SINGAPORE: On November 1, a new ministry will be setting the tone and direction for Singapore’s society.
The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) will be helmed by incoming Acting Minister Lawrence Wong.
MCCY will assume the current roles of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) in strengthening community bonds, promoting volunteerism and philanthropy, engaging youth, and developing the sports.
It will also assume the arts, heritage and national resilience functions of the current Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA).
The MCCY is building on existing plans in the arts, sports, youth and the community.
Mr Wong said his immediate task is to bring these groups together and engage the different stakeholders.
He said: "I think we would like to support what people are doing and have a sense of ownership and a genuine sense of engagement so that people know that they are being listened to and the ministry is here to support them."
Mr Wong outlined three broad priorities: inspiring people through the arts and sports, connecting people to strengthen community bonds and promoting a spirit of giving and service.
He stressed that the operative word is "heartware".
"With ’heartware’ matters, you cannot have a top—down approach," said Mr Wong. "The government has to listen; the government has to apply a light touch rather than a heavy hand."
He added: "Our role would be to try and facilitate, to engage and to support wherever we can. That’s what we will try to do."
Mr Wong hopes to engage youth in Singapore.
"We also want to get the engagement beyond schools because we do see a tapering off of participation rates after our students leave the institutions of learning," he said.
"We would like to see how we can engage the young, get them plugged into the community, get them linked up into community organisations so that they can continue their involvement even after they leave school."
To achieve this, the MCCY will make use of all available platforms in social media, as well as face—to—face interaction so that Singaporeans can feel involved in the plans.
Mr Wong hopes to share the ministry’s plans by the next Budget session in Parliament next year.
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