The year was 1986. Singapore was gearing up to celebrate its 21st birthday. A new era in the life of the nation had begun; many of the old guard had withdrawn from the front-line following long years of relentless hard work and tremendous sacrifice in building the nation. The torch was in the process of being passed to a younger generation of carefully groomed leaders. A vision for the turn of the century – Vision 1999 – had recently been conceived and put to the nation as a series of lofty goals reflecting the aspirations of many Singaporeans. Despite an economic recession that had begun to set in the year before, the overall picture for the long term augured well, and Vision’99 sounded realistic and within reach.

At the same time, however, some serious thought was needed on the subject of continued rejuvenation. Although the transition period of the 1980’s was proceeding smoothly, would this necessarily be the case in years to come? Would today’s youth in fact turn out to be tomorrow’s leaders? Would they still be able to muster up that fighting spirit and experience that feeling of, as Mr. Lee Kuan Yew put it, ‘fire in the belly’? Indeed, aside from the question of future leadership, would today’s youth even exhibit enough interest to involve themselves with the nation’s well-being? Or would they, in the face of growing affluence and stability, allow themselves to become engulfed in a tidal wave of apathy and let ‘others’ concern themselves with the fate of Singapore?

And what of the future of the Party itself? Would the People’s Action Party, which from its origins as a political party quickly evolved into a fiery grassroots movement capable of stirring the masses, be able to sustain such national support and fervour? Or would it, over time, simply run out of steam and fizzle out, as a result of national disinterest?

Such was the nature of these serious questions among the nation’s leaders, young and old alike. And in grappling with these questions, so crucial to the nation’s very survival let alone its continued prosperity, they conceived the notion of setting up a Youth Wing within the People’s Action Party.

Conceptualisation of the PAP Youth Wing

Objectives and Targets


The First National Convention

Young PAP is born