Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PA aims to rope in 125,000 young members

As reported in The Straits Times on 9 October 2010:

THE People's Association (PA) has embarked on a drive to recruit 125,000 young people in the next five years, a move seen by some as an ambitious bid to renew grassroots ranks.

It wants every one of its more than 500 residents' committees (RCs) to set up a youth chapter, each with 250members.

These youth chapters - for residents between the ages of 12 and 35 - are meant to help strengthen 'community bonds among young neighbours', the PA told The Straits Times.
Grassroots leaders also view the youth chapters as a source of future leaders for grassroots groups facing the longstanding challenge of leadership renewal.

As of July, only 20 per cent - or 5,300 - of PA's existing 30,000 leaders were aged 35 or younger.

The PA said yesterday that the average age of grassroots leaders has fallen, from 54 in 2005 to 49. Of the 4,115 new volunteers last year, half or 2,046 were 35 years old or younger.

In another sign of the dearth of new leaders, posts within RCs and constituency-level Youth Executive Committees (YECs) and Citizens Consultative Committees are sometimes held by the same people.

To give the RCs a fillip, the PA will give a seed grant of $1,500 to each of them to get their youth chapters started.

About 40 such youth chapters have been set up, with the first 10 piloted in Sembawang GRC in July last year.

Others are in wards from Pasir Ris to Geylang Serai, with a total of 335 core members to date, said the PA.

Some grassroots leaders believe the 125,000 target by 2015 is too ambitious. They point to a similar PA attempt about a decade ago, called 'Young RC', which received mediocre success.
Supporters, however, believe the 'free and easy' nature of the youth chapters, without a rigid structure, will draw the young.

Rather than a sense of duty to serve, which drives many grassroots leaders, the youth chapters will be 'interest-driven' to appeal to members of Generation Y.

'We can recruit them through community activities,' said Geylang Serai YEC chairman Eddie Chen. 'But it will be different interests that attract them to stay.' He cited weekly basketball games or fishing as examples.

RC chairmen work with their wards' YECs to identify young people who can form their chapters' core members.

Activities are organised to coax them to be members, with the ultimate aim of having this core group drive RC-level activities.

Also, they will not be burdened with responsibilities or meetings to attend, as are required of YEC members, said Eunos YEC chairman Sear Hock Rong.

'As and when they feel they have the time, they come,' he said.

Mr Edmund Ng, 34, who volunteers in Whampoa, felt however that the target of 250 people per RC is 'too ambitious', especially for mature wards like his with fewer young people.

So far, the RCs in his ward have no plans to start youth chapters, he said.

The Straits Times understands that the PA settled on the number after ascertaining, from national demographic statistics, that there are more than enough young people in each RC to reach the target.

Eunos' Mr Sear also defended the youth chapters against comparisons with the 'Young RC' initiative. He said the latter was merely a sub-committee to which young RC members were channelled.

Hopes remain high for the youth chapters to be a source of fresh blood, a way to foster gotong royong (neighbourly mutual help), and a plain and simple membership drive for the PA.
'It will open doors for us to get to know the young people in the estate better,' said Geylang Serai's Mr Chen.

One of them is undergraduate Nur Naadhirah, 21, who got involved in the Geylang Serai Youth Chapter through her mother, an RC member. She and the other 30 or so youth chapter members enjoy hanging out together.

But would she be interested in becoming a full-fledged grassroots leader?

'Maybe later. But now, I am still in school,' she said.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Eunos Youth Club dazzles at PAYM Awards & CYC Installation Ceremony 2010

If Stars Awards were the most glamorous function for local TV celebrities, the PAYM Awards & CYC Installation Ceremony 2010 would be the grandest for members of PAYM Youth Clubs. Interestingly, both ceremonies were held at Resorts World Sentosa.

Flash mob dancers surprised everyone by simultaneously dancing the same steps alongside with Central Youth Council members. That was a fantastic start to the glitzy evening.

The Guest-of-Honour was Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for National Development & Education as well as Member of the PA Board of Management.

Two years ago, after some of us attended the PAYM Awards & CYC Installation Ceremony 2008, we set ourselves a goal - to clinch the Meritorious Youth Club Award. The Award is given to one of the top Youth Clubs in Singapore. There are about a hundred Youth Clubs under PAYM.

Two years later, the Eunos Youth Club not only received the Award, our YEC Chairman also received his appointment letter to the Central Youth Council.

Eunos CC YEC members with Mr Yam Ah Mee, PA Chief Executive Director - Designate

YEC Chairman Sear Hock Rong receives CYC appointment letter

Even though project "YouthOUT! 2009" did not win the Special Projects Award, the project made it to the top 12.

