Political watchers say on-going National Conversation effort takes no sides
Singapore's National Conversation is fast gathering steam in the social media, although details of other dialogue channels are expected soon.
Political watchers feel the exercise must raise people's confidence level and galvanise Singaporeans to believe that they have a stake in the nation's long-term future.
The National Conversation was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day message and then elaborated upon during the National Day Rally.
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who's fronting the effort has also kicked off the the Singapore Conversation website which so far received some ninety online posts.
One contributor says she hopes it's a genuine Facebook page that renders an authentic conversation for the benefit of Singaporeans.
The working mother of two young boys shares her challenges and says she is tensed about whether they can excel in schools and succeed in life later.
She adds working takes up time and energy, leaving her with little time for her boys.
Veteran MP for Marine Parade GRC, Seah Kian Peng says the National Conversation will be all-encompassing.
"We have to give it a go, and I also ask people to give it a go, it cannot do us any harm. It can only do us good. All those sitting on the sidelines and not taking part, they are missing an opportunity where all of us want to shape the kind of Singapore we want."
Political watchers add it's important for the government to also reach out to the silent majority.
Singaporeans also want to know what happens after the views are collected, says political watcher from the Singapore Management University, Assistant Professor Eugene Tan.
"If you look at the previous consultations like Singapore 21 and Remaking Singapore, the whole exercise ended with the publication of the Report and little mention was made after that. We need to show that this is consultation for the purposes of making everyone feel that they belong, but getting people to believe that they truly belong. One certainly hopes that this whole exercise will not be a one-off consultation exercise, I certainly hope this will be an on-going conversation."
And the Nominated MP hopes the National Conversation would be the beginning of smaller conversations to enrich the Singapore story.
-By S Ramesh
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