will be led by ministers Grace Fu and Chan Chun Sing, and will provide Singaporeans with a platform to come together to share their views, aspirations and ideas for the future through discussions and dialogue sessions.

The initiative builds on the nationwide Our Singapore Conversation, the largest feedback-gathering exercise in the nation’s history, which involvedinvolving more than 660 dialogue sessions where Singaporeans discussed their views on Government policies.

Mr Lee said he hoped Singaporeans will help shape their collective future through the engagement series.

"I hope you will step forward to work with fellow Singaporeans to shape our future – the Future of Us," he said. "So that by SG 100, we will have another celebration as happy and satisfying as this."

Mr Lee added: "Fifty years from now, our children can come back and tell their grandchildren: It was here they caught a glimpse of what they could create for the future, and we were moved to turn dreams into reality and to write the next chapter of the Singapore story.

“And that is why after SG50, Singapore continued to be an endearing and shining little red dot for many more years to come."

The Future of Us exhibition runs from Dec 1 to Mar 8. It will be the last major event to round up the nation's SG50 celebrations. More than 85 per cent of tickets for December have been snapped up.

- CNA/cy


Ministers urge Singaporeans to take action for the future
Walter Sim, My Paper AsiaOne 30 Nov 15;

A NEW series of public engagement sessions kicked off yesterday, with the aim of encouraging Singaporeans to share their views about the future and turn them into reality.

The SGfuture series will run until the middle of next year. It is led by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing.

"This is a crucial point for us to look beyond SG50 towards SG100 and amongst the challenges that Singapore will face is how to keep the society united as we find new fault lines in a very new nation," Ms Fu told reporters.

Added Mr Chan in a statement: "The SGfuture engagements are timely in getting Singaporeans to build consensus about the future they wish to have, and to commit these aspirations to action."

The dialogue series will take inspiration from some of the possible scenarios presented at The Future Of Us exhibition, which opens to the public tomorrow and was launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

It aims to build on the nationwide Our Singapore Conversation that was completed two years ago.

Ms Fu said the exercise had provided very good ideas about the aspirations of Singaporeans, such as compassion and care for the environment, which were subsequently captured in The Future Of Us exhibition.

"We want Singaporeans to step forward to put the values that they have envisioned in Our Singapore Conversation into action," she said, adding that some of the possible ground-up projects could involve recycling and volunteering to look after the elderly.

The first session yesterday, organised by the National Youth Council, had 100 young participants aged between 16 and 35. They discussed issues such as security, the environment and how to build an empathetic society.

Addressing the youth participants, Ms Fu urged them to "carry the torch" started by pioneer Singaporeans and to "carry it further and better for us".

Members of the public can visit www.singapore50.sg/SGfuture to sign up for upcoming sessions.

The session on Wednesday involves non-profit organisations and envisions the future of giving in Singapore, while another on Friday will explore how to foster meaningful engagement through the arts.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Lee urged Singaporeans to actively participate in the SGfuture exercise so as to "shape our future, the Future Of Us".

That way, 50 years from now, the young generation of Singaporeans today can tell their grandchildren or even great-grandchildren it was here they "caught a glimpse of what they could create for the future, were moved to turn these dreams into reality and to write the next chapter of the Singapore story".

"And that is why after SG50, Singapore continued to be an endearing and shining little red dot for many, many years to come," said Mr Lee.


PM Lee launches platforms to discuss nation's future
Walter Sim, Straits Times AsiaOne 30 Nov 15;

By helping one another and working as a team, Singaporeans can shape the nation's identity and build a country that is inclusive and united in diversity, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

As he launched the Future Of Us exhibition at Gardens by the Bay, he said: "It is up to each one of us to voice our hopes and future dreams, to make the choices to realise these dreams."

Mr Lee also announced the launch of the SGfuture series of dialogues, which he said will kick off the journey into the next 50 years.

The new dialogues will be led by Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, and aim to build on the ideas of the nationwide Our Singapore Conversation that ended in 2013.

The first session started yesterday, with young Singaporeans discussing issues such as security, the environment, and how to build an empathetic society.

In his speech, Mr Lee noted that the Singapore of today is the "work of more than one generation, each standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before".

He credited the pioneer generation for their determination to see the country prevail, even when the future was bleak and racial tensions were high in the early years.

Through the effort of generations of Singaporeans, the country was transformed, and people's lives improved, he said.

Likewise, the country's future will depend on "what we make of it together", he added.

He made the remarks before a tour of the exhibition, which will open to the public tomorrow. The capstone event of the year-long SG50 Golden Jubilee celebrations aims to get Singaporeans thinking about the nation's next chapter.

The exhibition depicts scenarios of how daily living will be like in the year 2030. In a segment where visitors can pen their dreams for the future, Mr Lee wrote: "May we abound with greenery and fresh air!"

Earlier yesterday, he launched the 8km Jubilee Walk commemorative trail, a permanent trail that passes by key historic and iconic sites marking Singapore's development, including the Padang.

He also visited the SG Heart Map Festival, which celebrates the favourite places of Singaporeans, at the Marina Bay floating platform.