Besides YEC members, those present at the Ceremony included Eunos CCC Chairman Mr Sim Wai Chin BBM, Eunos CCMC Chairman Mr Lin Tze Kin PBM as well as teachers and members of the Bedok North Secondary School Service Learning Club.

YEC members with Mr Han Tan Juan, PA Group Director (Grassroots-Sector 1)

The journey towards youth engagement and empowerment does not stop here.

Join our Cause. Be Part of our Family.

Visit http://www.eunosyec.org.sg to find out more about Eunos Youth Club.

Fong Yoong Kheong
Vice-Chairman, 13th term Eunos CC YEC

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Eunos CC YEC 1 of 5 YECs to mentor PA YOUTHSLead participants

In line with its plan to discover and nurture new generations of grassroot leaders, People's Association has pushed out its flagship training programme, third year in its running. Designed to introduce outstanding individuals in their own fields to the rigours of being grassroots leaders, the PA YOUTHSLead programme bring together its extensive training vendors to equip participants with an appreciation of factors affecting the community and punctuate how these promising individuals can contribute to nurturing a better home they live in. Roping in partners like Outward Bound Singapore and the National Community Leadership Institute, the programme also aims to introduce participants to the resources at their disposal in pushing community initiatives.

Eunos CC YEC is proud to be selected as one of the five mentor YECs where a number of the participants would convene to perform their grassroot organization attachment. Our YEC believes in experiential learning, i.e. learning through doing. We aim to give participants a direct immersion into the activities and organizations governing the community. We will do this by encouraging participants to attend all meetings and activities upon their attachment. In addition, the YEC intends to liaise with the Citizens' Consulatative Committee, Comunity Club Management Committee, various Residents' Committees and allow participants to sit in ccommittee meetings to help them obtain a top-down understanding on how each community is run. Above all, our YEC would work closely with the participants and provide them with resources to propagate an initiative as part of the practical aspect of their training.

Our YEC hopes to learn from the participants and their unique experiences. We hope to demonstrate how the community is run from the Eunos perspective. More so, we actively look forward to promoting a unique initiative with the participants! Ultimately, the YEC hopes to introduce the participants to an experience of service in the community and hopefully welcome them into the big family of youths enacting action for the homes they live in.

Khoo Yi Feng
Training & Development Secretary, 13th term Eunos CC YEC

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

PAYM CYC Retreat @ Orchid Country Club

PAYM Central Youth Council Member and Eunos CC YEC Chairman, Mr Sear Hock Rong attended the PAYM CYC Retreat held at Orchid Country Club from 15-16 May 2010.

During the Retreat, CYC members mingled and brainstormed ideas for major projects. They discussed ways to attract more YOUths to major events such as Chingay and Asia’s largest street party, City Alive! YOUths can also look forward to an exciting 2011 with activities lined up to celebrate PAYM’s 40th Anniversary.

It was not all work on Day One. After dinner and rehearsal for a surprise item at the upcoming PAYM CYC Installation and Awards Ceremony, CYC members went for a karaoke session at Yishun SAFRA Club.

It was amazing they were able to stay up till very late and had to wake up early next morning for an aerobic work-out led by fitness instructors from California Fitness before practicing a flash mob dance with students of Nanyang Polytechnic. After all the exercise in the morning, CYC members spent the later half of the day with interesting energiser activities and group discussions.

It was a surprise when PAYM presented every CYC member with a photo momento and bought herbal drinks for everyone who stayed up late the previous night. CYC members went home tired but satisfied with the fruitful and memorable Retreat.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Aljunied GRC Zero Litter Month Launch (Eunos Division)

Over 500 residents joined Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed and Mdm Cynthia Phua at the Aljunied GRC Zero Litter Month Launch for Eunos Division held on 15 May 2010. Spearheaded by Eunos Community Club (CC) Youth Executive Committee (YEC), this year’s launch was part of the Aljunied GRC YECs’ plan to roll out a series of environmental activities for both the young and old.

This year’s theme for the Zero Litter Month was “A Cleaner and Safer Aljunied GRC”. To help promote this message, the Organising Committee engaged Mediacorp’s Auntie Lucy and Y.E.S 93.3FM DJ, Siau Jiahui to talk about how residents can do their part in keeping Aljunied GRC litter-free. Youths were also excited to hear lovely songs sung by Project Superstar Finalist, Ruth Chua.

