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National Conversation

This tag is associated with 35 posts

Ground Engagement Should Be The Norm For Politicians And Civil Servants

The recent focus on ground engagement among politicians and civil servants – to “go out and engage stakeholders and Singaporeans” (ST, Nov. 22) and to develop and nurture “a consultative relationship between the government and citizens” (ST, Nov. 22) – is odd not because of its importance in the context of increasingly complex governance demands, but because it might have been assumed that it should be or that it is already the norm. Central to policymaking is an understanding of the problems and how they are perceived by the individuals affected by them, and these interactions with constituents are especially important if the politicians and civil servants hail from different demographic or socio-economic backgrounds, and therefore have dissimilar perspectives and life experiences. Continue reading

Success Of New National Conversation Depends On Participation Of “Naysayers” And The Less Privileged

The success of the upcoming national conversations depends if “naysayers” and less-privileged Singaporeans participate in these discussions, as well as the extent to which they can set the agenda and to extend their participation beyond these one-off endeavours.

And having participated in the Our Singapore Conversation series in 2012 and 2013 and the sessions by the education and defence ministries, and having benefited from the interactions with different Singaporeans, the risks of running over the same old ground and of selective engagement must be noted. Continue reading

Drumming Up Youth Interest In #Budget2018? Try These Five Short-Term Strategies

The Ministry of Finance has been criticised for its engagement of “online micro-influencers” to publicise the upcoming Budget. Long-term solutions to the problems of youth lethargy or apathy lie in civic engagement, but with the “micro-influencers” already engaged and with the finance minister due to deliver his Budget speech in a few weeks, five short-term strategies can be considered (potentially for the future too):

1. Reach out to the same “micro-influencers” again, but encourage them to do more beyond the Instagram posts;
2. Don’t overwhelm: Frame the discussion by highlighting key issues;
3. Let young Singaporeans set the agenda, on their economic or financial concerns;
4. Take the first steps towards (the exploration of) participatory budgeting; and
5. Document these exchanges in an interactive fashion. Continue reading

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