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Contents
Foreword nt Citizen Engageme FAQs the Government: Engaging nior All About the Ju ogramme ACH Ambassador Pr RE perience The Engagement Ex Let’s Get To It 3 4 6 13 20 30

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Young people are always so full of energy, passion, and dynamism. These are the qualities which we need to build a brighter and better future for Singapore. For without them, we may falter, and be overtaken by others. But with them, we can scale unimaginable heights and conquer all the odds. REACH recognises the importance of engaging this segment of our population to tap on their dynamism and exuberance. And as part of our overall efforts to reach out to more Singaporeans, we have actively sought to engage our youths. This handbook is part of that effort – produced in collaboration with some of our active youth contributors. It celebrates not only the accomplishments of our first batch of Junior REACH Ambassadors (JRAs) - young Singaporeans who willingly contributed their time and intellectual and physical energy to help shape the future of our nation and be engagement leaders to their peers. It also lays out the principles of engagement for the benefit of all youths. With this handbook, we aim to enhance the understanding of our young citizens on engagement, and show how you can come forward to share your views on issues that matter to you. Your say today may become tomorrow’s reality, and REACH is ready to hear what you have to share. So what are you waiting for? Act now!
Dr. Amy Khor Chairman REACH

REACH Youth Outreach and Editorial Team: Azlina Abdul Aziz, Stephanie Koh, Jae Lim, Harinder Kaur Grewal Designed and produced by 99 Degree Communications LLP

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Citizen engagement
JUST
what is citizen engagement?
What is citizen engagement? And how can youths like you take the first step towards engaging the Government? How can you be an agent of change, to make a difference? But first, what exactly is public consultation? Quite simply, it is the process of engaging, and of being engaged by the Government, on matters that matter to you. It is about Singaporeans working hand-in-hand with the Government to shape the Singapore that they wish to live, work, and play in. Your views and suggestions matter, and public consultation is the means by which to feature them in the policy-making process. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, be the change that you want to see in the world!

In a nutshell, REACH or reaching everyone for active citizenry @ home, is the setup through which citizens and the Government can engage each other. Originally established as the Feedback Unit in 1985, REACH was restructured and reinvented as REACH in 2006. Along with the change in name has been a significant step-up in the effort to go beyond just gathering feedback to becoming the lead agency for public consultation. And this includes the adoption of ever-evolving new media platforms as our channels of engagement: Facebook, blogs, Twitter, YouTube – you name it, we’ve probably explored it!

So, how exactly does REACH factor in citizen engagement?

Cool! So how do I get started???

Well, that’s what this handbook is all about. So read on!!!

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engaging

the Government: Frequently Asked Questions

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Any rules I’ll have to observe?
Anything goes, as long as you do not break the law! But as in any other discourse, treat others with respect, and they will more likely than not return the favour.

What kind of feedback can I give? Will all feedback be accepted?
Feedback on all issues and in all formats is welcome! But just as there are two sides to every coin, there are multiple views on any one issue. So while some feedback may be accepted right away, it may not be the case for others. But do not let that stop you - do your part by speaking up and making your voice count!

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How may I submit my feedback to REACH?
You can send your feedback to us through a variety of channels – e-mail, the REACH Discussion Forum, Facebook, Twitter, and of course the more traditional options of our hotline and snail mail. You can refer to page 30 for a complete listing of our feedback channels..

I’ve submitted my feedback to REACH. So what now?

Your feedback will be relayed to the owneragency for consideration, who may contact you to seek clarification, or to eventually share with you the outcome of your feedback.

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Youths Engage!

Is my feedback censored or edited before being relayed on?
Feedback is forwarded on without any censorship, so you can be assured that the essence and nuance of your feedback will remain exactly as you intended.

Will the Government really listen to my feedback? I’m only a kid, after all...
Feedback from ALL Singaporeans matters. In fact, as the future of Singapore, you have every right to have a say on what the Singapore of your future will be. So your age is no excuse to remain mum!

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Will anonymous feedback be accepted?
Absolutely! You can choose to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym if you so wish. But if you believe in your point of view, why not have conviction in your beliefs, and be prepared to stand by them? Additionally, it would also enable the owner-agencies to close the loop with you.