While waiting to catch a glimpse of the celebrities, families turned up early to visit educational booths set up by Aljunied Town Council, NEA, HDB and Eunos CC YEC. More than 100 children participated in the colouring contest and games. Many went home happily with balloons, goodie bags and shopping vouchers. It was also a pleasant surprise for the many Mothers who received carnation flowers from the MP, Mr Zainul after his visit to Blk 608 to educate residents on the dangers of killer litter.

Eunos CC YEC Vice-Chairman, Mr Fong Yoong Kheong shared: “As youths, there are so much more we can do to spread the zero-littering message. The YEC hopes to recruit more young people into our Eco-Savvy Interest Group where they can brainstorm interesting ideas and do something for the environment.”

On what plans the YEC have for the Zero Litter Month, Eunos CC YEC Chairman, Mr Sear Hock Rong said: “We are working closely with Bedok North Secondary School (BNSS) and local Residents’ Committees to organise more outreach activities. The YEC will be going door-to-door with students from BNSS Service Learning Club to educate residents on zero-littering. There are also plans to partner RCs to organise a Fashion Show where participants will dress up in recyclables such as plastic bottles and shoe boxes.”

Catch youths in action on Saturday, 22 May 2010, as they take the lead in picking up litter in Eunos Zone ‘6’ RC precinct and visiting residents to spread the message of keeping their estates clean and safe!

See Lianhe Zaobao's article on the launch event below:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

No East No West @ Melaka, Malaysia

Eunos CC YEC Chairman, Hock Rong and Telok Blangah CC YEC Vice-Chairman, Alvin represented Singapore at the recent No East No West International Conference on Intercultural Dialogue: "Fostering Understanding and Building Bridges Across Cultures Among Young People of Asia and Europe" held in Melaka, Malaysia from 26th April to 30th April 2010.

This international conference saw youths from over 20 countries come together to discuss issues related to culture, religion, new media, education, leadership, business, and governance. Many participants were curious about Singapore's clean and efficient Civil Service. They also wanted to know how Singapore was able to become where it is now in less than 50 years of independence. During the 5-day conference, Hock Rong and Alvin shared the Singapore experience on promoting inter-racial and religious harmony. They also spoke at length on the People's Association Grassroots Network and how community activities helped promoted social cohesion and racial harmony.

Hock Rong and Alvin were honoured to meet several government, business and religious leaders. Among them were Malaysia's Minister of Human Resource, Hon Datuk Dr S Subramaniam, Chief Minister of Melaka, Rt Hon Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, HE Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator in Malaysia, Chairman of Malaysia Tourism Board, Datuk Dr Victor Wee and Datuk Yong Soo Heong, Editor In Chief of Bernama Malaysia.

As part of the Conference, they also toured Melaka, Malaysia's historical city. They went on the river cruise, visited several tourist attractions, religious institutions and tasted local food.

Hock Rong found new friends and developed a greater understanding of the history and cultures of different countries. Most importantly, he realised how fortunate Singaporeans are and how important racial and religious harmony are to maintaining a peaceful and prosperous country.

He particularly liked what the Chief Minister of Melaka shared at the Conference's welcome dinner, "A global event has a local impact. Similarly, a local event has a global impact. One good example is the recent volcano eruption in Iceland."

The Chief Minister of Melaka was refering to how a volcano eruption can stop some European delegates from travelling to Malaysia and how an international conference can help delegates go back and make a difference in the society they live in.

PAYM provides many opportunities for YEC members to participate in international conferences and youth exchange programmes. Be part of the action. Be part of the Youth Movement. As the PAYM tagline says, "It's all about YOUths!"

Friday, April 30, 2010

Community Leadership Conference @ RI

Organised by The Youth Club @ Boon Lay, the Community Leadership Conference was held on 24 April 2010 at Raffles Institution for Junior College and Secondary School student leaders.

YEC Chairman, Hock Rong was invited to share his experience at this Conference and give tips on organising successful community projects.

Hock Rong shared about the lessons he picked up from organising major school events as a student, to taking part in the NYAA programme, to participating in WITS and business plan competitions, and to setting up a LAN gaming co-operative business in school for his peers. He also shared how he continued to serve the School and Community while studying in Ngee Ann Polytechnic and serving National Service.

Hock Rong spoke about how he was roped into the Residents' Committee and mentored by senior Grassroots Leaders after volunteering for about six months at the weekly Meet-the-People Session. He also encouraged participants to take up the challenge to join the Grassroots Network, especially Youth Executive Committees where there are bountiful opportunities for everyone to network, learn and put their skills into practice.

