(Image courtesy of the Lovely Singapore team)
I want to write about the excellent CommaCon 2016 that concluded at Suntec City today.
Organised by the Association of Muslim Professionals in Singapore and supported by the NYC, the main objective of this ground-up initiated conference is to create a stronger Singaporean national identity.
The Vision of CommaCon 2016
“We need to support and create more awareness for youth-led initiatives in order to strengthen social cohesion in Singapore. It’s madness what’s happening in the US, Europe and Middle East; with the racial tension, xenophobic comments and terrorist attacks.
This convention, in fact, this entire campaign from 2016-2017, is a first in many respects. We’ve never had a public discourse on such contentious issues because they’re deemed too sensitive. We need to change that mindset.
And this will be the biggest youth convention ever held to achieve that.
The campaign starts now.”
The team at Lovely Singapore also shared some discussion questions with me, which I found to be extremely smart and insightful.
Segment 1: Is this home truly?
• What have we done to build our identity as a nation? • What have we done successfully as a nation as a people?• What are you proud of/ What are you not proud of.
Segment 2: Who are we?
• What if Singapore were a person–What would he or she be like? • What would this person’s appearance be like? • What personality would this person have? • What mannerisms? • What would be prominent about this person?
• How about the hidden side of this person/ what lies there?
• Which parts of this identify do you agree with? • Which parts of this identify do you not agree with? • What do you think should be different?
Segment 3: Who are we not?
• Create another character: ○ A different/disruptive person.
• Who are such persons who are different from us? ○ Are we xenophobic? ○ Do we alienate those who would be different from us? ○ Should we embrace those who are different? What happen if we do? ○ Do we fear those who are so different that embracing them could disrupt where we intend to head? (E.g. Those with extreme viewpoints)
Segment 4: Who do we want to become?
• What is the ideal identity we want to become? Draw out a new character which represents the ideal identity the group envisions that would be able to successfully navigate the future. • What might happen in the future that might disrupt your ideal identity? • What needs to change so that it is truly robust to disruption?
Interesting right? Singapore probably needs to have more events like Comma Convention to foster a stronger sense of togetherness, and I am heartened that sensitive stuffs like racism, terrorism and income-gap disparity are discussed in a high-level, intelligent and open manner. It bodes well for nation-building and gives young Singaporeans a greater sense of belonging and stake in Singapore.
Hope there are events when I’m back in SG so that I can attend!~ 🙂