Photo credit: YOUTHOPIA/CALEB LAU

What youths hope for in the future under Forward Singapore

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong launched Forward Singapore, a year-long engagement with Singaporeans to find out their concerns about the future.

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To better understand the concerns of Singaporeans, the Government’s fourth-generation leaders will embark on a year of citizen engagements as part of the Forward Singapore exercise. 

The exercise was launched on Jun 28 (Tuesday) by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, who will be leading the team. 

Mr Wong said that this exercise is an opportunity for him and his 4G colleagues to take a step back to “reflect on where we are, where we want to be in the future and how we can get there.”

Forward Singapore will have six pillars in this exercise, each overlooking key aspects of Singaporean lives: Economy and Jobs (Empower), Education and Lifelong Learning (Equip), Health and Social Support (Care), Home and Living Environment (Build), Environmental and Fiscal Sustainability (Steward) and Singapore Identity (Unite).              

Youthopia spoke to some youths to hear what are their hopes for Singapore’s future.

Greater social unity and entrepreneurship

“I have high hopes and expectations for Singapore’s economic future. Our country is filled with young and hungry entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses, some of them even successfully doing so at a very young age. 

“The presence of such businesses improves the job prospects for Singaporeans as a whole, as the companies can offer higher level jobs for locals, leading to an increase in quality job security for the majority.

 

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In order to support workers, the Government will continue to heavily invest in skills upgrading and retraining for employees to help them compete in the job market. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/ERNEST CHENG

 

“As for other areas of improvement, the nation can definitely progress in its inclusivity. Deep down, despite our success, the mentality of the people can still be quite tribalistic. 

“We see the poison of this bloom in the form of racist outbursts and rants both online and offline. Moving forward, I hope the 4G leaders can properly recognise and address this as it is holding us back as a society.” Dhakiya Muwaffiqa, 19, Student

Housing made more accessible for Singaporeans from all walks of life

“In the future, I hope to see an improvement in making housing more accessible for Singaporeans, regardless of age or marital status. 

“The cost of housing can be made more affordable too, such as adjusting property prices according to the average salaries of the public, for example. 

“The eligibility criteria for buyers can also be more accommodating towards different circumstances, so that more people have a chance at finding suitable housing.

 

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Mr Wong also mentioned in his speech that the 4G leaders will continue to work towards making housing affordable, especially for the young and first time buyers. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/AMANDA TAN

 

“As for the Singaporean identity, one sub-culture I would like to see being glorified less is hustle culture. We often see depictions of Singaporeans struggling to make ends meet for their families being depicted by the media as noble or a heartwarming tale. 

“Instead of normalising such situations, more can be done to integrate Singaporeans struggling with such situations better into society.” Joelle Tan, 19, Intern 

Supporting and caring for the vulnerable

I feel that vulnerable groups of people, such as senior citizens, the homeless and those with disabilities deserve more support and attention, as I often see and read about such groups of people fending for themselves.

“More support systems or initiatives can be introduced, such as helplines, introducing them to volunteer groups or even organising food donation drives and bonding sessions to engage them.

 

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Forward Singapore will take place over a year before releasing a report of the policy recommendations in mid-2023. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/AUNG NYI HTET

 

“I’m also glad to see the Singapore Government hold more dialogue and engagement sessions with citizens, as it gives us a platform to express our opinions towards certain aspects or policies of the nation.” Pranjal Basnet, 18, Student

Increase in mental health support avenues for students

As students in an increasingly competitive education landscape, we often find ourselves stressed and burnt out, which makes it all the more important for help to be readily available.

“This can come in the form of chatbots or even talks and workshops to guide those who are struggling on how to look after their mental health. That way, one will be more inclined to seek help when they need it, instead of keeping to themselves.

 

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Forward Singapore will serve to strengthen the nation’s social compact by engaging different groups of Singaporeans to understand their concerns. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHIOPIA/DANIAL IRFAN

 

“Moving forward, I hope that Singapore can implement more support systems and avenues which one can easily turn to when they are in need of help.” – Norman Lim, 18, Student

Providing awards and recognition for more diverse forms of student excellence

“I hope that the Government will take into account the different backgrounds that Singaporean students have and provide a wider variety of achievements for students to strive for. 

“As a student, I get to witness how some students are awarded for their academic achievements. 

“However, others who may perform well in other areas such as their extracurricular activities receive little to no awards or recognition. This will make them feel as if academics is the only pathway to succeed in life, which may not be true for all. 

“The Government can provide awards and recognition to these students who excel in other areas besides academics to be more inclusive in terms of its meritocracy.” – Hazleeq Shah, 19, Student

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