As a parting shot, he emphasized the importance of teamwork and how each member in the team can make a difference. At the end of his talk, participants are more informed of the People's Association Grassroots Network and how they too, can make a difference in the lives of others.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Over 1,500 youths celebrate SYOG & PA50 @ Eunos

Sounds of basketballs entering the hoops and soccer balls entering the back of the net, along with much cheerful laughter were the alarm clocks for many residents on 10 April 2010. Bedok North Secondary School (BNSS) Service Learning Club (SLC) along with Eunos Community Club (CC) Youth Executive Committee (YEC) co-organized not one, not two, but three major events together that day for all residents to gather and enjoy!

BNSS SLC and Eunos YEC organized Sportacular and YouthOut! 2010. Sportacular was held in the morning in support of Singapore's hosting of the first-ever Youth Olympic Games, while YouthOUT! 2010 happened in the evening in celebration of People's Association 50th birthday. Sportacular is a 2-in-1 Sports event consisting of a sports league and a carnival. Youthout! 2010, held in its 5th consecutive year, is an outdoor dance party where residents let their hair down and dance into the night!

In the early morning on the 10th, participants of the sports leagues were already fighting their hearts out to obtain the top prizes in the under 18 and under 25 soccer and basketball leagues! Players came in all shapes and sizes, with our youngest players aged around 12! But nonetheless, all participants came ready to put forth their best foot and let their opponents taste their skills!

It was definitely a thrilling morning of sporting talents pitting themselves against one another. Fierce battles were brought out to the courts and no mercy was spared for everyone lying in the way even if they were friends off the court. Not long before the heated competitions began, dark clouds started to gather, as if wanting to cool down everyone and lower the tension. When the rain started to pour, the basketball league was relocated to Eunos Community Club where they continued their intense matches in the sheltered court. The soccer maestros were not so lucky as they needed to wait for the rain to stop. Luckily, the rain did not last very long and normalcy was reinstated quickly.

While the sports league involved many heated battles bringing sorrow and joy to many people, the carnival at the Eunos Petal Garden definitely brought joy and smiles to all the residence who were present! Stage performances like Taiji and Chinese dance were definitely interesting and attractive enough to wow the crowds! Also, the H20 walker, inflatable and game stalls also gave children and adults a fun time! Attractive prizes such as water bottles and towels were up for grabs at the many game stalls!

One other attractive aspect that residents looked forward to was the arrival of Lyo and Merly! The mascot for the very first Youth Olympic Games! Participants of Sportacular were delighted to see the arrival of the mascots of the first ever YOG! Photos were taken with Lyo and Merly as they walked around bringing joy to everyone!

Also, our Guest-of-Honour, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & our Adviser Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, also unveiled a YOG Wall designed and painted by students from BNSS. The wall is located at Blk 616 Bedok Reservoir Road. The wall is designed in commemoration and celebration of the first-ever YOG.

As Mr Zainul went around the different booths, the respective sport leagues were already reaching their closure with the finals and 3rd/4th placing matches underway. Eventually, only one team was to emerge triumphant!

Following the closure of Sportacular, preparations were made for YouthOut! 2010. It was the 5th year that YouthOut! was organized and it promised to be a much larger event compared to years before!

The emcee for this dance party was none other than Jeff from Love 97.2 FM! Jeff dazzled the crowd with his charisma and charm. The crowd were all hyped up and ready to go as Jeff took the stage!

Free-flow of drinks and popcorn were available for all participants of YouthOut! as they admired the wonderful performances of the various groups participating in the hip-hop dance competition! As the performers took the stage, music started to play and the crowd was just mesmerized by the performance!

The cheers for the performances got louder by the seconds as each performance was even more heated and exciting in their own aspects! Spectators also casted their votes via SMS for their favorite teams!

After all the teams participating had performed, the dance flow was opened for everyone to let their hair down and dance to the latest hits! Participants were even more thrilled with the appearance of stilt-walkers as Sean Kingston’s hit song “Fire Burning”! Some even ventured onto the stage to dance with the participating teams! It was definitely a dance party that everyone enjoyed!

As the dance floor closed for the announcement of the winners for the hip-hop dance competition and lucky draws, anxiousness started to show on everyone’s face as they hoped that their favorite team would win! And the final winner was………..FRESH ELEMENT! Huge cheers could be heard as everyone shared their joy! Eventually, huge cheers of “encore” could be heard as Fresh Element performed their winning routine once again much to the joy of everyone!

