Singapore is uniquely blessed with a population richly diverse in cultures, backgrounds and experiences. The People’s Association (PA) has a finger firmly on the pulse of our community, forging social cohesion through grassroots engagement and community programmes open to all. PA oversees an impressive network of 100 community centres (CCs), 550 residents’ committees (RCs) and 100 neighbourhood committees (NCs) across Singapore. These represent meaningful hubs for unifying activities and discussion that focus on youth, active ageing, sports, arts and culture, social development or community leadership.
Undergraduates Rachel Cheang and Edward Tan are PA scholars thrilled at the upcoming prospect of playing significant roles in shaping social ties across all segments of the community. They share insights on finding purpose within PA and how they have been set up for future success.
What do you find fulfilling about working with PA?
Rachel: What I find most fulfilling is PA’s increasingly significant role in fostering a stronger national identity and resilient communal networks. The work that PA does is unique to Singapore. It is rare to hear of a statutory board like PA in other countries that specifically focuses on strengthening the fabric of its society. With PA’s breadth of programmes and initiatives, I am equipped with the tools and resources to reach out to even more residents in a capacity where I can continue to foster a better community for those I serve.
Edward: PA offers an engaging and unique career due to the integral role that PA plays in bridging Government-People relations. I think the PA career experience is unique in that PA officers are often intimately involved from commencement up till service delivery to citizens, enabling PA officers to forge strong and lasting connections with their local residents. Moreover, participating in community events organised by PA have inspired me to find joy in serving fellow members of the community. My keen interest in being a PA officer is also due to PA’s supportive organisational culture, which strikes me as one that highly values and supports its people.
Rachel Cheang Ling Lin
Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship
Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Politics
University of British Columbia
Share with us how the opportunities and development tracks of your scholarship are aligned with the career aspirations you have for your future.
Rachel: As a PA scholar, I am given the flexibility to choose a field of study that has relevance to PA’s diverse areas of work. My major in International Relations and Political Science has given me great insights into the mechanisms of policy-making that will provide me with the framework to communicate government policies and resident feedback in my future work.
Internship opportunities will also serve to integrate PA scholars into its organisational culture. In addition, internship and career pathways are ample given PA’s vast network of grassroots and community-building institutions.
Edward: I look forward to the host of development programmes that the PA Scholarship offers to benefit my personal and career growth. To date, I have attended a structured internship programme. These internships help to enhance scholars’ understanding of the nature of work in PA and provide opportunities for networking and picking up of hands-on experiences and knowledge. My internship with the Active Ageing and Family Life Division has enhanced my awareness of how the headquarters function as well as the importance of close coordination between the headquarters and constituency offices.
During my studies, the PA scholarship has also provided me with the opportunity to undergo a semester of study exchange at the University of Hong Kong. Through this exchange experience, I have come to better understand the social challenges that Hong Kong faces and how they can apply to Singapore.
People are the best investment and resources. How would you like to give back to society? What kind of support has PA given you?
Rachel: I took on the challenge of organising a dragon-boat orientation for the residents of Limau Estate as a means to bring people together through a sport I am passionate about. With the support of PA, I was able to pull it off successfully. What was the most fulfilling was seeing the surprised looks on the participants’ faces when they discovered how close they actually live to each other despite never said “hi” to each other before this activity!
Edward Tan Ee Siong
Local Mid-Term Undergraduate Scholarship
Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Public Policy and Global Affairs
Nanyang Technological University
When it comes to international politics and public affairs, how is the world transforming and what impact does it have on your generation in Singapore?
Rachel: Across the world, youths are now more involved in politics and public affairs because they are starting to realise how their actions, values and choices have an impact on the future of their political, social and economic landscapes. Singapore’s youths are no different; we want to make a difference.
One way that youths are shaping and
creating the Singaporean identity is through
getting to know their communities better
and exploring avenues to serve their
neighbours, families and friends. It is
therefore important that, apart from having
sound and inclusive policies, PA continues
to efficiently communicate government
services and deliver effective community-building
What would encourage aspiring scholars from your generation to follow in your footsteps then?
Edward: With its extensive portfolio of grassroots and community organisations, aspiring scholars can look forward to a plethora of opportunities offered by PA in your career choice. Most importantly, being a PA scholar will empower you to make a tangible impact on the community and inspire changes at the grassroots levels. Join the People’s Association if you are looking for a people-centric and dynamic career!