It was an issue close to the hearts of many Singaporeans and they took the opportunity to speak passionately about it at YSA’ 4th Khwaish Lecture on 17 November 2007. The topic for the lecture was “Strong Heads, Weak Hearts – Singaporeans and the Future of Singapore” and the guest speaker was Mr Zulkifli Masagos, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education.

During his address, Mr Masagos traced the development of Singapore from independence to the present day. He stated that different circumstances have had different impact on Singaporeans and these have shaped their attitudes. For the earlier generation, it was an issue of survival and people rallied together to move Singapore forward. With greater affluence today, Singaporeans have a different attitudes and beliefs. He cited materialism, “kiasuism”, ugly Singaporeans, etc., to illustrate some of the perceptions of Singaporeans.

However, Mr Masagos argued that Singaporeans have a strong heart, as witnessed by their contributions to charitable causes and their fellow Singaporeans in need. Young Singaporeans are also involved in community service through their schools. He expressed optimism that Singapore will continue progress well, with Singaporeans making it a more vibrant place to live and work.

The lecture series fits in well with YSA’s mission of creating world-ready young Singaporeans, enhancing mutual understanding of issues of common concern and fostering friendships across ethnic groups so that young Singaporeans continue to remain engaged with the rest of the Singapore society and the global community. The word Khwaish means “Aspirations” or “Hope” in Punjabi.

The fourth lecture was supported by a Youth Development Fund grant from the National Youth Council, the Lee Foundation and the Singapore Totalisator Board.

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