I refer to the letter “Allow space for active citizenry to develop on its own” (Oct 24), on the usefulness of active citizens helping the Government and the community to tackle issues Singapore is facing.
As one who is passionate about social problems, I endorse the writer’s views. The Government and policymakers have a lot on their plate and may be unable to see or resolve some of our residents’ problems.
Active citizens who read about social problems in the media can play a role by not only criticising flaws or gaps in systems but also by providing constructive, workable solutions that can improve the lives of people here.
To do this, active citizens must be in touch with the ground, mixing with and talking to citizens and non-citizens from the various strata of society.
They include foreign domestic helpers, cleaners, security guards, persons with mental illness and their families, and professionals such as doctors and lawyers.
Everyone must be valued for their views because we can learn from one another.
There are two kinds of active citizens: One is the group of citizens who continue to contribute to society upon retirement.
They do not believe in retirement and continue with various hobbies or take up volunteer work.
The other is the group of social activists who can be a voice for those who are unable to speak out for one reason or another. Active citizenry can help to bring change, though it may take some time.
When they begin to take action to raise awareness of the causes they are passionate about, they become respected activists in the process.
But more importantly, through active citizenry, society benefits.
Raymond Anthony Fernando