The People's Association was set up to promote social cohesion and racial harmony in Singapore in 1960. With an extensive grassroots network, the People's Association is an essential component in nation-building.
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I actually think the People’s Association is one of the best initiatives meted out by the government. I believe it has served its purpose fairly – providing social cohesion and bonding community members based on a common interest. Of course, it helps in inter-racial bonding too.
An example of such would be interest groups – which anyone is welcomed to join based on a common hobby. Certain hobbies might be slightly harder for some to find fellow buddies who share their passion, and if such interest groups exist, not only does it provide a platform for them to showcase their talent, but also find others who share the passion. I believe that there might be a slight flaw – amateurs who wish to join interest groups but might feel too inferior because of their lack of experience as compared to the more ‘experienced’ ones already in the interest group, and this might just prevent them from developing their potential.
Also, PA provides affordable community lessons! It is affordable, but definitely not the cheapest around. Nevertheless, you get to learn new things at a convenient location! Nevertheless, there is a fixed schedule for classes so be sure to book in advance!
After i finished army, there was a period of half a year of free time before i start university, and i thought it would be a good idea to sign up for a Japanese language course at PA. The course fees are heavily subsidized by the government and the trainers are professionally chosen!
I enjoyed my time at the Japanese course, and the Community Center always has the right facilities and environment for these courses. Other than courses, there are badminton halls and different sports halls for people to book.
The staff is also very friendly and quick to respond when seeking them for help! A good place for self help courses and for people to hangout after a sports session,
I once thought that the PA was just a branch of the PAP, and that their goals and missions were synchronized, just one whole big machinery generating votes for the PAP in the coming elections. You'd be surprised, quite a number of people still think this way.
However, as a veteran grassroots leader for 3 years now, I found that life in the PA is not what it used to be. Sure, we do have a PAP grassroots advisor, but hes only limited to gracing our functions and having tea sessions with the whole bunch of us. The main stuff that we're involved in, such as community outreach, event management are run independently on our own, only inviting him to be our Guest of Honour.
Life is meaningful and fulfilling. Over 3 years, I've given a chance to organise large scale events (where part of the funding is provided by PA), house visits, festivals, Meet the People's Sessions and a whole host of other activities. We were also given opportunities to attend extra courses to upgrade our skills, especially in the communications and relationship management interface. Though quite a large portion of time is invested and the material returns are minuscule, the immaterial returns are priceless. Nothing is better seeing a smile on the face of an elderly lady or an orphan when you bring hope to him/her.
My children had attended many courses organised by PA. Certain courses were very cheap but certain holiday programmes were expensive. I felt that those expensive courses were more value for money because most of those were actually external schools either invited by PA to conduct the course or they asked for venue from PA to conduct their courses.
My children took the line skating course during one of their previous holidays at one of the community clubs. The instructors were from a famous skating school and they were very professional and during the few lessons, my children were able to pick up the basics of line skating.
My son also attended a drawing class before in another CC. This class was a lot cheaper and that was because the instructor was a free lance teacher and I felt that it was a waste of my time to bring my son for the lessons. The teacher was not able to make my son interested in drawing.
I am a certified PA coach myself, and fully respect the mission of PA. It is a admirable goal but I do feel that it performance is only average.
The PA coach screening process was very lax. Just about anyone can be a PA coach if you have the paper qualifications and do not make any ridiculous answers during the interview.
The events organized by PA often lack the X-factor. The attendees mainly came for goodie bags and disappeared halfway through the event. The staff also lack passion and efficiency. Its sad to see that many of them are in this state because they are so bogged down by paperwork and red tape.
Still, given the fact that almost all of PA coaches are volunteers and do not work for PA, I suppose that what they have accomplished so far is quite respectable.
People's Association has been here since 1960 to foster racial harmoney and social cohesion. I believe till date they have been doing a good job, especially by organising events and competitions to let residents bond with each other.
I always see banners around stating festival celebrations and residents' block parties. Especially nowadays Singaporeans are lacking in the Kampong spirit, these are good ways to bring it back!
Also, People's association organizes courses in the Community clubs/ centres and the fees are usually lower than other places. Like their yoga classes, costs about $60 for 12 sessions and their trainers are cerified professionals. Which means even though you're paying a lower price and doesn't mean you are getting a lower standard.
They have a website to book the facilities and to search for the courses and events you are interested in.
Moreover they have this membership card (PAssion card) which entitles you to movie & sistic ticket discounts. If you sign up now, you'll even get a free skechers bag worth $80.