With Singapore's golden jubilee just a few months away, some 150 young adults came together to dream up big ideas that will serve the nation for the next 50 years.
Over the weekend, they heard from experts in fields as varied as religion, healthcare and technology to inspire them to develop solutions to the country's challenges.
This was the kick-off session of a four-month-long programme called SG50 Kita X, one of many organised by Malay self-help group Mendaki to mark the jubilee year.
Panellists yesterday included Dr Tan Lai Yong, who spent 14 years training doctors in rural China, and Nanyang Technological University sociologist Kwok Kian Woon, who challenged students to rethink the paper chase.
The groups will continue to hone their ideas in the coming months and the best five solutions will each receive $5,000 in funding.
They may even have their ideas pitched to policymaking bodies.
SG50 Kita is the name Mendaki has given to its suite of jubilee year initiatives, which aim to get Malays and Muslims here involved with the celebrations while also reaching out to other communities.
"Kita" in Malay means "us".
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, who interacted with participants at lunch yesterday, said he was glad to see younger Singaporeans stepping up. "This sort of exercise is important because one of the key components of SG50 is envisioning the future," he said.
"There is a lot that can be done by young people, because it is the future they're going to inherit," he added.
Programme organiser Khairu Rejal, 35, said the aim of SG50 Kita X is to get the youth motivated to effect change, rather than "punching the keyboard at home and saying why the Government is not doing this or that".
This article was first published on March 15, 2015.
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