SINGAPORE: One common thread that has emerged from dialogue sessions of Our Singapore Conversation so far is the desire to have a society that values kindness and graciousness.
That was the observation of Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts, Lawrence Wong, having attended several of the sessions.
Mr Wong, who is also the Senior Minister of State for Education, was speaking to reporters after a youth dialogue on Saturday.
60 youths — mostly university, polytechnic and ITE students — participated in the Social Narratives, a series of youth engagement dialogues that is part of the national conversation.
The youths shared their views on what happiness means to them and how Singapore can be a happier place to live in.
They also took the opportunity to raise concerns about Singapore’s education system, calling for a more flexible education system that guides youths to pursue their passion and fulfil their true potential.
The participants went into their breakout sessions to discuss two questions: What happiness means to them and how to make Singapore a happier place.
They then presented their ideas to Mr Wong.
One group wanted Singaporeans to smile more, even asking for a day dedicated to it.
Others wanted Singaporeans to be more spontaneous — and even suggested a "spontaneity fund" to encourage it.
Mr Bryan Chua, one of the participants, said: "These spontaneous activities we thought about (include) going to the CBD and releasing a lot of balloons and sitting in the middle of the street, playing music for people to listen to. We thought these are great ideas to make people smile every day. But we realised that the biggest problem for a lot of people with these ideas is money. People don’t have the resources to go out and complete these ideas."
Mr Wong commended the ideas, and urged the youths to materialise their ideas.
He also noted that many Singaporeans are talking about the kind of values they would like to have for the future.
"In all the conversations I’ve attended, the issue of values comes out quite a lot," said Mr Wong. "Many Singaporeans do talk about them, desiring to have a society that’s anchored by values... people (want) a kinder (and) a more gracious society."
The next Social Narratives session will be held in early 2013.
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