After the lucky draw prizes were distributed, the dance floor reopened as everyone started dancing into the night……

Jordan Ng
Executive Member, 13th term Eunos CC YEC

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Youths reject gender quota at PAYM Policy Forum @ Aljunied GRC & Hougang SMC

"We shouldn't set gender quota because then we wouldn't know if women got into the position based on merit or quota," a youth participant shared, with nods from fellow participants.

The youth participant was speaking at the PAYM Policy Forum @ Aljunied GRC & Hougang SMC: "Women's Leadership Role in Today Society", held at the Giraffe Restaurant @ Istana Park on 3 April 2010.

The Guest-of-Honour is Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister, Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance & Transport, MP for Aljunied GRC & Adviser to Serangoon Grassroots Organisations.

Along with her are panelists: Ms Genecia Lou, South East Asia Woman of Excellence 2010, Ms United Nations Singapore 2010/2011 & Miss Singapore International 2006/2007; Ms Sophia Pang, the first Singaporean woman to reach the South Pole; Ms Merry Riana, Winner of Spirit of Enterprise and best-selling author.

The panelists shared their experience of the road to success as a woman, highlighting the strengths and disadvantages of being one. They inspired many of the participants who are mainly young working women who just stepped into society.

One of the highlights of the forum is the presentation by Ms Sophia Pang on the tedious trainings that she had to endure prior to her expedition and the obstacles she had to surpass during the process.

Invitation to Adviser Zainul's daughter's wedding

YEC members, along with other Eunos Grassroots Leaders, were invited to our Adviser Zainul Abidin Rasheed's daughter's wedding on 3 April 2010 at the Malay Heritage Centre.

Besides the yummy food (YUMMY!), we also witnessed the traditions and customs of a Malay wedding!

North East Region YECs foster friendship with Bowling

YEC members of the North East Region gathered for a friendly bowling match at the National Service Resort & Country Club on 28 March 2010. Teams were staffed with members from different YECs. After a little bit of ice-breaking, the teams began their new friendship by starting the ball rolling, literally.

Some lucky draw prizes were given out and Eunos CC YEC happens to be a big winner with three of our members winning the prizes. They received the lucky draw prizes from the event's Organising Chairperson Daphne Goh, who is also the newly elected Regional Coordinator for the North East Region YECs.

Congratulations to our YEC Chairman Sear Hock Rong who was elected the Deputy Regional Coordinator for the North East Region YECs at the bowling event.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hip-Hop Dance IG performs at HDB 50th Anniversary Celebrations

The Housing Development Board celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a community carnival at the open field beside Eunos MRT station on 21 March 2010.

Our Eunos CC YEC Hip-Hop Dance Interest Group was proud to be able to perform at the event, which was graced by Senior Minister S. Jayakumar and Members of Parliament, including our Adviser Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed.

Besides stage performances, there were also exhibits on the changing faces of the HDB over the past 50 years.

Happy Birthday, HDB!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

PSB Academy student writes about "Fun With Facebook"

As part of her school project for CMNS 1280 (Introduction to Journalism), PSB Academy student Shasikala wrote a news story on "Fun With Facebook". Shasikala has kindly allowed us to publish her article here:

Senior citizens are encouraged to attend ‘Fun with Facebook’ to learn how to connect with the younger generation.

The training program on how to use Facebook, will be conducted on 13 March from 9.30am to 12pm.

Vice-Chairman of Eunos Community Club Youth Executive Committee Mr Fong Yoong Kheong said this program aims to train our residents on how to use Facebook.

“By teaching the middle age group and the senior citizens how to use the online platform, we aim to bond the residents,” Mr Fong said.

“We will guide the participants on how to use Facebook, how to create a Facebook account and how to set their privacy settings.”

The organising committee hopes to promote Facebook in a good light.

Mr Fong said the program will help to show that Facebook serves as a good social networking platform.

“Facebook is not all about playing games or posting your pictures online.

“It has many other functions and it is a good way to connect with the younger generation.”

The program will be held at Bedok North Secondary School’s computer lab.

Mr Fong said that around 30 participants are expected and if places are not enough, participants can share computers as more people are expected to join closer to the event date.

“We will teach the participants how to use Facebook in a simple form and we will make it fun for them to learn how to operate Facebook.

“We don’t want them to feel that learning about technology is tough.

“In the publicity outreach we did, we explained to the residents the benefits of learning about Facebook and the importance of staying connected in today’s digital age.”

This event is organised by the Eunos Community Club Youth Executive Committee (YEC) and Bedok North Secondary School Service Learning Club.

It is supported by the Eunos CC Malay Activity Executive Committee (MAEC) and Indian Activity Executive Committee (IAEC).