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Apa Itu Activist?

On 20 September 2014 Disabled People’s Association (DPA) attended a forum on Civil Society, Action and Advocacy held at the National University of Singapore. ‘Apa Itu Activist?’: A Forum on Civil Society Action & Advocacy’ was jointly organised by Kokila Annamalai, Izyanti Asa’ari, Kirsten Han, Corinna Lim, Jolene Tan,  Jolovan Wham and Yale-NUS International Relations and Political Association (YIRPA). 

There were local and international speakers from diverse backgrounds, sectors and professions addressed  varied topics ranging from how to engage with policy makers to effect change in your community, how to connect with the public using social media to discussing recent advocacy activism stories in Singapore and in other Asian countries. 

Attendees were truly representative of Singapore with students, civil servants, members and staff of voluntary welfare organisations members, journalists, bloggers, academics and lawyers participating in the lively and engaging discussions. 

Overall DPA was happy to be part of this forum and is glad to see that advocacy is a growing area of interest in Singapore. It was especially significant to hear the speakers calling on the public to get more engaged in policies and initiatives that they were interested in, rather than expecting the Government alone to anticipate the needs of the people. DPA has always stressed that persons with disabilities and those interested in disability issues should be actively involved in giving feedback on policies or initiatives that affect them. It is only when persons with disabilities speak up for themselves and get involved in the policy consultation and formation process that any Government scheme that seeks to better their situation will have a chance of being truly effective. Collaboration and consultation with civil society is good way to give policies the best chance of making a real and lasting impact. 

DPA congratulates the organisers of the ‘Apa Itu Activist’ forum for getting the balance of speakers just right and for a job well done. DPA hopes that the organisers make this forum an annual event so that advocacy activists have a place to discuss and share experiences so that we can all work together to help Singapore realise its dream of being a more inclusive society. 

For more information on the event please visit AWARE’s website


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