Young PAP Timeline

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"Youths generally have different interests, and perhaps, even different aspirations from those of older party members. Regrouping them under a Youth Wing will allow us to cater to their separate interests," said then-First Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1986.

Petir chronicles YP's early days and its milestones.

1986: The Youth Wing of the People's Action Party was formed as Singapore celebrated its 21st birthday as an independent nation. With many of the old leaders retiring from politics, there was a need to groom new leaders.

Branch youth wings were set up across Singapore with experienced party activists as chairmen of each wing. Seven Youth District Committees were formed, each chaired by a MP.

September 1987: The Youth Wing held its first National Convention on Sept 19 and 20 at the Singapore Conference Hall. About 1,000 members took part in workshops where they discussed various issues faced by the country and the PAP. Members also came up with the party's pledge.

1988: Youth Wing members received their membership cards.

1991: Mr George Yeo became chairman of the Youth Wing.

1993: The Youth Wing underwent a major reform. It renamed itself the Young PAP (YP) and raised its membership age from 35 to 40.

The party launched a massive recruitment drive, going to the universities and polytechnics to recruit new members. It also got a new logo and set up four sub-committees - Policy Studies, HQ Branch, International Relations and Public Relations.

1995: The YP was the first political group in Asia to set up a website to create a credible online platform for political discussion.

2000: Mr Lim Swee Say took over as chairman from Mr George Yeo.

2004: Dr Vivian Balakrishnan succeeded Mr Lim Swee Say as chairman of YP.

July 2004: A YP School was started for members to learn the party's philosophy and to train members.

2006: YP Women was set up as a dedicated group to organise activities tailored to young women.

2008: The YP set up its Facebook page on the popular social media platform to connect with the growing number of young Singaporeans using social media.

2008: Mr Teo Ser Luck took over from Dr Vivian Balakrishnan as chairman.

2009: The YP's Executive Committee was restructured to mirror representation by electoral boundaries.

April 2009: The Live! e-newsletter was launched as the YP strived to widen its outreach to the public.

2010: Recruitment crossed the 1,000 new members-a-year mark as the YP launched a YP Network initiative to enhance recruitment of members.

2010: As part of its International Relations outreach, the YP had its first overseas visit to Indonesia. Over the years, they have also visited Cambodia, China, Malaysia and the United States.

2011: For the first time since its formation 25 years ago, YP members got to vote on who should sit on its Executive Committee.

2013: Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Social and Family Development, took over the chair from Mr Teo Ser Luck.

"We should never use material rewards to attract new members. That will be attracting the wrong kind of members. But we can get them to understand that if they do not actively support and improve on the system, it must collapse through mental fatigue or corrosion. In other words, give them a mission and a sense of purpose. We can find a mechanism to give them access to the political leadership and influence over national policies."

Mr Goh Chok Tong, the then-First Deputy Prime Minister, speaking in 1986 of a Youth Wing within the Party.

"The idea is to let them (young Singaporeans) have a better feel of the political issues at stake, to know what it really means to govern a country. If the PAP is going to represent the population of Singapore, not just a part of it but all of it, then we must have a reasonable number of the PAP membership who are young. We have to bring them in, identify with them and represent them.

"The PAP now has to appeal to a group of people who grew up in a Singapore vastly different from the one which the founding PAP had to deal with. If we do nothing, the centre of gravity would shift to the older people."

Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the first chairman of the Young PAP, in a speech in 1986. Mr Lee was chairman from 1986 to 1991.

"The Young PAP exists as a supplement to the main party and our job is to help the party remain the mainstream party of Singapore in the next lap.

"For the next one or two general elections, the Young PAP will not be very critical to the party. But it will become very important in the next century, because by that time, the party must become fully rejuvenated. A new generation must be in place to shoulder the burden of responsibility."

Mr George Yeo said in April 1993. He was chairman from 1991 to 2000.

"As young people, you must keep looking up yet keep touching down, because we are not running an economic race, we are not building an economic society - it is just a means to an end, which is to build a fair and just society where all Singaporeans can benefit. We must not allow the fire to go out because we are not in politics for ourselves. We are accountable to the masses."

Mr Lim Swee Say said in a Petir interview in 2004. He was chairman from 2000 to 2004.

"When I first met him (Mr Lim Swee Say) seven years ago, I was an 'angry young man' with a mouth that was too big. I had lots of things to argue about. I had the privilege of meeting with comrade Swee Say and he showed me, without arguments and debate, but in his unassuming, humble and quiet way, how to mobilise people for the common cause. Do not make noise just for the sake of making noise; do not oppose for the sake of opposition. When you join the YP, you will be called on to solve real problems, to serve real people."

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan in a 2004 speech upon his appointment as chairman. He helmed YP from 2004 to 2008.

"We must re-invent ourselves if we're to cater to people's needs. If it's unwilling to change or unwilling to experiment with new things, then the value of the YP will diminish.

"My Exco members can only become an Exco member if they're serving at MPS. If they're not, then we have to think twice about involving them in the Exco."

Mr Teo Ser Luck in an interview with Petir in 2011. He was chairman from 2008 to 2013.

"We need to talk more about our values, have more conversations on what we believe in, so members can internalise them and demonstrate these values through their actions. Things around us can change but what we stand for and why we are here, will never change."

Mr Chan Chun Sing, who is the current chairman, in an interview with Petir in 2013.

This article was first published in the November 2014 issue of Petir Magazine.

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