As a Singaporean working closely with foreigners, I’m starting to see Singapore from an outsider’s perspective and understanding why our little red dot appeals to them so much.
To them, especially to our counterparts across the causeway, it’s amazing how much we’ve grown economically and established ourselves as a cosmopolitan world capital while making sure we preserve our Singaporean identity.
However, as one of my friends once told me, it’s not enough for us to be proud of where we are, but also to take a look back at how we got there.
In other words, we shouldn’t just celebrate what we have become (prosperous, dynamic, safe) but also reflect on the parts each of us has played to get to such positive outcomes.
In that sense, much of what we have now is thanks to the government’s no-nonsense approach to social development and economic growth.
Most importantly, our leaders’ perseverance when all odds were not in their favour allowed us all to enjoy the things we take for granted today.
For better or for worse, those are the foundations our nation was built on.
That’s why I get quite disappointed when I increasingly hear people complaining and demanding things instead of following the example of our ancestors and taking charge to resolve problems and push things forward.
Approximately this time last year, PM Lee called out for citizens’ support to have an ongoing national conversation with our Singapore leaders to develop broad perspectives that can help us build a Singapore we all want to be a part of.
In PM Lee’s own words: “Individual achievement must be tempered with a mutual obligation… The Government will do more, but it cannot do everything. Every Singaporean must play his part in creating an inclusive Singapore.”
This is basically the context in which Our SG Conversation was born. Except the platform progressively became a place for Singaporeans to vent, complain, and ask for things from the government instead of contributing ideas, initiatives, or manpower.
The mentality is such that it’s always about what the government can do for people, and never about what people can do for themselves or for others.
Want opportunities from Singapore’s vibrant economy? Improve your skills. Want strong families? Make time for one. Want a society with values? Start practising them.
The basics are already there for the taking – housing grants, opportunity funds, healthcare and parenthood support, etc. – but in order to reach meaningful and durable results we all need to start giving back!
So how about we start acting like the Singaporean we claim to be?