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Student leaders delve into social and community issues

06 February 2013

Minister Chan urging students to come forward to serve the community for the good of fellow Singaporeans

Director of the Chua Thian Poh Community Leadership Programme Assoc Prof Albert Teo (far left) and fellows of the Chua Thian Poh Community Leadership Programme fielding questions

An ageing population will mean increasing challenges confronting Singapore as the country moves forward in its next lap of development. To address issues arising from this trend, leaders at both the national and community level will need to come up with innovative solutions.

Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Social and Family Development and Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, highlighted this point to more than 200 participants at the NUS Chua Thian Poh Community Leadership Symposium on 1 February. Organised by the Chua Thian Poh Leadership Programme made possible by a gift from Mr Chua Thian Poh, the NUS Programme grooms undergraduates to become the community leaders of tomorrow.

"I hope with the encouragement of this programme, all of you before us today will also continue the proud tradition of our community leaders to come forward to serve the community for the good of fellow Singaporeans. And, you too will be keenly aware of the kind of challenges we have in our community. You will analyse deeply what are the challenges that we have and most importantly look for those alternatives and applications for a better life for fellow Singaporeans," said Mr Chan, who was the Guest-of-Honour.

Sharing insights of local issues were six NUS students who are fellows of the Programme. Topics raised included child abuse, autism spectrum disorder, community asset mapping, community participation, interim home care and the role of "huiguan" or Chinese clan association.

Andrew Arjun Sayampanathan, one of the presenters, interned with the Central Singapore Community Development Council. He explored how the asset-based community development model, which encompasses finance, manpower, infrastructure and culture, can work with the existing needs-based community development model in Kampong Glam. The exercise seeks to harness these assets to benefit the residents, and some community projects have been initiated based on the study.