Viva Youth Workers!!!
I had a most interesting epiphany, seated among 25,000 people, celebrating my nation Singapore's 53rd National Day, huddled in an open stadium watching a parade and performance, under a hot blazing sun.
As part of audience participation, the parade hosts encouraged us to pen a personal identity or value to show the world, by completing the sentence "I am ...." on an individual placard provided.
Without much thought, I instinctively wrote, "I am A YOUTH WORKER."
I then looked around to read what others had written on their placards. There were a variety of answers, like "I am HUNGRY", "I am HOPEFUL", "I am FEARLESS", and even a tongue-in-cheek "I am THE NEXT PM."
Why did I write what I did? Is my being inextricably linked to my identity? Or is it vice versa? I'm not too sure if there was another soul among the 25,000 crowd who wrote something similar to mine. That realisation made me kind of proud. Yet sombre too. I guessed that more than half of the 25,000 present were youths. And just one youth worker? Me?
Well, that thought gave me a renewed sense of responsibility. We youth workers have a lot to do. Yet I am hopeful. Whatever that lot, we'll be there. And so at the end of the energetic parade, I made sure I took a picture with one of the enthusiastic young cheerleaders who volunteered countless hours just so that everyone in the audience felt welcome and included.