Junior ReACH Amba
Programme
Junior ReACH Ambassador Programme: tHe ORiGins

All About thessador

In February 2008, REACH set out to bring on board a bunch of active, enthusiastic, and inspirational youths to become our first ever Junior REACH Ambassadors (JRAs). Their mission: to serve as engagement leaders to their peers. Our search yielded 70 young ladies and gentlemen from 14 secondary schools, Junior Colleges, ITEs and Polytechnics, who were game enough to take up the challenge of this unique appointment.

Pioneer JrA schools
Bukit Batok secondary school Hai sing Catholic school Hwa Chong institution nan Chiau High school Yishun town secondary school zhonghua secondary school Jurong Junior College tampines Junior College Victoria Junior College Yishun Junior College ite College east ite College West ngee Ann Polytechnic singapore Polytechnic

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Junior ReACH Ambassador Programme: tHe Fun

Our pioneer JRAs kicked off their two-year term with workshops on leadership skills and citizen engagement. But all work and no play would’ve made a JRA a dull boy, and we couldn’t have that, could we? So a good dose of fun was thrown into the mix in the form of team-building activities. Suffice it to say that along with the active exchange of ideas, much laughter was had, bonds were made, and contact and Facebook details were exchanged!

Junior ReACH Ambassador Programme: tHe WORk
then it was on to the serious stuff: projects and activities. But being their ever-innovative and resourceful selves, they managed to resolve the eternal clash between work and play by ensuring a healthy dose of each in their projects! Fun was had in the planning and executing of various projects. Read on for more details on these activities… . . .
• Kopi with the MP: Noting that in Singapore, much sharing on Government policies takes place in coffeeshops over a cup of kopi, the JRAs from Hwa Chong Institution believed that this would be the perfect setting for a series of dialogue sessions. Calling their initiative “Kopi with the MP”, they organised a series of lively and engaging chats with political leaders, for their peers to share their views and concerns with young politicians they can relate to, including Senior Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports Mr Teo Ser Luck, MP for Pasir Ris - Punggol GRC Mr Michael Palmer, and MP for Sembawang GRC Dr Lim Wee Kiak. The relaxed and café-like ambience certainly put everyone at ease, and views were exchanged freely, on issues such as the education system, the impact of new media on Singaporeans, sports in Singapore, and our hosting of the first Youth Olympic Games.

One More Photo

Fun all round at the JRA training sessions

The stu dents in teractin Mr Teo g with (t Se op to b Palmer r Luck, Dr Lim ottom at the K Wee Kia opi with k and M ) the MP r Micha session el

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panel views with the to share their Mok, Students eager g JC JRA Eleanor ht) Juron College (from left to rig y Khor and ITE rishnan, Dr Am Dr Vivian Balak ie Lim West JRA Natal

Survey on Budget 09: JRAs from Ngee Ann Polytechnic conducted a campus-wide survey on students’ reactions to the Resilience Package and other measures announced in Budget 09. The results of the survey were subsequently included in REACH’s report on feedback received on the issue, and submitted to the Ministry of Finance. Student Forum 09: Our JRAs from Victoria Junior College wanted more than just the usual dialogue session, when they set out to organise a Student Forum on the Prime Minister’s National Day Rally 09. And what they came up with was hardly a typical session! For, with a live webcast of the event on Youth Vibes and a real-time Tweet session at #reachsg, they managed to engage not just the 100-odd youths who were physically present, but also many others who were not. Those present at the dialogue also had the opportunity to engage Chairpersons Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Dr Khor in person as well as virtually, courtesy of the provided laptops with wireless connection, as well as large projector screens which enable them to follow the tweets live as they streamed in.
views the Students eager to share their traditional way...

Student Forum 08: Our JRAs from ITE College West and Jurong Junior College paired up to organise a dialogue session on youths’ reactions to the Prime Minister’s National Day Rally 08, with ITE College West JRA Natalie Lim and Jurong Junior College JRA Eleanor Mok charing the session with Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Dr Vivian Balakrishnan as well as REACH Chairman Dr Amy Khor.

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The discussion got the students entranced!

