Experiencing Singapore’s Heart And Soul Through Its Social Innovations

Developed countries the world over are grappling with the challenges of an aging population. Besides meeting the basic needs of its citizens, what else can be done so that people can age gracefully?

The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) welcomed seven editors and journalists from China on its recent Journalist Visit Programme to discover the heart and soul of Singapore while experiencing first-hand how we prepare ourselves for an ageing population.

From exploring Singapore’s first integrated retirement public housing facility to engaging with civil servants on Singapore’s healthcare initiatives, visiting kampung spaces in the city-state, and even learning about the experiences of our volunteers who have enabled SIF’s Sino-Singapore projects, the week-long programme helped our overseas guests gain a deeper appreciation of Singapore as a culturally vibrant and inclusive city.

“Through this trip, I learnt how Singapore has overcome the challenges of limited urban area and resources and has developed rapidly to become a garden city with wisdom and humanistic solicitude.” – Wang Jinsong, Spring Evening, Yunnan, China.

I really felt Singapore’s diversity and multiculturalism, and the enthusiasm of Singaporeans. I am deeply amazed by Singapore’s track record in resource planning and conservation. I will definitely pay more attention to news on Singapore in the future.” – Bao Jie, Life Times, Shanghai, China.

Our media friends toured Kampung Admiralty, the first integrated housing estate for the elderly in Singapore, with facilities and amenities suitable for both the young and old, all available under one roof.
Chief Executive Officer of the Health Promotion Board (HPB), Mr Zee Yoong Kang, shared more about HPB’s initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles in Singapore with the journalists, including the popular National Steps Challenge, where participants can redeem rewards for accumulating a set number of steps per day.
Nothing is more healing than nature. A walk through the Therapeutic Gardens @ Hort Park by the National Parks Board (NParks) showcased the various health benefits of being close to nature, such as relieving stress and fatigue. Though Singapore is land scarce, priority has been given to making nature accessible to all Singaporeans.
A volunteer at Ground-Up Initiative (GUI) sharing more about her work at GUI’s “Kampung Kampus”, a low-carbon footprint community campus located on a 2.6-hectare site in northern Singapore. The non-profit organisation aims to inculcate resilience and reconnect Singaporeans with nature despite the island-nation’s highly urbanised landscape.
What does it feel like to be blind and how can society build spaces that are more inclusive? Our media friends gained first-hand insights to this question at the Enabling Village, an inclusive community space for people with disabilities, where they took part in a blind simulation activity conducted by social enterprise Etch Empathy.
A visually impaired facilitator for Etch Empathy demonstrates to the journalists how he uses technology despite his disability. Etch Empathy is a non-profit social enterprise in Singapore that conducts simulations to challenge prejudices against vulnerable groups in Singapore.
The group visited The Intan, an immersive home-museum in Joo Chiat, where they learnt about Peranakan heritage and sampled traditional nyonya kuihs (Peranakan snacks). The Peranakan culture embodies aspects of multi-racial Singapore.
There’s no better way to experience a different culture than through its food, and the journalists cooked up a feast of local delights at Food Playground. The cooking school provides flexi-work arrangements for stay-at-home mothers and active seniors who face difficulties in re-entering the workforce.

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