Youth

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Contents

Definitions

Definition of civically engaged youth

  • What counts as 'apathy'? Are youths actually apathetic? This framing may not be helpful. There is actually significant levels of youth participation and interest in civil society.

Context and History

A vibrant youth movement in 1942-1965 decolonisation and nation-building. Singapore's population was young then, and therefore many social policies were youth-oriented policies. PAP itself was founded as a meeting of the most politicized and active youth in Singapore (as result of Fajar Trial in 1954).

Singapore carefully manages and polices youth, and constantly tries to mobilise and deploy young people in service of their nationalist agendas. Young people enjoys space within carefully managed boundaries.

Lee Kuan Yew 1996 to Singapore Polytechnic: "When you are young… it is an age of idealism when you believe nothing is beyond fulfilment. And you are motivated …by a desire to try and bring about a better world....And that is an asset to any community.…The idealism of youth is a valuable weapon in the hands of any sophisticated, ruling elite….you stop short of just enough to prevent real unruliness; and, short of that, we give full play to youthful boisterousness, exuberance, vigour, vitality and idealism."

Additional Resources:

Podcast on making of youth in Singapore by Edgar Liao, hosted by Kwan Jin Yao.

Seminar by Edgar Liao on how state constructs "youth" in Singapore.

List of State Driven Youth Mobilization: (non-exhaustive)

  • Singapore Youth Council (1948-1959)
  • The National University of Singapore (1948 - )
  • Work Brigade (1960-1963)
  • Vigilante Corps (1964-1982)
  • National Service (1967 - )
  • National Youth Leadership Training Institute (1964- )
  • People’s Association Youth Movement (1971- )
  • Community Involvement Program (1997- )
  • National Youth Council (1989- )
  • Youth Corps Singapore (2014- )


Evolution of Youth Activism in Singapore

  • Perceived homogeneity of social media space - saturation of resources in the IG space. Youth groups increasingly undertand the intersectionality of issues, therefore hard for youth groups to talk about their issues in isolation.
  • Growth of organisation

Key Statistics & Figures

  • [Insert figures relevant to youth activism; how many, who does what?]

Map of Key Needs & Issues

[This table and arrows acts as a kind of visual map that allows a sense of sequencing; of the broad preconditions necessary for longer term outcomes to be achieved. Hyperlink the categories below to the specific page or sub-header in the page for easy navigation, so that you can click on 'Employment' below for example, and get straight to that page / segment]

Click the links below to go directly to specific areas of interest:

Online Resources Youths understand significance of social issues
Catalytic Programmes Youths motivated to be socially enagged
State funding

Community funding

Funding and Resources
Youths engage in sustained and meaningful civic enaggement
Training Capability and expertise
Navigating government

Stakeholder management

Permission from authorities
Networks Solidarity and mutual support from civic groups

Sub-pages

  • If there are population segments that have substantial enough information or interest, then create sub-pages for them. e.g. 'Autism' can be a stand alone pages linked to the Disability pages if the autism community is keen to populate more autism specific information. Or, artists with disability can populate a 'Arts & Disability' page.
  • Insert links to these sub-pages.

Areas of Needs / Desired Outcomes


Catalyze youth civic engagement

  • Desired Outcome: get youth from diverse backgrounds to be socially engaged and 'woke'?
  • Synopsis: [To insert]
  • Statistics: [To insert]
Existing Programmes Gaps & Their Causes Possible Solutions
State Driven Youth Mobilisation

-intentional and deliberate projects by state

Not engage youths from disadvantaged backgrounds? Mostly privileged youths.


Many youths are perceived to be 'apathetic' in the sense that they do not care about or prioritise causes that activist youth care about


Have empathy with apathetic youths first, then have patience

Non-State Driven Youth Mobilisation Learn how to include and amplify diverse youth voices


Get youths themselves to start and bring conversations to classrooms

Organic and Spontaneous Movements

-spontaneous and driven by dramatic events

Such movements tend to be more diverse? (eg Project Hill)
State Driven Youth Mobilization
Non-State Movements
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Organic and Spontaneous Movements
  • Project Hills - respond to Covid-19 Circuit Breaker.
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Need to be more diverse and inclusive

  • Desired Outcome: [To insert]
  • Synopsis: [To insert]
  • Statistics: [To insert]
Existing Programmes Gaps & Their Causes Possible Solutions
Category A Inclusion means more time spent on accommodating diverse and possibly incompatible views
Category B Issues are intersectional
Category C
Category A Programmes
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Category B Programmes
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Category C Programmes
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Youth need to understand and appreciate the worth / significance of different social causes

