Closing Address

Posted by Daniel Chew under Public Forums on 26 November 1999

Closing address by Daniel Chew, Chairman of Socratic Circle.

As it has been correctly identified, one of the key requirements to achieve our Singapore 21 vision is to build a nation of active citizenship and participation.

You would agree with me that active citizenship and participation is dynamic. This interactive process would see the active engagement of the people sector, public sector and the private sector. In such a process, ideas would be exchanged, problems may be studied and responsibilities would be shared.

However, more often than not, there is also likely to be disagreements and debates. This would be a likely and major obstacle to the promotion of constructive engagement and active citizenship. Although it has been pointed out that we should not be afraid to debate major issues honestly, logically and robustly, so long as we have a view to determine what is best for Singapore, our upbringing, culture, environment, and personal experience often suggest otherwise.

This is especially true in terms of political expression and action. Comparing politics to other areas like arts, community, welfare, and sports, we would certainly anticipate greater resistance from the people, public and private sectors that would discourage our citizens from participating actively in the political process.

Notwithstanding that, we should strive to build a nation with citizens who are active not only in arts, community, welfare, and sports, but also in political action and expression.

Certainly, all citizens have helped to build Singapore through our hard work and commitment. All of us deserve to share in the country's success. But more importantly, everyone has a part to play in building Singapore.

To quote President Nathan: our heart must beat for Singapore - the place where most of us were born and, where we were nutured and grew up. (unquote).

Be bold and be strong. Believe in our hearts, and we should not be afraid or discouraged, but to persevere in doing what we believe is the best for our nation.

Finally, on behalf of the organisers and the participants, we would like to thank our speakers for making time and their intriguing sharing, making our evening fruitful and interesting. (Thank you.)

We would also like to thank the team of volunteers who have put their hands and hearts together to make this evening possible. (Thank you.)

Finally, we would also like to thank all of you for taking time off to attend this forum. Your presence and active participation this evening have certainly encouraged us and the rest of the volunteers to organise more activities to promote active citizenship and political awareness in Singapore.

Thank you very much and we look forward to seeing you in our future activities.

Good night.

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