A few days ago, an event banner featuring a portrait of our community leader was disfigured. Vandals drew on the banner and expressed their frustration or cheekiness on the leader. A few months ago, a group of youths broke into the defunct Queenstown Cinema and Bowling Alley, vandalising the walls using spray cans with obscene and needless remarks. On one hand, there would be a group of law abiding youths who preferred to either stay ignorant or contribute actively to the community. On the other hand, there were youths who either make their anger known through violence or unacceptable behaviour. Besides parents, education professionals and the media, there is one more avenue that can reach out to the younger generation (and even the older folks) and make them understand what is right or wrong, give them advice about life and give them a sense of purpose. That's our home - our community in general.
It was widely reported in the Western Media that Swedes possessed a very strong civic mindedness. Adults would refrain from jaywalking (when the traffic light was a 'red man') because they were afraid that their actions would affect the young and make them think that jaywalking is socially and legally acceptable.
Video on Queenstown Youths Dirtying Stirling Road Despite Ample "Warnings" from their School and Members of the Public
Would our youths listen to warnings and advice? Do they intend to participate in activities for the welfare of the wider Queenstown community? In our street wide poll at Commonwealth and Queenstown MRT Stations, more than 75% or (75 of the respondents) felt that there is a need for youths to stand up and do more for the community. They saw videos and clips of elderly folks struggling to move around in the estate and they saw our blog articles on the problems within the estate. These youths felt a sense of responsibility to contribute to the community. However, many of them expressed concerns at the lack of choices and avenues in Queenstown. In order to gather constructive feedback and propose viable solutions, let us take a look at some of the bigger concerns from the younger ones:
Aspirations from Our Youths
One of the major findings through the interview reveal that young Queenstown residents are looking forward to more meaningful community activities in the estate. Residents from Stirling View and Mei Ling, whom we have spoken to, tell us that some of the infighting in the Residential Committees are deterring residents from participating in activities there. A particular RC in District 6 (Mei Ling and Stirling) had been rapped by residents for being exclusive. Mr Tang, a resident at Blk 171, complained about the inefficiencies at the RC and believed that the RC is poorly run. A key problem, he said, was the lack of commitment from the RC in engaging residents. He claimed that the RC had not visited or promoted their activities for "many years."
The deficient in youth activism or recreational activities is exemplified by the negligible number of activities organised for the youths by independent and secular bodies in Queenstown. Although the People's Association and relevant authorities had provided seed fund to set up Youth Chapters for the RCs, it remained to be seen if there are indeed such programme in the Residential Committees. One insider of the RC complained that Queenstown is an old estate and it would be difficult to find youths to run such programmes. Is that true? Well, youths still hang out around in the estate.
Youths (@Tanglin Halt)
More Youths (@Chip Bee Gardens)
Even More Youths @ Strathmore
Youths who expressed their intention to volunteer did not get their opportunity too. According to ex-members, mails sent to the Youth Executive Committee of the Queenstown Community Centre was not read and replied promptly. While MyQueenstown Team observed the diligence and appreciate the effort of these youths coming forward to lead the team, it remained puzzling why this committee remained so exclusive that young Queenstown residents coming forward to render their service was not given any chances.
Her mail was not replied (their particulars are deleted to protect their identity)
Are these cases of mismanagement, miscommunication or pure laziness? How can the leaders of the community make our younger residents contribute to the community if fundamental problems such as the above was not solved at all?