Sunday, February 07, 2010

PAYM Policy Forum - "Foreign Talent & Integrating New Citizens"

24 January 2010

The People's Association Youth Movement (PAYM) Policy Forum, titled "Foreign Talent & Integrating New Citizens" is organised by the Youth Executive Committees (YECs) of Aljunied GRC & Hougang SMC, spearheaded by Eunos CC YEC. The venue, Bedok Public Library, was sponsored by the National Library Board.

The experience as a member of the organising committee is beneficial in gaining insights into the preparation work involved in planning for a policy forum. Care is taken to sieve out the most relevant research materials for the participants. Through the research process, I also learnt much about citizenship benefits as well as various policies that aid the integration of new citizens.

I was privileged to be the Master-of-Ceremony for the event, applying my Toastmasters techniques in the process.

Was glad to see some of my friends coming forth to show support for the event, upon my SMS invites. One of them is my junior, Meng Zi, who was quite nervous about the forum because, according to her, she lacks knowledge in the topic. At the end of the 2-hour forum, she told me she learnt a lot about our immigration policies. I was heartened to hear that!

The forum commenced with a group discussion session. Participants were divided into 5 groups, each handling different sets of questions, namely - "Do we need foreign talents?", "Citizenship - A Right or a Privilege?", "Why New Citizens & Why Integrate?", "New Citzens' Impact on Society" and "How to Better Integrate New Citizens?".

I was the moderator for the group that discussed if citizenship were a right or a privilege. The discussion was rather spontaneous. Although all agreed that Singapore needs foreign talents and new citizens, we differed in our views on the "how to" question. For instance, one suggested that new-citizens-wannabe collect a certain number of referrals from Singaporeans before they could be granted citizenship.

After the discussion, there was a dialogue session with Guest-of-Honour Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister, Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance & Transport, MP for Aljunied GRC and Adviser to Serangoon Grassroots Organisations; Hosting Minister Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, MP for Aljunied GRC & Adviser to Eunos Grassroots Organisations; as well as Guest Speaker Mr Colin Low, Regional President for General Electric. The dialogue was moderated by Hock Rong, Organising Chairman & Chairman for Eunos CC YEC.

After the various speakers gave their comments on the topic, the various groups presented their discussion points. The Q&A then took place. During the sharing, the moderator asked for inputs from any foreigners present. A friend, Sarah Pham, who I met at the One Asia Forum, just graduated from NTU and is now a permanent resident. Her comments found their way to Lianhe Zaobao (see end of blog post for link).

At the end of the policy forum, all the YEC members took a group photo with the GOH, Hosting Minister and our guest speaker.

Some people have a very biased view about policy forums and dialogues. They think that their views would not be heard and at the end of the day, the government's decision will still be final. I would counter that view. During forums, there are note-takers who will record all the points brought up and these will be summed up in a report, which will be submitted to the relevant authorities. Views are definitely heard and if you abstained yourself from such platforms, your views will forever be kept to yourself.

To read the newspaper report by Lianhe Zaobao, as well as the English translation of the article, check out:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your feedback and comments.