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Leonard Yong (left) and Kwan Jin Yao (extreme right) showing the Youth Vibes site to Minister and Dr Khor following its launch (below)

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• REACH-initiated activities The JRAs also played a big part in REACH-initiated activities, including the launch of the REACH Roving Exhibition which was officiated by PM Lee Hsien Loong in Jun 08, and the development of the Youth Vibes website for youths in 2008-09.

re W our Singapo s from y ith of young rambling Armed w re group e site. is a co e set-up eep of th nfidence, these art of th nd upk nd co ities, At the he e the content a hones a n REACH activ o o overse ameras, microp te. wh c d report for the si eo d an events their vid in-training atten -related ser youth journalist rences, and oth ss confe pre

J unior ReACH A mbassador Programme: the Virtual Voyage
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if youths had a virtual space to call their own, where they can reflect on and discuss national issues close to their hearts, with other like-minded youths? Well, they do! Conceptualised, developed, and managed by our JRAs, Youth Vibes (http://www.reach.gov.sg/YouthVibes) is an exclusive youth-only zone on the REACH website, for all youths to share their views in a multitude of ways, from blog entries, photographs, and even audio and video media files:

Junior ReACH Ambassador Programme: Version 2.0
True to form, our pioneer batch of JRAs have taken it upon themselves to share with us ideas to improve the JRA programme for a more fruitful run, and many of their suggestions have been incorporated in our JRA Programme Version 2.0. Have we mentioned that they are an awesome bunch? Flip over the next few pages to get to know some of them better...

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Hello! My name is:

Soh Yi Da
I am: I love: Organised

Cycling, reading and organizing events

I would like to: Make more things happen

Soh Yi Da is a human bumblebee; full of energy, buzzing about everywhere. His involvement with REACH started in 2003 at the tender age of 14, as a shy, quiet teenager who would listen intently as Singaporeans from all walks of life shared their views on various national issues. His keen interest in the policy-making process was clear for all to see even then. Today, Yi Da is a poised young man who no longer only listens, but also confidently shares his views on important issues. His contributions over the years have been constant and consistent, and in Mar 2010, he was conferred the inaugural Outstanding REACH Contributor Award by PM Lee Hsien Loong. Even though he was never a JRA himself, Yi Da has come to be an engagement leader to the pioneer JRAs, dispensing advice and guidance as needed. Most recently, he organised a dialogue session titled “Doing Our Part to Enrich the Learning of Mother Tongue” for active young citizens with the help of REACH. The session, which was chaired by Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) Chairman for Education and Vice-Chairman of REACH Mrs Josephine Teo and Yi Da himself, was attended by 45 young participants aged between 14 – 25, who actively stepped forward to share their views and suggestions on this issue. Yi Da looks forward to organising more feedback sessions in future. “I hope to organise a nationwide consultation exercise to seek ideas from young Singaporeans on how they envision Singapore to be like in 2020 and urge them to play an active role in shaping Singapore’s progress over the next 10 years.” “REACH has provided me with opportunities to meet with likeminded youths interested in making a difference and contributing to society. Citizens’ feedback is vital to nation-building and young citizens have the ability to spearhead changes.” To those who think that their inputs will not have any impact on Singapore’s future, he says: “Step forward, challenge the status quo and venture into new frontiers. Be the change you want to see in the world!”

agement The Eng e xperienc E

Yi Da at the Prime Minister’s Forum with REACH Contributors where he was conferred the Outstanding REACH Contributor Award 2010

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Hello! My name is:

Gaille Teo
I am: I love:

Optimistic beyond question Organising stuff, and doing the best in everything, every time.

