PLAY THE LONG GAME: MAKING SOCIAL CHANGE IN SINGAPORE

As the Executive Director of AWARE and a dedicated women's rights activist, Corinna Lim has a wealth of experience in the art of advocacy. Corinna joined our speaker lineup in December 2023, sharing her experiences and important lessons on how to effect change and ensure long-term sustainability for NGOs. 

She walked our audience through her decades of experience with AWARE and in advocating for women’s issues in Singapore. She also shared valuable insights into strategy setting, managing change, diversity and conflict, and the essential tools and tactics needed for successful and sustainable advocacy.

Engaging with Corrina, our UWCSEA student panellists discussed how to enact meaningful social change for a better world, Corinna shared;

"It's important to build trust and to engage even more with those who don't agree with you. When advocacy succeeds, the world transforms for the better."

Introducing our UWCSEA student panellists: Kai, Danae and Fedora

Kai, Grade 12, UWCSEA Dover

Active member of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) student group

"My involvement in our DEIB student group at school has fostered a passion for advocacy focusing on the wellbeing of minority group."

Danae, Grade 12, UWCSEA East

Background as Head of Focus Groups on the Service and Sustainable Development (SSD) Executive team

"Dedicated to amplifying voices in minority groups and lower socioeconomic strata, I actively advocate for a more equitable society, safeguarding rights, and catalysing positive change."

Fedora, Grade 12, UWCSEA Dover

Background as Global Concerns (GC) Executive and Jakarta Street Kids GC member

"I believe that advocacy is about the power to listen, learn and empower, allowing us to make meaningful connections and impactful changes in the world."

Corinna also shared advice with our students:

"If you are patient, and you understand the timeline you are working with, you will eventually see change and you can lead it."

Danae, Grade 12, UWCSEA East

During the panel discussion, we drew from our experiences in advocacy and service, exploring diverse perspectives on purposeful action. The session specifically focused on AWARE's influential role in Singapore, providing valuable insights into its network within the country. We delved into the significance of building trust with communities and emphasised the necessity of patience when leading change, acknowledging that transformative progress is a gradual process. Corinna underscored the idea that when advocacy succeeds, the world transforms for the better, drawing connections between her views and our College's commitment to service.

I am incredibly appreciative of this chance and the priceless lessons it has taught me. If you are asked to join a student panel, go for it, you won't regret it!

Kai, Grade 12, UWCSEA Dover

What I enjoyed most was collaborating with the other student panellists to ask questions that would be the most relevant and interesting for those in the audience.

To future student panellists: you should go for it without being too worried about the public speaking aspect of it; it is a great opportunity to have an extra insight into the speaker's field beyond what you would get as an audience member.

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Questions that were raised during Q&A:

How do you effectively and respectfully navigate the balance between critical analysis and engagement within the established positions of the Singapore government, facilitating meaningful social change?

Following the repeal of 377A last year, how do you evaluate the potential for Singapore to go further on LGBTQ+ rights in the future, particularly on homosexual marriage? Do you think it will happen, and what would cause it?

You shared that women have to pay more for insurance. Is there anything we can do about it?

How would financial literacy and financial independence help women support themselves more?

SINGAPORE AS A NATION STATE: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.

As the Director of the Institute of Policy Studies at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Mr Janadas Devan has a long experience engaging with Singapore's history and its policy making.

Drawing perspective from his distinguished career, including his tenure as Singapore's former Chief of Government Communications, Mr Devan shared his extensive expertise in his dual roles as Senior Advisor (Government Communications) in MCI and Deputy Secretary (Prime Minister's Office), while engaging with a panel of UWCSEA students.

If you had to write the title of your book, what would it be?

"The Country That Should Not Have Existed."

Mr Janadas Devan started with an introduction to the history of Singapore and Malaysia, and highlighted the struggles Singapore had to go through to survive on its own in 1965.

Together with our audience, he explored the nuanced societal issues and delved into policies within the context of Singapore and the global landscape.

Introducing our UWCSEA student panellists: Jeenaev, Emily and Mannat

Jeenaev, Grade 11, UWCSEA East

Background as Investment Society President and
IB Global Politics student

"Passionate about mobilising economic and financial activity towards accomplishing social objectives, and the role of governments and policy in accomplishing these objectives."

Emily, Grade 12, UWCSEA Dover

Background as Special Olympics Swim Coaching Service Group member and IB Global Politics student

"I've always felt drawn to socio-political issues and the roles of government and public policy in empowering and reducing inequality among prejudiced groups, specifically women."

Mannat, Grade 12, UWCSEA Dover

Background as IB Global Politics student

"My passion for public policy stems from its ability to bridge divides, empower marginalised communities, and build a stronger, more inclusive society."

When our student panellists asked about how Mr Janadas Devan manages his dual positions in the government and as a think-tank concurrently, he shared:

"We are in the field of applied research, we are looking at the practical difficulties of implementation of public policy. We work with the government for contracts, commissions and grants. But in order to be convincing and for it to have any utility, it has to measure up, be honest, be as objective as possible and be open to being questioned and challenged–which is what we do."

Emily, Grade 12, UWCSEA Dover

Participating as a student panellist at the KMSS event was an enriching experience, one for which I am immensely grateful. I particularly enjoyed meeting and engaging with Janadas Devan, a figure whom I respect and admire. The highlight for me was crafting questions alongside the intelligent student panellists to ask Mr. Janadas, contributing to a conversation on the timeline of Singapore’s political development.

While speaking to such an accomplished figure in front of an audience was daunting at first, my biggest piece of advice for future panellists joining KMSS would be to simply try and enjoy it. This opportunity is not only for learning but also for personal growth, so try to gain as much as you possibly can from it.

Jeenaev, Grade 11, UWCSEA East

I most enjoyed being able to interact and discuss with Mr. Janadas Devan about topics, issues, and questions I specifically was interested in and curious about.

To future student panellists looking to join: come in with an open and inquisitive mind!

Mannat, Grade 12, UWCSEA Dover

As a student panellist who engaged with Janadas Devan, I found the experience incredibly enriching. What I enjoyed most, especially as a Global Politics and Economics student, was the ability to get a taste of the true complexity and multifaceted nature of politics intertwined with economics with someone as knowledgeable and influential as Mr. Devan as he delved into intricate discussions about Singapore's trajectory. His insights provided valuable perspectives on governance, national identity, and the challenges and opportunities facing Singapore.

To future student panellists at KMSS, I would encourage embracing the chance to engage with experts like Mr. Devan fully. Prepare thoughtful questions, actively listen, and seize this opportunity to broaden your understanding of politics, economics, and more.