Ideas come thick and fast at Road to 2016 workshop

Singapore Democrats

Vibrant and dynamic. Those were the words one volunteer used to describe the workshop that the Singapore Democrats conducted on Saturday where more than 150 participants attended.

They came from different backgrounds and age groups equipped with different skill sets but all with one objective: To take the SDP to a new level of competence and organisational capability in preparation for the next general elections.

In his welome remarks, secretary-general Chee Soon Juan noted the wide array of talent in the group and urged participants to use their creative energy to drive the party agenda forward and communicate it with the Singaporean public.

“If we are able to harness this talent and apply it to our cause,” he said, “then there is nothing we cannot achieve in the next general elections. Our success is limited only by our creativity and innovativeness, the possibilities are endless.” 

The workshop then broke up into six smaller groups comprising of community services, communications, training & development, policy studies, ground operations and fund-raising. Participants had earlier indicated their preferences in their registration forms.

The training and development sub-committee came up with their idea to train members as brand ambassadors so that they can more effecitvely communicate the party’s message – who we are and what we stand for – to the public.

The communications department saw the participation of several media experts including Ms Nadine Keller and Ms Serena Lau. Ms Keller is an experienced TV producer and Ms Lau was the producer of several reality TV shows including the Amazing Race Asia and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Outta Here.

They undertook to upgrade the production of the SDP’s online material as well as a revamp of our flagship publication, The New Democrat to include more non-political story elements such as educational, lifestyle, and social articles.

The community services sub-committee attracted the most number of participants. It was a clear indication that our members were most enthusiastic about getting on the ground and helping constituents.

Facilitated by Dr Vincent Wijeysingha and Ms Chee Siok Chin, the group identified several projects which would enable the party to provide social services to residents especially those from the lower income groups. The opportunity would enable party members to forge a more meaningful relationship with the community.

James Gomez and Tan Jee Say facilitating discussions on policy studies. In background are two more discussion groups

The policy studies sub-committee was moderated by Mr Tan Jee Say and Dr James Gomez. Another popular sub-committee with nearly 40 participants, the group sub-divided itself into three clusters: Political, Social and Economic. Each group was given the task of monitoring the various government ministries in terms of policy-making. 

Given that the presidential election is around the corner, members of the Political cluster decided to focus on the emerging issues around the eligibility of presidential candidates.

The different clusters are organising themselves separately to meet up over the next week few weeks.

The ground operations section wasted no time in putting up a schedule for party walk-abouts and house visits. This sub-committee will also organise distribution of party material to the residents in order to raise the SDP’s profile among the residents. 

Finally, the fund-raising sub-committee was busy coming up with novel and creative ideas on how to raise funds so to support the activities of the other sub-committees. Among some of the ideas are to organise one-off events such as a Father’s Day dinner to longer-term solutions such as establishing a business arm for the party. 

The workshop proved a fertile ground where great ideas germinated. The emphasis was encouraging a bottom-up process where ideas could bubble up instead of inculcating a top-down party culture.

The various sub-committees were tasked with executing the projects with immediate ones being implemented within six months. We are looking forward to delivering the goods and proving the SDP to be a credible party in Singapore’s political scene. 

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