ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Singapore, China exchange views on social governance in a diverse society
SINGAPORE: At the third Singapore-China Social Governance Forum on Tuesday (May 17), the two countries exchanged views on how to cope with common challenges in governing a diverse society.
Singapore has created an environment where everyone - regardless of race or religion - can live, work and play together, said Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Teo Chee Hean. "Our young men do National Service together, to defend our country, our home. We work together with friends of other races. Our hawker centres and coffeeshops allow Singaporeans of all races to enjoy our favourite meals together."
However he noted that Singapore is seeing another wave of diversity, brought about by newer immigrants, an issue that China also faces as people from rural areas move to cities to work.
"As Singaporeans, we value the importance of accepting and understanding one another. And our new citizens who choose to settle here, have also chosen to share these commonalities, values and experiences with Singaporeans," he said.
To cope with economic diversity, Singapore ensures that good education lifelong training opportunities are available to all so that they can stay employable through life, he said.
As for building social capital, Singapore has ensured avenues for dialogue and engagement such as feedback channel REACH, as well as Social Services Offices across Singapore.
Singapore's Minister for Social and Family Development, Tan Chuan-Jin, said: "We hope to leverage the networks of people, to multiply awareness of Government efforts, and to better reach out to the silent majority, or those who are unable to be reached easily."
China's representatives detailed their initiatives to engage stakeholders in social governance. For example, cabbies and cleaners in some provinces of China, such as Hebei and Henan, are encouraged to double up as public security volunteers. In other parts of the country such as Liaoning and Xinjiang, citizens who report security cases are given money as an incentive.
Both sides also talked about how to make use of technology to engage their citizens, and about the use of big data. China uses it to manage earthquakes, floods and in crowd control, while the Singapore side said it wants to better understand how big data relates to a person's values, preferences and expectations.
The next meeting for the biannual Singapore-China Social Governance Forum will take place in China.
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