What's next for Singapore society? A sit-down with Grace Fu
MCCY aims to give S'poreans reasons to be confident and optimistic about the future
In this era of uncertainty, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) hopes to be a ballast for the people.
Recent international political events have shown that there can be rifts between different segments of society even in developed and established countries.
Domestically, we are also facing the challenge of economic restructuring.
However, by looking into the needs of different sectors of society, the MCCY intends to give Singaporeans reasons to be confident and optimistic about the future, said Minister Grace Fu in a wide-ranging interview with the media on Tuesday.
Ms Fu, who has been helming the ministry since October 2015, also gave a review of MCCY's work last year and a glimpse of how it is trying to bring sports and arts to Singaporeans this year.
Here are some excerpts:
ON SPORTS IN SINGAPORE
Currently, six in 10 Singaporeans participate regularly in sports.
Singapore's successes at the Olympics and Paralympics last year have also given MCCY many learning points and aspirations, said Ms Fu.
"It's a time for us to sit down and do a reflection and see how we can improve (and) enhance the system so that we can continue to support our athletes in an effective way," she added.
ON ARTS AND THE STATE
Three in 10 Singaporeans are involved in art-making - more than double compared to 2013.
Ms Fu shared that MCCY is looking into a cohort-based programme of bringing students into local art and heritage institutions - just like how all Primary 5 pupils get to watch a preview of the National Day Parade.
Stressing that the arts and culture scene has become more vibrant over the years, she added that there are now more opportunities for jobs in the field, especially in the technical sector, such as lighting and sound.
Other areas include bringing art to the community, such as art therapy for the elderly or dementia patients.
Ms Fu said that MCCY aims to make art accessible to everyone, from the man on the street to the six-year-old.
"I want Singaporeans to have a part to play, to understand what we have at the National Gallery Singapore, or the museums. It is not just a nice place to look (at) from afar, it must be something they feel a sense of endearment (towards)."
ON THE SLOWING ECONOMY AND FUND RAISING
Noting that there are signs that charities are also seeing effects of the slowdown, Ms Fu said the Government is still keen to support them with matching funds.
It is also looking at supporting the groups in terms of capability development.
She added that many stakeholders in the charity sector are also trying to develop their abilities in areas such as marketing, fund raising and donor engagement.
ON RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN SINGAPORE
Describing the religious leaders as "fantastic", Ms Fu said that she has monthly meetings with religious organisations, and they have been positive and supportive when it comes to their readiness to respond to a possible terror attack.
"There was thinking about how can they can make (their) flock more ready for an emergency, how we should communicate very effectively and quickly, especially in the world of social media."
But she added that there are still many more religious organisations that they are hoping to engage.
ON BEING AN INCLUSIVE SOCIETY
MCCY launched the first Centre of Expertise for Disability Sports in Sengkang last May, and there will be other centres in the coming years, said Ms Fu.
At Sengkang, they refurbished the swimming pool so that persons with disabilities are able to participate in swimming.
But Ms Fu acknowledged that there are challenges because the group has different needs.
MCCY is also looking into building competencies of trainers.
"It's one thing to build a ramp to the swimming pool, but it's also about the coaches being able to teach persons of disabilities," she added.
Besides sports, MCCY is also looking into making the arts accessible to persons with disabilities through the HeritageCares programme.