Title : Asian youth conference kicks off in Singapore
By : Hasnita A Majid
Date : 29 July, 2002

Youths have been encouraged to take an active part in making changes, and to not be afraid to do so, in order to build a better world.

This message to Asia's young leaders came from Acting Minister for Information Communications and the Arts, David Lim, during his keynote address at a regional youth conference in Singapore.

"Can we build a better world?" That was the question Mr Lim put to youths from six Asian countries.

On his part, he told them this was possible if they worked together for a common good.

Mr Lim said, "You should not be too naive about the realities of the world, but you must not be cynical either. I think we are going to make the world a better place and I think for young people, they must aspire and dream about doing that. Then they must get involved and lead the change."

To do so, the youths were encouraged to question as well as brainstorm on issues that they think will affect them in the future.

Some questions that youths came up with involved the future of ASEAN and Asia.

Mr Lim says that each individual country in the region has its strength and the region needs to consolidate its power to harness its competitive edge.

There were other concerns too.

"I'm worried about youth unemployment because it's going to affect me when I walk out of university and I'm concerned what the government is going to do; we don't want to become a statistic," said Joanne Shireen Fernandez, a forum participant from Malaysia.

"We have cultivating entrepreneurship as one of the workshops in this initiative. What I hope would be addressed would be things like safety nets. It's the buzzword recently," added Mustafa Izzuddin from Singapore.

The week-long forum will also see youths discussing issues such as the changing role of the media and corporate responsibility in Asia.

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