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“Our Singapore” Conversation Reaches 10,000 Singaporeans

The “Our Singapore Conversation” initiative has reached out to nearly 10,000 Singaporeans so far. This was stated by the Chairman of the ‘Our Singapore Conversation’ and Education Minister Heng Swee Keat during an interaction with the media. He said that this is quite a significant number.

The initiative reached this number of people only over a period of three months. This was done through multiple platforms such as face-to-face interactions and online media connection with locals and Singaporeans based in the United States, China and Britain.

The Conversation’s next phase of engagement of the citizenry will be launched in 2013.

So far, there had been many issues and concerns raised during the interactions. Locals raised issues such as support of government to non-working mothers and the efforts of officials in pursuing the values and vision of meritocracy and multi-culturalism.

Mr. Heng said the team plans to act on some of the ideas that have already emerged, especially those which can be done immediately. One example is the discussion on extending MediShield coverage to include congenital and neonatal conditions.

In the meantime, he said that three broad themes have emerged under the categories of hope, heart and home. In the area of “hope,” individuals need to fulfil their career aspirations and non-career aspirations.

The second area relates to “heart”, where discussions have been focused on how Singaporeans can care for each other and those who are vulnerable, those with special needs and the elderly. There have also been discussions on the need for the right policies and programmes to reach to this segment of the society.

Mr. Heng also emphasized that the rapid ageing population of Singapore is a clear trend that needs to be addressed. He said that Singapore needs to look at what other countries are doing and how quickly the country is ageing. The government, he said, needs to see what the options are for this trend.

The third area is the topic of Singapore as “home” where the need to create the sense of community and bonding and the kampong spirit has been discussed by the participants. There has also been a lot of discussion about the Singapore identity, the values and culture.

“There is an interesting theme of Singapore as a home that appeals to us and at the same time maintaining our important social fabric of a multi-racial, multicultural and multi-religious society,” he added.

In January 2013, “Our Singapore Conversation” will continue with discussions in an open-ended format with a few more discussions.

The “Our Singapore Conversation” is a national conversation initiative first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his 2012 National Day message. The initiative was launched to urge communication with locals to create a “home with hope and heart.”