Monday, July 30, 2007

Audience at SEAGA forum

Audience at SEAGA forum
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here's the audience at the forum on Saturday. I spoke about how NGOs play an important role in getting people to be involved in society, how they promote the exact opposite of apathy that we keep complaining about that we see in Singaporeans. I said that I think NGOs are an important link between the authorities and the general public and that NGOs can help to foster relations between the two parties. I also said that I felt that not everyone can be involved in public service or politics but everyone can volunteer in an NGO.

Someone asked about volunteerism in Singapore and what we felt the demographics are. I said that right now I felt the volunteerism rate was a bit low compared to other countries.

Someone made the comment that he felt Singaporeans were busy and that's why people do not volunteer. The session wrapped up before I could answer that. I think that frankly everyone is busy - it's what you make a priority of. There seems to be this impression that one volunteers because one has a lot of free time - in fact I find people who actively volunteer are probably the most busy people I know. One of the speakers on the panel for example volunteers with several different groups and works part-time someone too - yet she volunteers. I think countries with higher volunteerism rates are not any less busy - but that their priorities may be different, whereby giving something back to the community is considered to be important.



Anonymous staRsky said...

I agree that what you make a priority of in life... volunteerism is rather low in SG because some people think there is always someone out there to help those needy people and animals, so no worries... but if everyone starts thinking there is always that someone then no one will start the ball rolling.

I am currently a student in uni, though I can't be consistently helping out in the children's home like I used to be in poly, I still help out in the ad-hoc basis... if we can't help full time, we can start help out in other ways... don't make Singapore looks like a heartless country. Everyone can do a small part... We a part of Singapore, not apart.

30/7/07 2:29 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Well said Starsky!

30/7/07 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is more of the general thoughts of the people. Singapore is a highly competitive society and whatever time people have is towards their careers, studies or families. Hence volunteerism is normally regarded as the "plaything" of

1) Retirees with nothing better to do
2) Rich Housewives with nothing better to do
3) Idealistic people who waste their time with charities.

However in order to make oneself feel better and to stave off the guilt of not volunteering, Singaporeans are fantastic givers to Charity in terms of money. We donate to NKF, we donate to Huang Na's parents, we donate to guy who jumped off MRT plaform's family. We donate to every possible cause and many a times without even asking. All to stave off the guilt of not doing anything.

A Japanese friend just told me over lunch, Singapore looks advanced on the outside but you are not. Spiritually you are poor...


30/7/07 3:26 PM  
Blogger animalfamily said...

yeah, its doubly important that Singaporeans step up and contribute to the efforts of the NGOs and other welfare organisations because the govt has made it clear that we are not a welfare state and that's why i see their major effort in promoting volunteerism, social entrepreneurship etc. more and more, it will be up to these organisations that will have to fill the gap. good and bad. but it will become more and more important that we must all do our part, if only because one day, we ourselves will need that help.

30/7/07 3:28 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

CO - that IS sad.

animalfamily - well said.

30/7/07 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Singaporeans lack the PASSION to be actively involved in volunteerism because they are too engrossed in trying to satisfy their bottomless pit craving for materialistic "happiness" only for THEMSELVES!
Why esle would we not bat an eye to littering! We just don't care!

30/7/07 7:34 PM  

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