  • Desired Outcome: [To insert]
  • Synopsis: [To insert]
  • Statistics: [To insert]
Existing Programmes Gaps & Their Causes Possible Solutions
Community driven knowledge Youths get overwhelmed by range and depth of issues
Social Media (?)
Category C

Community-driven knowledge

  • CAPE's online resources, providing a meta-view of larger systems at play
  • wiki.socialcollab.sg
Category B Programmes
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Category C Programmes
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Funding and resources

  • Desired Outcome: [To insert]
  • Synopsis: [To insert]
  • Statistics: [To insert]
Existing Programmes Gaps & Their Causes Possible Solutions
Government funding Youth organisations that are political cannot receive funding
Community or crowd funding
Category C
Government funding
Community or crowdfunding
  • social media
  • insert
Category C Programmes
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Need capabilities /expertise / experience / skills in community and civic engagement

[Insert Need Area / Desired Outcome]

  • Desired Outcome: [To insert]
  • Synopsis: [To insert]
  • Statistics: [To insert]
Existing Programmes Gaps & Their Causes Possible Solutions
Category A
Category B
Category C
Category A
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Category B
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Category C Programmes
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Need to secure permission from authorities, getting 'white listed' to be able to do the work

  • Desired Outcome: Push the boundaries but still remain nonthreatening (?)
  • Synopsis: [To insert]
  • Statistics: [To insert]
Existing Programmes Gaps & Their Causes Possible Solutions
'Cooperative' or Sanctioned Youth Movements Carefully policed boundaries (baggage from colonial past to get rid of communism) now excludes all and any kind of political activity.


Authorities may perceive 'changemakers' as 'troublemakers', since doing something implies that existing progammes or policies are not working as well as they can.

Government tends to have closed door discussions, which seems too exclusive.


Even social service agencies perceive threat from ground-up movements

May not even be able to have 'spicy' conversations because state is always watching; negotiate with stakeholders on what is allowable

Ensure non-partisanship; no agenda from political actors


Be transparent in order to be publicly accountable, and gain trust from authorities and partners

Closed Door Discussions not a problem, see Faizah Jamal on Nature Society


Frame it as education (e.g. as CAPE does) to help audience arrive at their own informed decisions.

Having conversations with others who do not share your political beliefs so that you arrive at empathic understanding and less unwavering position

Engage in pragmatic resistence but note the tradeoffs

'Antagonistic' Youth Movements
Category C
Category A Programmes
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Category B Programmes
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Category C Programmes
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Solidarity with and mutual support from civic groups

  • Desired Outcome: solidarity with other movements, relationships across groups to avoid burn out
  • Synopsis: [To insert]
  • Statistics: [To insert]
Existing Programmes Gaps & Their Causes Possible Solutions
Category A Fatigue and Burnout of activist youths Self-care (see Audre Lorde quote)


Cultivate Hope

Networks between youth groups Duplication or competition with other civic groups Band together rather than compete with each other, e.g. signing with solidarity (even when it doesn't relate to your cause)
Category C
Category A Programmes
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Category B Programmes
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Category C Programmes
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Sustained youth civic engagement

  • Desired Outcome: solidarity with other movements, relationships across groups to avoid burn out
  • Synopsis: [To insert]
  • Statistics: [To insert]
Existing Programmes Gaps & Their Causes Possible Solutions
Category A Youths move from one issue to another; and slacktivism
Category B
Category C
Category A Programmes
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Category B Programmes
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Category C Programmes
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Resource Directory

CAPE - Community for Advocacy and Political Education

https://cape.commons.yale-nus.edu.sg/

CAPE is a student-run organised based in Yale-NUS. Founded in 2017 by law and Yale-NUS students. Citizens did not understand political processes and law and sought to help by creating political consciousness and education to help understand systemic issues. Eg for LGBT issues, CAPE takes a meta-approach, on the evolution of activist movements in Singapore. Check out their online resources. They also have outreach events to present diverse views to help audience arrive at their own positions.

Edgar Liao

Historian of childhood and youth in Singapore, including student political activism. Previously chaired the National Youth Council's Young Changemaker's Grant and therefore has experience of youth civic engagement in Singapore.

Project Hills

https://www.facebook.com/projecthills/

Project Hills is a ground-up initiative that aims to provide assistance to residents of rental housing estates. With our volunteers, we conduct outreach and delivery of essential household items and supplies to the underprivileged and elderly. Started by Zulhaqem Bin Zulkifli and his siblings. Currently planning a research project for advocacy purposes.


MCCY, NYC platform for youth conversations

https://youthconversations.wpcomstaging.com/



References