Speaking at the Community Forum 2013 of the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA), where he was the guest of honour, Shanmugaratnam said that community effort was critical for helping people to achieve success, local media reported.
Set up in 1991, SINDA is a self-help group that addresses educational and socio-economic issues faced by Indians in Singapore.
"For a better society, we need a spirit of empathy and fellowship amongst us as citizens in Singapore," the deputy prime minister, himself of Indian origin, was quoted as saying by Channel News Asia.
"People are motivated to pick themselves up and do well when they feel they are standing on their own feet, and also if they feel there is someone there who is able to be with them during their setbacks and their joys. That's what really motivates people to do well - individually, as families, and sometimes as a whole community," he added.
The Community Forum 2013 is being held to take stock of the progress made in implementing the proposals made in SINDA's 2011 strategic review, that looked at key issues such as the academic under-performance of Indian students as well as the socio-economic issues affecting Indian families here.
Saturday's forum was attended by around 200 leaders from grassroots, religious and sub-ethnic groups.
Ethnic Indians comprise 9.2 percent of Singapore's total population of 5.1 million.
--IANS (Posted on 17-08-2013)