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Youth think: Beyond SG50, towards SG100

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To some young S'poreans, SG100 is not a one-off event but a movement to improve S'pore

As SG51 comes to a close, it is noteworthy that a group of passionate youth continue their dreaming and thinking for SG100, beyond SG50. To them, SG100 is not a one-off SG50 celebratory event but a movement.

A self-strengthening movement where Singaporean youth channel their passion to useful speech and deeds for Singapore as active and thinking citizens.

The youth are part of the SG100 Think Future participants organised by Association for Public Affairs (APA), based at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, supported by National Youth Council and Young NTUC, among others.

Since its conceptualisation in October 2014 (SG49), the SG100 Compass project has involved 2,000 youth from junior colleges, ITEs, polytechnics, universities and young working adults.

Youth were involved in the formulation and selection of policy visions and recommendations.

These were in four broad categories: family and demography, jobs and economy, liveable cities, and society and identity.

Top ideas include:


Active citizens make Singapore wholesome. Starting as early as secondary school, students need civics education that enhances their civic awareness and sense of purpose.

Developing empathy for others needs a solid foundation from civics knowledge. Only then can actions in community work be purposeful and sustainable through to adulthood.


Married children need not mean isolation from elderly parents. Married children (with children of their own) need elderly parents as much as the parents yearn for their company.

The crux lies in how to balance the need for privacy and extended family support.

Our proposed balance: build housing based on specific extended family needs.

One can choose to stay in the same town, precinct, block, level or same unit, according to privacy and mutual support needs. In other words, bend the rules to suit the user.


Future economy, VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world.

Big words.

What does it mean to ordinary Singaporeans?

It is the lifelong learning attitude and what we learn in our formative years that matter.

We progressed from a Third World nation to a First World one in a single generation through copying.

But future economy cannot be copied; productivity growth requires indigenous innovation.

And we need to start inculcating creativity as early as primary school. No one will become creative after attending one university course on creativity. It is a lifelong discipline.

To prosper in the world economy, it also necessitates that our small- and medium-sized enterprises need to work together to punch overseas and bring the buck back.


Social beings yearn for a community. That's why "kampung spirit" is still desirable despite our economic prosperity.

Again, it is about balance.

We envisaged Singapore as the most liveable city where people achieve both economic prosperity and social harmony.

Enabled by Smart Nation technologies and data analytics, we enhance human interactions and reduce collective action problems through collaboration opportunities that reduced information asymmetry avails.

In conclusion, SG100 has witnessed youth in action - dreaming, thinking and in 2017, acting to implement their ideas in community pilot trials and possibly internship in selected ministries.

Most importantly, the SG100 movement is an exercise in collaborative governance where adult decision-makers harness youth idealism/energies for greater ownership and continuity of Singapore.

The writer is president at the Association for Public Affairs; organising chairman of SG100 Compass; Lee Kong Chian Scholar at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. For more information on SG100 and APA, go to