Khaw: Let youth engage other youth

By Sarah Chang

SINGAPORE - While much has been done to engage the elderly and involve them in community events, more needs to be done to engage young people, said Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan yesterday.

He noted that while efforts to reach out to senior citizens have been fruitful so far, it is the youth segment which "we have not been particularly successful (in reaching out to)".

That is why, he said, he has been trying out new ideas in Sembawang, in his capacity as an MP of the group representation constituency.

Mr Khaw was speaking to reporters at the Youth Odyssey 2011 event organised by the Sembawang Community Club's Youth Executive Committee.

The event, attended by more than 200 people, saw 30 young people voted into the 19th committee of the youth club, which plans activities for young people living in the constituency.

Mr Khaw said that he has stepped up efforts to reach out to the youth by encouraging other young people to plan constituency-level activities to attract their peers.

A "top-down" approach, he explained, is not what will capture their attention these days.

"The youth have a lot of energy. They like to do things that they the best way has to be (for) young people themselves to come up with the ideas."

Mr Khaw recalled a brisk walk held last week around the Sembawang area. He said that the event was planned and executed by a group of younger grassroots leaders.

Because of that, 40 per cent of the participants were young people.

"We innovated. We tried a different format," he said, emphasising that such new ideas are crucial in the outreach to the younger generation.

"We must always try it out. We don't know what will work. And what works may not last... So, we've got to keep refreshing (our ideas)," said Mr Khaw.

For more my paper stories click here.