Monday 20 February 2012

Singapore must adapt and learn to manage social diversity: Grace Fu

By Hon Jing Yi, Channel NewsAsia, 18 Feb 2012

Singapore must adapt and learn to manage greater diversity in perspectives, value systems and aspirations.

Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications & the Arts Grace Fu said the challenge of increasing social diversity is likely to become greater as the society evolves.

She highlighted this as one of the challenges Singapore face in its next phase of nation-building.

Ms Fu was speaking at a partnership signing ceremony between SIM University (UniSIM) and the People's Association's leadership development arm (NACLI) on Saturday morning.

She said while diversity makes Singapore a unique melting pot of cultures and heritage, it can only be so if its social fabric is strong.

And there are emerging trends that tug at Singapore's social fabric.

Ms Fu said social media has amplified voices beyond what was attainable in the traditional media. And in an arena that is noisy, some people have attempted to be more extreme and assertive to be heard, at times to an extent that's uncomfortable for the majority.

Hence, she said the task of bonding and bridging these groups will become even more important.

She added that the People's Association and its wide network of 32,000 grassroots leaders will have their work cut out for them in the years ahead.

Another key challenge for Singapore is to connecting youths and the community.

Ms Fu said Singapore needs to continue engaging the young early and build up their community spirit so that they can play a crucial role in creating the country's future.

The third challenge she highlighted is Singapore's ageing population.

There is a need for more programmes, services and facilities to keep senior citizens active, employed and healthy.

Ms Fu said apart from the government, all stakeholders such as community leaders, voluntary and civic groups need to continue to play a role in making the lives of seniors more meaningful.

To overcome the three challenges she's outlined, Ms Fu urged Singaporeans to become active citizens and participate actively in making Singapore better.

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