Keynote Address by Mr Raymond Lim, Minister, Prime Minister's Offce, and Second Minister for Finance and Foreign Affairs At The Official Opening Ceremony of The Global Youth Summit on 2 June 2005, 7.30pm at The YMCA, Orchard Road03 Jun 2005
Mr Choo Gim Kang, Brigade President, The Boy's Brigade in Singapore
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. It is a great honour for me to be invited to the Boys' Brigade Global Youth Summit. I see many keen and enthusiastic faces here tonight. To all our overseas friends, may I extend a warm welcome to Singapore. You have come together to share your experiences, with one common purpose in mind - to harness the passion and talent of the youths of today so as to create a better future for tomorrow.
2. In Singapore, our vision is to develop youths who are inspired to make a difference, who are engaged in the community and who feel a sense of ownership in Singapore. Toward this end, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports has been working closely with the National Youth Council, youth organisations such as yourself, government and non-government agencies, as well as the youths themselves, to put in place several initiatives to encourage our youths to play a more active role in the community.
3. The initiatives were developed with four principles in mind. Firstly, to develop youths in the lead. Secondly, to celebrate diversity amongst the youths. Thirdly, to nurture our youths to care for others and lastly, to help our youths to grow through giving.
4. For instance, the upcoming inaugural SHINE Youth this month is a platform to profile and celebrate the diverse talents amongst the youths. Youths can participate in a wide range of activities, including the arts, sports, adventure, appreciation for nature and respect for our environment, or they take the lead and organise their own unique meaningful events. The Festival will also feature the Youth Service Weekend when youths will have the opportunity to volunteer and be engaged in community service. Come September, youths who are keen on community participation can also use a one-stop Internet portal called the Youth.Sg. Youth.Sg is designed, developed and will eventually be managed by youths for youths. Youths can share their views and ideas and from there, start their own community projects. And in 2007, youths will have a newly-created community space in the heart of the Orchard Road area, where they participate, organise, and run activities to pursue their interests and passions. The initiatives that I have just presented can only be successful with the active participation of the youths.
5. In this regard, I am glad to see that youth organisations, such as the Boys' Brigade, play an important role in encouraging our youths to lead and to participate actively. Take for example the Sharity Gift Box that the Boys' Brigade has been organising annually for the last 17 years. Every year, more than 3,500 BB officers and Boys, together with hundreds of other volunteers participate to collect gifts from thousands of Singaporeans for distribution to the needy in Singapore. Last year, more than 354,000 gifts, valued at S$2.9 million were collected. This effort benefits more than 3,000 needy and poor families, close to 1,700 needy and disadvantaged children as well as more than a hundred welfare agencies registered with the National Council of Social Service.
6. It is a remarkable project that has gained the support of organisations, corporations and government ministries. More importantly, it has been serving as a platform for our youths to inculcate the spirit of community service and to promote the spirit of caring and sharing among Singaporeans. Hence, I am particularly pleased to hear that Boys' Brigade Singapore will be sharing the history, concept and success of this project at the Platform Presentation at this Summit. I was told that some of you - our overseas friends - will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday with Boys' Brigade Singapore to launch a similar project in your countries.
7. May I take this opportunity to commend the Boys' Brigade in your relentless effort to engage the youths to benefit our community. In addition to the Sharity Gift Box, Boys' Brigade is also a pioneer member of the President's Challenge and continues to be an active partner. And as part of your 75th Anniversary Celebrations, the BB CARES Carnival to be held in July at the Police Academy will benefit some 3,000 less fortunate individuals who will attend the carnival.
8. I am sure our overseas delegates here have much to share with us. In this regard, I am pleased to note contributions from participating countries at the Summit. For example, BB UK will share on "Youths engaging Youths", a programme on participatory approach. BB from Caribbean will share their project on "Youth against Crime". The BB Asia Showcase, "Connecting Partners... Connecting Ideas", will also display the works that some of you have started in Indonesia, Macau, Thailand and Cambodia. We have much to learn from one another. I encourage all delegates to engage in active discussion over the next few days and make positive contributions towards the Summit's theme on "Youth in the Community". I trust that you will go home richer in knowledge and with greater passion as you continue to embark on the challenging journey ahead.
9. On this note, let me congratulate The Boys' Brigade in Singapore on attaining your 75th anniversary. It is not easy to sustain a movement for so many years. The fact that you are now celebrating 75 years attests to the achievements of your leaders and members, both past and present. BB Singapore has renewed itself through the years and continues to be relevant to the needs of youths today. Boys' Brigade Singapore has indeed held fast to the BB motto of being "Sure and Steadfast". Moving forward, I am happy to learn from Mr Choo Gim Kang, Brigade President of BB Singapore, that the Boys' Brigade in Singapore hopes to be present in every school by the year 2010. This is an excellent opportunity for old Boys to step forward and volunteer to lead these BB companies in schools. May you continue to develop our youths so that they will make a positive impact in our society.
10. I wish you an enjoyable and fruitful Summit. Thank you.