Connecting people to people, and people to government. This is what People’s Association (PA) aims to do to build a more cohesive Singapore. With a network of 1,800 grassroots organisations (GROs), over 100 Community Clubs, five Community Development Councils, National Community Leadership Institute, and Water-Venture, PA oversees a wide range of programmes that cater to Singaporeans from all walks of life. To learn more about the prospects in shaping the community, we speak to 19-year-old PA scholars Prinita Mukherjee and Jazreel Tay on the opportunities that PA has given them.
People’s Association Scholarship (Local)
Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences
– National University of Singapore
Why did you choose a scholarship with PA?
Prinita: Since it was formed as the basis for nation building, PA has continued to push the boundaries of success. PA embodies the ability and responsiveness that I want to strive for while making a difference in our society, and this is why I wanted to join PA. I am inspired by PA’s efforts to connect to residents at the grassroots level—the idea of community is truly woven into their work.
Jazreel: I have always envisioned myself working for the people, rather than in a corporate setting. I once read: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded”. I aim to live my life by this quote as I believe that only in serving and working to better lives will I find meaning in my own, and PA seems to be a perfect fit as a platform for me to get started. What further reinforced my interest is the potential opportunities for me to work with diverse groups of people in future. Through this, I feel that I will be able to figure out where my true passion in serving lies, and from there make both my work and life a more meaningful one.
What are some of the development opportunities your scholarship has given you?
Prinita: Not only has this scholarship given me the opportunity to obtain an overseas liberal arts education, it allows me to engage directly with the myriad of issues that continue to plague our population by introducing me to lifelong learning, the elderly, at-risk youth, race, and class divides that I previously only knew about through the media. With such a diverse range of initiatives to help organise and a high level of inclusivity within the organisation’s family structure itself, this scholarship promises personal growth.
Jazreel: My scholarship has made it possible for me to stay on campus at the College of Alice and Peter Tan, a residential college that looks into Community Engagement and Citizenship. This gives me opportunities to participate in events that will develop my skills relevant to working with PA in the future. The scholarship is also very flexible and supportive with their internship schedules, which gave me the courage and opportunity to take up a role in the Planning Committee for the Freshmen Orientation Camp for my residential college this year.
What are your plans after graduation?
Prinita: Once I graduate, I plan to draw on my appreciation of adaptability that studying overseas has taught me, encouraging me to stay ever-open to new ideas and avoid taking the status quo for granted. A career at PA offers the opportunity to leverage this flexibility in tackling the varied challenges of bringing the diverse people of Singapore together.
Jazreel: I will gain some experience on the ground by working in a community club before I am rotated to another division. No matter what, I plan to do my best in whatever position and vocation I am put in and make the most of my time there. As with PA’s mission, I am excited to act as a bridge between the people and the government, and create spaces where residents from various backgrounds can come together, enhancing the quality of outreach and engagement to our people.
People’s Association Scholarship (Overseas)
Bachelor of Arts in Economics – Cornell University
Any advice and encouragement for scholars planning to follow in your footsteps?
Prinita: If you are deeply passionate about exerting positive change, serving the people, and building a strong national identity, the work at PA (which goes beyond other conventional jobs) should not deter you. Be prepared to cultivate yourself academically and holistically. Become familiar with what is happening around you, and remain particularly sensitive to the social scene. Gain more understanding of what is being done and what more needs to be done. Finally, follow your heart and let your goodwill propel you.
Jazreel: You should be sure of what you want out of the scholarship aside from the financial sponsorship. If you are passionate about serving the community, bettering the society one individual at a time, and would not mind doing this as a career, you should definitely apply for the PA Scholarship. For the selection process, be clear of your goals and make sure that these align with PA’s values and nature of work. PA is an organisation that wants to listen to your views and how you can contribute to improve their frameworks towards nation-building and community development. Ultimately, just be yourself and be sincere in articulating your passion and opinions.
Believe in making a positive impact for the community? Get started with PA’s local and overseas scholarships today. www.pa.gov.sg/careers/scholarship