What good is a leisure island if we have no time to enjoy it?

What good is a leisure island if we have no time to enjoy it? 


YouthInk writers share their thoughts on the URA Master Plan unveiled recently




Too busy for leisure


THE proposed plan to turn the nation into a ‘leisure island’ is a laudable effort by the Government to encourage Singaporeans to spend more time with their family.


However, its aims seem unrealistic in work-obsessed Singapore.


Consider an average family of two parents and two children: The rising costs of living make it necessary for both parents to work and family time is at a premium.


While the five-day work week has gone some way to create more family time, 49per cent of Singaporeans still feel that their work hours are too long, according to a 2006 AC Nielsen survey.


Children are similarly faced with stressful and long school timetables – and this is before factoring in co-curricular activities and homework. Even during the holidays, they have to go back to school for extra lessons.


Leisure has a decreasing place in the lives of an average Singaporean family. What is the use of new leisure facilities if people are too busy to enjoy them?


Instead of simply adding to infrastructure, the Government should look into practical ways to ease its citizens’ costs and burdens of living so that the ‘leisure island’ can be enjoyed by its citizens and not simply by tourists.


Practical gestures, such as subsidies on food or public transport, may prove more welcome to the masses than a new park.



Ng Yi Xun, 19, is a third-year student at the Millennia Institute








Cycle in the city


GIVEN the scale and high cost of implementing the Urban Redevelopment Authority Master Plan, it should go beyond just providing more leisure options.


For example, rather than limiting cycling lanes to the parks, why not extend them into the city? This will provide a more comprehensive land-usage plan and allow more destinations to be accessible by bicycle.


Currently, such cycling lanes do not exist and cyclists have to either travel on pedestrian paths or brave heavy traffic on the roads, often at great personal risk.


Cities such as Amsterdam, Paris and London have such lanes in place, which allow cyclists to navigate the roads safely and also enjoy scenic trips through parks.


The authorities in these cities see cycling as a cheap and practical way to travel around the city. It is also in line with their efforts to reduce traffic congestion in city centres and introduce more eco-friendly modes of transportation.


As we seek to improve our quality of life, perhaps building cycling lanes in select districts here as a trial will be a good start.



Kenny Tan, 22, is a second-year economics student at the Singapore Management University (SMU)








Green step forward


WITH temperatures hitting a scorching 34 deg C two weeks ago, I doubt many would venture outdoors. Health considerations are another concern – an example being the recurring haze.


Nonetheless, credit has to be given to the urban planners for creating more recreational options for citizens. They could have taken the easy way out and just built another mall, reinforcing our nation’s favourite pastime – shopping.


This leisure plan could be part of a larger green movement to promote environmentalism.


Our very own Central Park will counter the urban city sprawl and reduce the nation’s carbon footprint, providing both aesthetic and functional appeal.


More parks will improve air quality, serve as buffers against sweltering temperatures and provide an avenue for people to lead more active and healthier lives.


In the quest for environmental protection, however, global and regional efforts are just as important as individual efforts.


Take the haze, for example. No amount of greenery created here can fully counter its negative effects without regional cooperation.


This is the inconvenient truth many choose not to face.



Chew Zhi Wen, 21, has a place to read law and economics at the National University of Singapore








Go natural


LEISURE parks here need not necessarily have to be man-made.


We can embrace what we already have, Singapore’s surrounding islands – Kusu, St John’s, Sisters and Pulau Ubin.


Getting away from the concrete jungle is one of the most refreshing things one can do.


These islands are full of history and serenity. Singaporeans get the chance to enjoy the boat ride, clean air and, of course, fresh seafood.


The authorities should keep Singaporeans abreast of current developments on some of these islands.


In addition, they could enhance existing attractions on the islands by including hiking and walking trails, or offering ranger services.


These add value to time away from the city and also encourage a healthy lifestyle and an appreciation for Singapore’s history.


Heighten the awareness of these islands to provide Singaporeans with more options to relax and enjoy life away from the fast lane.



Tabitha Mok, 21, is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Western Australia








Something for all


A SUCCESSFUL ‘leisure plan’ should ideally have activities that would appeal to a spectrum of personalities, from the quiet nature lover to the extroverted clubber.


This way, people may think twice about spending too much time chasing material comforts and consider slowing down their pace of living.


A slower pace allows citizens to note and appreciate the intangibles in life and this improves their non-material quality of life.


Happy employees put more effort into work, happier families provide moral support and motivation for tired workers.


A slower pace could also prolong one’s stamina to work and retire later.


Arguably, a higher non-material quality of life could boost economic productivity.


I hope we won’t be so caught up in the rat race to not realise that.



Owen Yeo, 20, has a place to read social sciences at SMU




Source: Straits Times

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s