Mr Lee said with the SG50 celebrations, it has been "an extra special year for all of us and I am sure each of us has his or her own special memories".

With the Jubilee year coming to an end, said Mr Lee yesterday, it was fitting to launch an exhibition about Singapore's future.

He called on Singaporeans to come together "as one people, one nation, one Singapore", and to rededicate themselves to building a better Singapore.

Mr Lee said he hopes that 50 years from now, today's young generation of Singaporeans will tell their grandchildren or even great-grandchildren: "It was here they caught a glimpse of what they could create for the future, were moved to turn these dreams into reality and to write the next chapter of the Singapore story.

"And that is why after SG50, Singapore continued to be an endearing and shining little red dot for many many years to come."


Singapore starts new public engagement initiative, looking at SG100
Soon Weilun, The Straits Times AsiaOne 30 Nov 15;

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday encouraged Singaporeans to voice their views on what they hope Singapore will be like over the next few decades, and called on all to work together to help shape that future.

To strengthen national unity in the process, the government is launching a new public engagement initiative called "SGfuture", to solicit ideas to attain that vision.

Mr Lee made the announcement on Sunday after taking part in two major events - the SG50 Jubilee Big Walk and the launch of the exhibition "The Future of Us" - that brimmed with significance in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Singapore's independence.

Said Mr Lee: "I hope you will step forward to work with your fellow Singaporeans to shape our future - the future of us. So by SG100, we'll have another celebration as happy and satisfying as this one."

The SGfuture series is expected to run until the middle of next year, and will build on ideas solicited through the year-long Our Singapore Conversation, a similar government initiative that kicked off in September 2012.

The SGfuture series will be led by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing.

Noting that there are now "new fault lines" appearing, Ms Fu told reporters that the launch of SGfuture will be integral in helping Singaporeans maintain a sense of unity as the country charts its way forward.

"This is a crucial point for us to look beyond SG50 towards SG100, and among the challenges that Singapore will face is how to keep the society united as we find new fault lines in a very new nation," she said.

This new series of engagement will take inspiration from the possibilities presented in "The Future of Us".

Through focused discussions and dialogue sessions, organisers hope to attract Singaporeans to share their views for the future.

In addition, Singaporeans are also encouraged to turn these ideas into reality by taking part in workshops and embarking on projects.

The first SGfuture session, organised by the National Youth Council, was held on Sunday.

One hundred youths aged between 16 and 35 took part. They discussed issues such as security, the environment, and how to build an empathetic society.

Members of the public can visit www.singapore50.sg/sgfuture to sign up for upcoming sessions.

"The Future of Us" exhibition, held at Gardens by the Bay, will open to the public on Tuesday.

The three-month-long free exhibition draws upon government research papers and masterplans as well as ideas collected from youth seminars and Our Singapore Conversation.

It comprises six interactive zones, four of which will be housed in four purpose-built domes.

Gardens by the Bay was the end point of a 5km walk that PM Lee took part in earlier on Sunday.

In the SG50 Jubilee Big Walk, organised by The New Paper and People's Association, Mr Lee and some 25,000 participants walked past key landmarks and sites that mark significant events in the nation's development, including the Padang and Parliament House.

He also launched the 220-metre Jubilee Bridge that connects Merlion Park and the waterfront promenade by the Esplanade.


Young Singaporeans throw up ideas for country's future at dialogue
Walter Sim, The Straits Times AsiaOne 1 Dec 15;

A young man suggested organising communal feasts to celebrate Singapore's diversity, while another proposed teaching first aid to all Singaporeans so that they can help in the event of emergencies.

The ideas flew thick and fast yesterday when 100 young Singaporeans came together at the first session of the SGfuture dialogue series, to talk about their hopes for the country, and how they can bring them to fruition.

Led by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, it is a new public engagement exercise, following the Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) completed two years ago.

Ms Fu told reporters yesterday: "This is a crucial point for us to look beyond SG50 towards SG100, and among the challenges that Singapore will face is how to keep the society united as we find new fault lines in a very new nation."

Mr Chan said in a statement that he hoped it will get Singaporeans to "build consensus about the future they wish to have, and to commit these aspirations to action".

The SGfuture series, which will run until the middle of next year, will draw inspiration from the possible scenarios presented at The Future Of Us exhibition, which opens to the public tomorrow.

Ms Fu said SGfuture will also build on the hopes and values Singaporeans shared in the OSC: "We want Singaporeans to step forward to put the values that they have envisioned in the OSC into action."

During yesterday's session, organised by the National Youth Council, participants aged between 16 and 35 discussed issues such as security, the environment and building an empathetic society.

UniSIM finance undergraduate Kenneth Yap, 23, was actively involved in a discussion on how to encourage less consumerism. He said of the exercise: "It kick-starts the imagination on what is possible and can actually be done."

Public servant Mohamed Khairul Anwar Mohamed Abdul Alim, 31, said it was a good reminder to be attuned to the potential shortcomings of one's own positions. "A lot of issues today are open-ended and multi-dimensional," he said.

Members of the public can visit www.singapore50.sg/SGfuture to sign up for upcoming sessions.

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