Photo credit: Singapore-Indonesia Youth Leaders Exchange Programme 2020

Delegates from Singapore-Indonesia Youth Leaders Exchange Programme 2020 reflect on the 4th edition

2020’s SIYEP was the first to be held virtually.

Nigel Chin

Started writing for the passion. Now writing because it’s the only thing I can do.

Published: 7 January 2021, 4:44 PM

COVID-19 has put paid to plenty of travel plans in 2020, both business and leisure. 

The Singapore-Indonesia Youth Leaders Exchange Programme (SIYLEP) jointly organised by the National Youth Council and Indonesia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports was affected by the pandemic too. The fourth edition of the programme, held from Nov 19 to Nov 22, 2020, had to be hosted virtually by Indonesia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports.

The pandemic has led to companies globally pivoting to new modes of business practices in the face of travel restrictions, while lives and livelihoods have gone through dramatic changes driven by technology and globalisation. 

In light of that, the SIYLEP 2020 had the theme of “Digital Entrepreneurship”, with the programme designed to allow young leaders from both countries to gain deeper insights into digital entrepreneurship and how they can future proof themselves to be ready for future challenges. 

The SIYLEP 2020 saw 40 delegates from both countries in attendance. 

Youthopia spoke to four delegates to find out more about the programme. 

A learning experience

“It was my privilege to be selected as one of the delegates for the SIYLEP. Although we could not be in Indonesia due to COVID-19 and the programme was held virtually, we had a great time learning from the panel speakers and picking up Bahasa Indonesia.

“Over four days of the programme, I learnt how the Indonesia ecosystem supports youth entrepreneurship and saw how Indonesia has effectively used technology as a tool to transform the agricultural sector. I am also deeply inspired and humbled by the works of Tokopedia and Markoding. They are intentionally reaching out to people in different parts of Indonesia, to include the most vulnerable people in e-commerce and digital literacy.


Francesca and her buddy from Indonesia, Annsia Eldina during the SIYLEP 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: FRANCESCA PHOEBE WAH


“In this VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world, we have to be adaptable and resilient. The works of the panel speakers show us how they had turned each gap or challenge into opportunity. As youths, we can and we should make our hands dirty to solve the problems we see around us.” – Francesca Phoebe Wah, 29, Planning Officer in the Ministry of Education Planning Division. 

Inspired by passionate delegates

“My overall experience was very positive and I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to NYC and the Ministry of Youth and Sports (Indonesia) for this opportunity. Although the programme had to be held virtually, this did not dampen anyone’s enthusiasm and I enjoyed it thoroughly. 

The programme was well-organised and thought, and each speaker brought a different perspective to the discussions. I enjoyed listening to how each speaker was inspired to start working in his/her area and how their programmes have impacted many lives. 

“I was inspired by fellow delegates from both Singapore and Indonesia who are very passionate about helping the community and reaching out to the disadvantaged. My buddy Melkias Elona (or Melcky) conducts free English lessons from his house in Rajah Ampat for children who have no access to English education. He shared with me that English resources and teaching materials were hard to come by for him, and so I hope to help him. As a start, I have sourced for second hand English textbooks and reading books to ship to him. I was also happy to practise my Indonesian with Melcky and other Indonesian delegates. 


Andrew said he had a very positive experience overall in the SIYLEP 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: ANDREW LEUNG


“As part of the programme, each pair had to perform a ‘buddy cheer’ and I was not looking forward to it initially. Melcky suggested that we sing the chorus of a Michael Jackson’s song. Heal the World. I’d never heard the song before so that night I listened to it for the first time. We also decided to play music for the performance – him on his guitar and me on my ukulele. To my (pleasant) surprise, it was very well received! Other delegates typed comments like “encore” to cheer us on. I was really glad it turned out well and that Melcky and I could have this shared virtual experience of SIYLEP.” – Andrew Leung, 30, Public Servant. 


Melcky (left) and Andrew (right) practising the song Heal The World. GIF CREDIT: ANDREW LEUNG

Important to keep ourselves productive

“Even though we, the Indonesian delegation, could not directly welcome our friends from Singapore in Indonesia, SIYLEP 2020 still provided a lot of experiences and lessons for me and other delegates.

“There were nine inspiring speakers for this program from the Assistant Deputy of Entrepreneurship Department of Kemenpora, Tokopedia Tech Company, and start-ups like Markoding, Villa Duta Farm, Jakarta Good Guide. The speakers taught us how they struggled with their business and shared their experience of how they are facing this situation with some adjustments in key areas. They also told us that we have to be prepared for changes that keep coming and we have to adapt in every situation. 

“It is really important to keep ourselves productive during this time. By joining the interactive seminar session in four days and to be able to learn something new from the speakers’ experience is a great way to stay productive. Through collaboration we will be able to find ways to survive in every situation. 


The Indonesian delegates having a discussion together during a break. PHOTO CREDIT: I GEDE HADIKA KRESNA WIRAWAN


“The delegation was asked to create a joint social project that can be implemented in both countries. Initially the delegation divided into five groups to have a discussion for the project that will be presented in the next day. My group project was selected to be the one of the projects to be realized together with the entire delegation. Shout out to my great group members Daryl, Shawn, and Afiq from Singapore with Heri, Dhysti, and I from Indonesia.  For our project, we designed a digital platform that could connect talents to the workplace.

“Another interesting session was when our friends from Singapore had a short course of Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian Language). It was really fun to see all of the delegation having a short conversation in Bahasa Indonesia. Terima kasih!” – I Gede Hadika Kresna Wirawan, 24, Indonesian delegate 

Unforgettable experience

“SIYLEP 2019-2020 was a turning point in my life. I never imagined that I would get such a valuable experience from this program. I have made new friends from Singapore and Indonesia. 

“In 2019, I learned how Singapore is so focused on sustainable living, while my Singaporean Buddy Amalia Nadhirah encouraged me to be more confident and brave in facing challenges. The friendliness and kindness extended by my Singaporean counterparts, Yurlina Yusuf and her family, in 2019 is something I will never forget. 


Ni Ketut Alit Astuti said she had plenty of fun from 2019 and 2020’s SIYLEP. PHOTO CREDIT: NI KETUT ALIT ASTUTI


“SIYLEP 2020 was interesting because we could only meet virtually, but that did not take the fun away. I was happy to see my Singapore buddy Nicholas Lee pick up Bahasa Indonesia and use it to make cheers on the closing day.

“We also had a short discussion about social projects with Singaporean friends and I was happy that our project, Solid Goro, was chosen. I hope this project can help many young families in both countries.” – Ni Ketut Alit Astuti, 24, Indonesian Delegate. 


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