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Here’s how you can become an ideal citizen of Singapore

June 21, 2018

5 shared values

In an attempt to prepare Singapore for a globalised world, the National Ideological Committee proposed new set of 5 shared values on 7 November 1989.

1. Individualism for society 2. Resolving matters through consensus over contention 3. Upholding family as the basic building block of society 4. Communal Camaraderie 5. Stressing racial and religious acceptance and harmony

In the recent committee meeting, delegates submitted a White Paper to state the rationale behind the creation of these values, and how they would benefit Singapore.


The White Paper

The Main submitter, Mr Lee Hsien Loong (middle) and her two Co-submitters, Reverend Dr. Anne Johnson (left) and Mr S.Jayakumar (right)

The White Paper takes into account the concerns of religious leaders, individuals and communities of the general populace and furthermore explains the need for these new values in our society.

It also includes a set of comprehensive implementations that can be enacted by the government so as to ensure that citizens play their part in upholding these values.

It also introduces the Civics and Moral Education (CME), replacing the “Religions of Singapore syllabus” implemented by Dr Tony Tan, Minister of Education. More details can be found in the White Paper itself.


Why is there a need for these values?

These values will be something that most Singaporeans share in common and thus it would be a reflection of our roots as a Southeast Asian nation.

Not only can they use this ideology to promote the maintenance of a more stable and peaceful society, but they can also use it as a tool to create a common identity and rally all Singaporeans together to overcome future challenges.

Mr S. Dhanabalan quoted, “It is important to remind the citizens that the worth of a team is greater than the sum of its parts, but what would become of a team without its parts?”

“We are a pragmatic society and cannot afford to have a welfare state. Every citizen has to take up social responsibility so that they do not fall behind,” said Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Minister for Trade and Industry and Second Minister for Defence.

Mr Lee explaining the rationale behind the 5 values

Mr Victor Olsen, President-Elect of the Eurasian Association of Singapore, said, “Resolving matters through consensus over contention does not mean to agree to demands of all Singaporeans, but to ensure that everyone are on the same side.”

“Resolving matters through consensus over contention” is crucial due to our size. If there are disagreements in our society, it will tear our nation apart,” he added.


A symbiotic 2 way relationship

Mr S. Dhanabalan said, “It is important that we show our citizens that the government is doing their best to help each individual, so that the citizens will feel the obligation to consider the needs of the society. This can be seen in ‘Individualism for society’.”

After the government aids a citizen in developing themselves, they will then learn how to contribute to their families and then subsequently to the society.


Civics and moral education

After much discussion, the committee decided that the “Religions of Singapore syllabus” was unsuitable for a secular and pragmatic country like Singapore. Moreover, it may add to the stress of Singaporean students and this may cause resentment towards the subject.

The committee has instead implemented a new and non-examinable subject, Civics and Moral Education(CME).

CME allows students to understand the cultural practices of each religion or race and learn how to accept and embrace these cultures. It will also instill a good character in students to ensure that they grow up to become good Singaporean citizens.

Consequently, these values can act as a moral compass to guide us in our daily lives.


With the cooperation of our citizens, we hope that our new National Ideology can act as a anchor against the waves of globalisation.



[1] "Founding Fathers Were 'passionate about Multiracialism'." TODAYonline. September 29, 2017. Accessed June 21, 2018. https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/founding-fathers-were- passionate-about-multiracialism.




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