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Our Views Matter

Four Year 1 DTVM students gave their take on creating hope and opportunity in Singapore and got a lot more from the conversation than they’d ever imagine

Saturday morning and they were off to the National Library Building, not to research or borrow books but to talk. And listen.

Four students from the Diploma in Creative Writing for TV and New Media (DTVM) were taking part in the “Our Singapore Conversation” citizen dialogue held on 2 March 2013. They joined Singaporeans from all walks of life in Phase 2 of the dialogues.

DTVM students with Education Minister,
Mr Heng Swee Keat
From left: Kirthana, Natasha, Mr Heng, Angela
and Lakeisha

When they arrived, they were divided into groups to discuss the question, “How might we create Hope and Opportunity for all Singaporeans?” Each group then had sub-topics.

The resident artist drew a beautiful graphical
representation of the entire conversation

Lakeisha Leo and Kirthana Ganeson were in groups that concentrated on students.

Lakeisha said many of her group members had the same concerns, such as “Singapore’s obsession with how good grades are equivalent to success and whether or not there will be enough places in the universities.” Points raised included how good and experienced teachers should be deployed to all schools and not only the top schools, thereby allowing everyone to pursue their passions and not just high pay-checks.

The DTVM students found it heart-warming to know that Singaporeans cared about their children’s interests, respected those who took unusual paths to pursue their passions and looked beyond material pursuits. Kirthana said “When I shared with them the things we did in DTVM (such as presentations, excursions and brainstorming), they all looked like they struck gold. They were just so impressed that such a course exists, and they said that’s how it should be done. No textbooks, no strict formulas, just experienced lecturers who inspire students, who in turn are already passionate about what they do.”

Angela Lim was in a group that discussed the definition of success. Many hoped that Singapore will look beyond academic success and recognise not only talents in the arts and sports sectors, but also vocational skills such as plumbing, carpentering and even shoe-polishing. Many also hoped that Singapore will recognise those who are more focused on helping the community, such as volunteers, because they too are successful people.

The DTVM students thought that the event was really thought-provoking and left them with many questions. The session made them more interested in what’s happening in Singapore. Angela said “The event as a whole really broadened my perspective on the definition of success, what needs to be changed about it, and how we can change it." Kirthana agreed that the experience was a real eye-opener. She said, “It felt like everyone was trying to find that elusive way of learning that I’m already experiencing everyday in DTVM”.