I would like to: Learn how to play soccer and sepak takraw

Singapore played host to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit meetings from 9 to 15 Nov 09, and high-spirited youth contributor Gaille Teo had the honour of being one of two REACH contributors picked to represent Singapore and REACH at the APEC ‘Voices of the Future’ (VOF) 2009 – a parallel platform for youths in APEC economies to engage government and business leaders through business meetings, interviews with foreign ministers and leaders. As she gushed, “I was delighted and excited at being shortlisted! The opportunity to interact with inquisitive and open-minded youths from all over the world, and to meet political and business leaders has certainly been a great experience, and I am very happy to have been given this very unique opportunity.” “In a quick chat with world leaders over tea, I learnt that they were more interested in my viewpoints than facts and figures. This made me realise that leaders from all over do indeed value the opinions of young people, and that we need to ensure that we make the effort to communicate with them.” “Many in Singapore see the political apathy of our youths as a major problem for our society. But youths aren’t apathetic – they just don’t know the right channels to share their thoughts, and this frustrates them. This is where REACH bridges the gap,” notes Gaille. Gaille’s pearls of wisdom for other young Singaporeans? “We will inherit a world shaped by today’s decisions, so let our voices be heard. Let us get active not only in pursuit of our own personal interests but also seek to fulfil social and civic obligations for the common good. Dare to speak out! Dare to be!”
Gaille (extreme right) with friends from other APEC economies during their visit to the Istana

Youths Engage!

is: My name ello! anathans H usp

inaya P Ab

Hello! My name is: E
I am: I love:

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opinion strong ering. ut I’ve volunte imes b s, and ow at t race Mell la One g Formu I am: watchin , Writing love: I ccer k up so to: Pic d like I woul

Someone wh o enjoys ch allenges Reading an d creative writing I would li ke to: Take up boxing and sailin g

leanor Mok Shu Ya

“The JRA programme has been a fantastic opportunity for me to get to know the Government, and to express my opinions on public policies. To have such influence at my age is a gift, which is why I cherish my JRA experience so deeply. Being a part of the Youth Vibes Crew, and especially a roving reporter, has been a highlight of the experience, for I had the opportunity to report on an exclusive press conference with Ministers!”, raved the aspiring young writer who will be studying law at the National University of Singapore come Aug 2010. Abinaya’s experience with REACH has left an indelible mark on her. As she shares, “Every session presented me with a broader perspective of the difficulties faced by decisionmakers, and exposed me to many real issues the nation faces. I also got to meet many like-minded young individuals and was able to engage in purposeful discussions. I must say, my involvement with REACH has truly stretched my mental horizons!” And her parting shot to young Singaporeans? “If you have something to say, say it!”

“Being a JR A is a wond erful opportunit y for us yo uths to ac as a bridge t between ci tizens and the Govern ment, and help shape Singapore through ou r actions, enthuses El ” eanor. The role ha s also enab led her to learn mo re about Si ngapore, and she is deeply appr eciative of how the Government genuinely values feed back from the ground especially , from youths , through REACH. As she shares , “Over th past two ye e ars, I’ve developed a better un derstandin g of Government policies an d seen the impact of active citi zenry. I want to co ntinue to be an acti and respon ve sible citi zen, as Singapore is my home after all. ” For Eleano r, the high light of her stin t with REAC H was attending the Nation al Day Rall 08 and hear y first-hand delivery of PM Lee’s the Rally. me realise “It made my responsi bility as a Singapor ean, and ho w I should contribute to Singapor e with alacrity,” she shares . For the pa triotic El eanor, this is her shou t-out to al l young Singaporea ns: “With channels like REACH available to air one’s view s, there is no reason to hold ba ck from sp eaking your mind. Dare to be opin ionated!”

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Hello! My name is:

Joyce Lee
I am: I love:

Hello! My name is:

Outgoing and gregarious Shopping and watching movies

Nur Saliyana Munira Tuliman
I am: I love: Warm and jovial Cooking, baking and reading I would like to: Always speak my mind and share my thoughts

I would like to: Be better at tennis and squash

“I have emerged as a more engaged youth. No longer do I hold an apathetic attitude towards policy-making,” shares Joyce about her experience as a REACH youth activist, which has seen her go from being “bo chap” to someone who is passionate about what is happening around her. Indeed, for someone who has the “joie de vivre” like Joyce, the JRA programme has been an amazing launch pad for self-discovery. She initiated the set-up of the Current Affairs Club in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, to cultivate in her schoolmates an interest in local and global issues. She and her fellow JRAs from Ngee Ann also conducted a campus-wide survey to seek the reactions of their peers to Budget 09, with the findings of the survey being shared with the relevant Ministries. Despite having reached the end of her term, Joyce intends to continue her journey in active citizenry. Her words of advice to the new crop of JRAs: “Make the most of the JRA programme. Start small, with your friends, and work your way up. Engage other young Singaporeans so that they can understand and appreciate what’s happening around them and what they can do to better society.”

