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Weaving a strong social fabric

MR MUHAMMAD Naufal Zahin Azmi, 21, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Politics at King’s College London in the United Kingdom, looks forward to his summer semester vacations. It is when the People’s Association (PA) Scholar (Overseas) will return to Singapore and spend part of his vacation doing internships. Each internship lasting at least six weeks, enables Mr Zahin to get first-hand experience working on community projects with grassroots and PA leaders. The first-year undergraduate, who was awarded the scholarship last year, says: “These experiences are designed for me to learn and play a part in the planning and implementation phases of projects. “They are important as I usually only get to see the end products of projects or events in our everyday lives, and sometimes discount or take for granted the thinking and amount of effort put into organising them.” The scholarship covers full tuition and compulsory fees, monthly maintenance allowance, and a one-off pre-studies allowance to cover expenses such as warm clothing and a computer and for settling in. It also includes sponsorship for an approved student exchange programme, return airfare, and medical or health insurance. Mr Zahin’s degree programme has a focus on political philosophies that he believes will help him in his career when he graduates and joins PA in 2020.

He believes that having a cohesive society is important and that PA is where he could make a career of helping to change people’s lives for the better. Mr Zahin is not new to charity work as he used to raise funds for a local orphanage as part of the Malay Cultural Society when he was still a student at Victoria Junior College. Also, several of Mr Zahin’s family members, including his uncles and cousin are in the Home Team and he aspires to follow in their footsteps to pursue a meaningful career. He says: “I want a career path that enables me to work directly with various communities. It intrigues me that there is so much that can be done to improve the cohesiveness of our social fabric in Singapore.”

Caring for the society

He is looking forward to engaging with grassroots organisations and going for job placements in various strategic units. He expects to work with a team to organise projects for a community when he joins PA. While his aim is to improve and increase the areas for common spaces in Singapore, he also aspires to boost social integration and cohesion where everyone is free to pursue their passions and has the proper support networks to do so. He says: “I think PA is a vital bridge between the Singapore government and residents, as it is able to get a sense of what society is thinking about and understand their myriad concerns. “PA also helps to communicate government policies to residents so that they are able to make sense of the more complicated ones. I look forward to playing this important role and strengthening the bond among residents, collectively with my fellow peers in PA and the wider public service.” Despite the challenges ahead in an ever-changing society, his enthusiasm and optimism to be a positive change-maker remains. Mr Zahin adds that he hopes to impact several areas of the community, listing social development, community leadership, active ageing, sports, as well as arts and culture as those that he plans to start on once he gets the opportunity.