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Now’s a good Young people find

their voices at forum
time to tap BY JERMYN CHOW bi-annual National Youth Forum, a
three-month session that saw youth get
hands-on experience in policy-making.
Their ideas range from publishing a
guidebook on early childhood education
to introducing niche sports to the public.

‘silver’ market
WHILE sex seems to dominate the
thoughts and conversations of young peo- The forum, which was initiated by the The teams showcased their final plans
ple, many are actually quite clueless National Youth Council in 2004 to better to their peers at the Suntec City Conven-
when it comes to the birds and the bees. engage students, wrapped up yesterday. tion Centre.
Chester and his team are roping in vol- Also present was Minister for Commu-
Worse yet, some have latched onto
unteers to help run their website and nity Development, Youth and Sports Vi-
misinformation from the Internet,
have approached the Health Ministry for vian Balakrishnan who, in his closing ad-
putting them at risk of unwanted pregnan- help in publicising the portal.
ple under 50, he said.
Seniors have more time, Later, Mr Walker, speaking to The
cies and sexually transmitted diseases.
Now, 16-year-old Chester Tan wants
“The untruths and misinformation are
dress, said he was heartened by the slew
of ideas.
Straits Times, said the downturn is a so rampant on the Internet,” said Ches-
money than ever before, door for companies to enter the silver
to “fight fire with fire” and banish those
misconceptions. The Raffles Junior Col-
ter. For instance, many young people be- At the same time, he tempered the am-
bitions of these young people.
lieve that exercising after intercourse
says business leader market and create their own positive
lege student, with the help of counsellors
and doctors, has set up a website with in-
could prevent pregnancy, he said. He said: “You must also have an open
mind and not lose your sense of reality.
Sex aside, eight other groups involved
“Because most companies have ig- formation on everything from underage Sometimes, things do not go according to
BY LEE SIEW HUA in the youth forum have tackled hot-but-
nored this market segment, they have sex to HIV/Aids. plan, you’ve got to accept less and com-
ton topics such as sports, education and
new opportunities simply by changing He was among 100 participants at the how to promote volunteerism. promise.”
THE iPhone is a rare universal design their strategy to tap this untapped silver
that has crashed through the age barri- market.”
er. It appeals to both the young and the Amid the recession, Mr Walker, 53,
old. launched his business consultancy a
Older people love its large numbers,
simplicity of use, stylishness and new
month ago to embrace the mature mar-
Towards deeper
features, said Silver Group founder Kim
Walker, who connects businesses to the
50-plus market in the Asia-Pacific.
Another new opportunity he pinpoint-
ed: Singapore can rebrand and rethink
the role of older workers ahead of 2012,
ties with China
“Everyone would assume that the Ap- when new legislation kicks in requiring
ple iPhone is designed for youth, but it bosses to offer re-employment for three Prime Minister Lee Hsien
isn’t. It’s perfect for older people,” he years to those aged 62.
told the Reinventing Retirement Asia “Rather than simply extending their Loong welcoming the
conference. job, let’s recognise their assets. We can vice-chairman of the National
More businesses will have to com- direct them into another aspect of busi- People’s Congress of China,
pete on universal design to catch young ness to leverage their assets,” he said.
and mature consumers alike. By then, Mr Walker hopes Singapore Mr Zhou Tienong, to the
Mature-age consumers are an un- business leaders will form a consensus Istana yesterday.
tapped “silver mine” with more money, that the legislation works to their bene- Mr Zhou is visiting
time and energy than ever before, noted fit, because the old have vital attributes
Mr Walker, a Singapore-based Austral- like experience. Singapore at the invitation of
ian, during the Media and Messaging In the United States, this shift is al- Speaker of Parliament
panel of the two-day conference which ready being discerned, said Dr Marcie Abdullah Tarmugi.
ended yesterday. Pitt-Catsouphes, director of Boston Col-
Across the Asia-Pacific, they have an lege’s Sloan Centre on Aging and Work.
During their meeting, Prime
estimated wealth of US$11.3 trillion “Companies are finding that experi- Minister Lee and Mr Zhou
(S$16.8 trillion) or 35 per cent of total ence matters to the bottom line,” she reaffirmed the excellent
wealth, he noted. told The Straits Times. relations between Singapore
In Europe, half of the wealth is in the She has surveyed US firms on percep-
hands of the 50-plus population, accord- tions of older workers in the workplace, and China, and discussed
ing to another panellist, Mr Jean-Paul and found that bosses realise that ma- ways to deepen and
Treguer, founder of international mar- ture staff possess “social capital” and re- strengthen bilateral
keting network Senioragency Paris. lationships that translate into business
The irony is that 95 per cent of all ad- – valuable in these bad times. cooperation.
vertising expenditure is focused on peo- Separately, Mr Heng Chee How, the The two leaders also
NTUC’s deputy secretary-general, exchanged views on regional
looked beyond the rebranding of work-
ers to their intrinsic value.
developments. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
He said: “The key thing really
would be, what’s wrong with the
word ‘older’?” the ICA building in the afternoon. This re-
The issue is that Singapore
should get all parties – the ma-
ture worker, employer and socie-
Students register for ICs sulted in long waiting times for the stu-
dents and their parents.
Now, secondary schools arrange a day
ty – to see value in older work-
“It’s a question of how we see
it and and how we realise that val-
– minus the long wait when the ICA team can come to register
the 15-year-olds. The mobile team will
visit one school each day.
Bedok Green Secondary is the fifth
ue,” he said. school they have visited since Jan 5.
The international conference BY CHERYL ONG From 2000 to last year, 15-year-olds
Students each submitted a pass-
was co-hosted by Singapore’s Coun- had to travel to the ICA building in Laven-
der Road for their NRIC registration. port-sized photograph, application form
cil for Third Age and the AARP, for- THE entire process of registering for an and student pass, and had their thumb-
merly known as the American Associ- identity card took no more than 10 min- This is the first year since then that prints scanned by ICA staff. The $10
ation of Retired Persons. utes for Bedok Green Secondary 3 student registration has been carried out at processing fee was paid with the student Vanishaa Doshi, 15. schools. pass, an ez-link card or credit card.
Yesterday, the Immigration and Check- ICA citizen services centre senior man- Permanent residents are charged $50.
The iPhone is an example of a universal points Authority (ICA) sent a team to the ager Tan Kok Guan said that since second- The ICA said students will receive
design that appeals not just to the young, school, where it processed the NRIC regis- ary schools became single-session, large their new identity cards within three or
but to older consumers as well. ST FILE PHOTO tration for more than 350 students. numbers of 15-year-olds would head for four weeks from the day of registration.

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