In her wildest dreams, Saliyana never imagined that she would be an ambassador for active citizenry. But with some persuasion from her lecturer at ITE College East, the boisterous but approachable teenager decided to give it a shot. And she has not looked back. Adopting a personal approach, Saliyana took it upon herself to be the channel through which her peers’ voices could be heard. As she shared, “Citizens can voice out their opinions on current issues through the JRAs. When they feel comfortable talking to us, they can share their feedback with us and we can help relay their feedback to REACH!” It was in fact her lecturer who noted that her warm and engaging personality would make her a natural listening ear. Saliyana has even taken this role with her to Republic Polytechnic, where she is now pursuing a course in Supply Chain Management. As she exhorts to her new schoolmates, “Take a step forward and you will realise that many behind you share the same view, the same goal. Only when youths get together can our voices be amplified, and we can make a difference!”

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Hello! My name is: Hello! My name is:

Andy Lua
I am: I love:

Natalie Lim
I am: I love:

On a roll, all the time Aeroplanes. Would love to be an aviator

Outgoing, well balanced and terribly sporty Swimming, Badminton, Martial Arts

I would like to: Be a better volleyball player

I would like to: Train as a lifeguard
Friends have described 17-year-old Andy as a lightning bolt of pure excitement. And he put this trait to good use as a JRA at Hai Sing Catholic School, being effervescent in encouraging his peers to share their views and participate actively on the Youth Vibes site he had a role in developing. And he describes it as a truly enriching experience, “I’ve forged many wonderful friendships through this experience, and also gained greater insights into how the voice of the public can help to shape policies. It got me interested to learn about how our country is run. I also saw it as an opportunity to hone my leadership and interpersonal skills, and serve Singapore in every small way I can,” said Andy. As for his finest moments, nothing beats the encounter he had at the PostBudget 2008 Forum. “I had the honour of sitting next to and chairing the session with Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan. Another major highlight was meeting PM Lee Hsien Loong at the REACH Roving Exhibition and speaking to him about REACH’s framework.” To other young Singaporeans, Andy has this advice, “Passion is what keeps you going in the face of tribulations. Be passionate in what you do, put your heart into it and you will achieve!”

“Being a JRA challenges me to stay abreast on current issues, and raise questions on the Government’s plans for the future. I can also reach out to my fellow schoolmates to understand their concerns.” Appointed by ITE College West as a JRA in Feb 08 when the programme was introduced in her school, Natalie accepted the position despite some initial reservations. Before long, however, she was experiencing her most fulfilling JRA moment, as follows: “Organising and chairing the Post-National Day Rally Student Forum 08 with Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and REACH Chairman Dr Amy Khor”. Natalie also attended the Prime Minister’s Forum with REACH Contributors in March 2010, and shares that it was certainly refreshing to hear PM Lee share first-hand his perspectives on national issues and concerns. Looking forward, Natalie hopes that more young Singaporeans will come forward to engage the Government actively.

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Get tO it
As we hope you’ve realised by now, engaging the Government need not be a scary or daunting task. We want to hear your views, and have made available a whole host of channels through which you can, easily. And we don’t even expect earth-shaking suggestions. Start simple, start small.

Let’s

email: Website: Youth Vibes: twitter: Facebook: sMs:

reach@reach.gov.sg http://www.reach.gov.sg http://www.reach.gov.sg/YouthVibes @ReACH_singapore http://www.facebook.com/ReACHsingapore 9-speak-up (9-77325-87) (normal sMs charges apply) 512 thomson Road, MCYs Building, #15-00 singapore 298136 (65) 6354 8128 1800 353 5555 8.30 am – 5.30pm (Mondays to Fridays) 9.00am – 1.00pm (saturdays)

Mail: Fax: Phone:

now that you know how we can be ReACH-ed (pun intended), what are you waiting for? Let’s make engagement a way of life!

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