Singapore Conversation: 12 key themes so far

Affordability, the question of the Singaporean identity and differing definitions of success.

These are among the 12 common themes that have been borne out of the five-month-old Singapore Conversation thus far.   

The committee behind Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) released a 25-page document detailing the key themes on Thursday morning, after an extensive series of dialogues involving over 10,000 citizens across various age groups and backgrounds.

The first OSC dialogue was organized for elderly residents in a Yuhua market in early October.

Under the theme of Affordability, Singaporeans involved in the OSC dialogues expressed worry over rising living costs not being able to keep up with increasing affluence. Expensive medical care and rising property prices were cited as pains among Singaporeans.

“If the high costs of living on food, transport, medical, housing and utilities remain hesitantly unchecked or escalate further from now, future retirees would be left with nothing much for their old age,” said an OSC participant.

Singaporeans also wanted to see national identity develop in a more “natural and communal” way and not through commercial icons such as Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.

Commenting on the evolution of success, an OSC participant said, “There is a need to imbue a mindset that someone who earns less is not necessarily less successful.”

Snapshot of conversation

Other perspectives include having an accountable government, reviving the “Kampong Spirit” of togetherness and accommodating different definitions of the family unit, including gay citizens.

An OSC spokesperson said that the document aimed to provide “a snapshot of the conversation to date” by gathering commonly surfaced ideas to share to other citizens who have not participated in the dialogues. The spokesperson stressed that “it is not possible” to capture all views in one document.

The National Conversation was first mooted by PM Lee Hsien Loong during last year’s National Day Rally and it aims to involve as many Singaporeans as possible in a discussion about the future of the country.

The Committee plans to engage even more citizens in its next set of dialogue sessions. Sessions are held under Chatham House rules, which meant that quotes from participants cannot be attributed to themselves to maintain anonymity and encourage openness.

Here’s how you can take part:

Twitter – You can tweet your using the hashtag #oursgconv.

Dialogue sessions and discussions –  check calendar of events for the latest updates. In the meantime, you can sign up for sessions here.