MAKING OURSELVES HEARD
Participants at F50 events pointed out that it would be impossible, and unwise, for the Government to turn a deaf ear to the vocal online community and their complaints. The Government, on its part, has made use of social media as an additional avenue to gain feedback.
Most F50 participants agree that a greater sense of citizen empowerment and belonging to Singapore is needed, although this may mean that Singapore would need to have more political leeway for views to be heard and considered.
At the same time, the Government still needs to have foresight on policies that address long-term issues while it listens more to diverse views and opinions.
The voices of non-citizens in Singapore should also not be ignored. Non-citizens will always be a part of the nation’s society, and care must be taken not to alienate or discriminate against them.
Perhaps the missing link here is trust; which needs to be built between the ruling party and the people in order for comments and solutions to be heard and actions taken, F50 participants proposed.
In Singapore, one of the key concerns is the potential disconnect between the Government and the governed. The debate over the Central Provident Fund (CPF) last year showed how easily Government policy can appear opaque to the layperson.
Another possible issue is the perceived lack of diversity among the present generation of leaders as some F50 participants feel that our current cabinet and the majority of our Members of Parliament come from similar backgrounds — highly educated and from professional fields.
This is perhaps an unintended consequence of Singapore’s principle of meritocracy but the public’s confidence and trust could be further eroded in the years ahead if our nation’s leaders are being seen as being unable to identify with the diverse needs of different segments of Singapore’s population, the F50 report said.
A contributing factor to dissatisfaction in Singapore is the nation’s continued introspective struggle, states the F50 report.
What is the Singapore identity? Given our multiculturalism and diversity, is there such a thing to begin with?
In order to establish a stable and secure platform from which Singapore can grow, Singaporeans could spend some time soul-searching and defining our identity.
The ability to define an honest identity of our own could be driven by an awareness of our history and an understanding of the personalities that shaped our nation.
This will then allow us to truly understand who we are as a people, and to develop the self-awareness and sense of identity that will help us face the challenges ahead.
This report is a collaboration between TODAY and the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.