Chia Shih Yeung Alwyn（谢世荣）
The duo challenges of attracting youth members as well as addressing the issue of succession planning for clan associations in Singapore has not escaped the attention of many clan leaders in these associations. In February 2016, the New Paper (one of the leading English newspapers in Singapore) reported that there is a dearth of younger members in clan associations in Singapore and in more than 200 of such associations, only 20% have a youth group.
Our association is no different. Most of our members are in their 60s to 80s. We are in danger of being extinct in the decades to come should we be unable to attract younger and new members. To address this challenge head on, the leadership of the association has been making concerted efforts to attract young blood, especially over the last few years. Importantly, the efforts have not gone to waste and headway has been made in this respect as the association had managed to attract over 20 young members to join the association. A few of them had even been voted into the association’s Management Committee.
In the first quarter of 2017, our association made a momentous decision to set up a Youth Wing to take the association forward and to secure its future. A Management Committee, comprising six youth members below the age of 60, was set up. After extensive deliberations, the committee had set out its mission, i.e. to promote traditional Hakka culture, recruit and immerse young members in learning and sharing so as to develop a new generation of leaders that will inherit and uphold the traditional values of the association.
In line with this mission, the Youth Wing had crafted an action plan to invigorate the association. Amongst the plans put forward include:
• recruiting more young eligible members and other like-minded individuals whom may not belong to the Hakka dialect group or have a ‘谢’ Chinese surname to broaden the association’s Youth Wing membership base
• outreaching to existing members to foster a closer bond with them
• network with more established clan associations with a youth wing to learn their best practices and to implement it in our association
• set up an association’s website to ensure an online presence for the association
• organise projects to serve the community at large
• designing and printing of a Youth Wing t-shirt to foster a common identity
As we celebrate our 60th anniversary this year, let us not forget the contributions of all our past and present members, especially those who have served the association for many years. Let us also look forward to a brighter future as we strive to built up the youth membership base of our association so that we could sustain ourselves as a close knitted community for all our existing clan members and more significantly, for all our future generations.