Imagine life in Singapore without community. You probably can't. The familiar faces catching up during their morning workout, the volunteers collecting recyclables from door to door, and the community gardeners who beautify our shared spaces.
We often think of nations as born from grand ideals, but research whispers a different truth. Wise and Velayutham (2014) tell us it’s the everyday interactions that bind a nation together. But have we overlooked these threads of connection?
A 2017 study by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) reveals a worrying truth: Our sharpest social divides lie not in race or religion, but in class. Public housing residents have fewer friends living in private dwellings, and students in elite schools rarely socialise outside their bubbles.
But here lies our opportunity for growth. It serves as a compelling call to action, inviting us to strengthen our social fabric and ensure that every interaction, every shared experience, contributes to a more inclusive, connected, and understanding community.
It’s more than just “knowing thy neighbour.” According to the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth, social capital is the networks of trust, support, and shared resources that strengthen a community. It’s the neighbour who offers you a ride when it’s raining and the friend who shares their contact for a repairman.
Strong social capital not only creates a sense of belonging within a community, but it also opens doors to opportunities for those facing challenges. This offers social mobility for less privileged groups, setting them up for success.
According to a survey (A Study of Social Capital in Singapore, 2017) by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) of the National University of Singapore (NUS), social ties are not merely shaped by schools and workplaces, but also voluntary association and individual participation.
“So, strengthening social capital in Singapore isn’t something only thegovernment can do. Especially with the pandemic affecting trust and socialconnections (IPS World Values Survey, 2022), it’s up to each of us to pitch inand make a positive difference in our community.”
Not sure what you bring to the table? Get the ball rolling and Join the Challenge! open_in_new
Offer to tutor, teach a class, or lend a hand fixing things in the community. Your knowledge is a valuable gift.
From RC events to library workshops, these are more than just facilities – they're opportunities to connect.
Sometimes, the greatest help is a listening ear. Offer a shoulder to lean on and let someone know they're not alone.
Introduce people from different backgrounds and create avenues for unlikely friendships to blossom.
Whether it's a simple "good morning" or checking on an elderly neighbour, small acts of kindness ripple outwards.
Find community groups in need and offer your skills, time, or unwanted items.
Like a pebble stirring a calm pond, even the smallest act of kindness can send ripples of impact through your community. Are you someone who walks the talk, or do you know someone who does? Tell us your story, or share one that inspires you, to set off a chain reaction of positive and transformative acts.
If you’d like to shine the spotlight on more kindred spirits like them, join The Best of You as an Agent of Change here.