Every morning as I flip through the newspapers, I feel heartened by what I read. (No, I’m not morbid.) Disasters and bigger world news are often dismissed quickly as we get on with our busy lives.
And in the midst we forget to be thankful…
1. To be in a city of abundant opportunities
People elsewhere have to grapple with the lack of jobs; the old retire as early as 53 to give way to new blood only to be left with insufficient pension funds to tide through their remaining years. The young even have to defer graduation to maximise employment chances.
Over here, we are blessed with “enormous opportunities the previous generation did not have”. We have resources, a robust economy where jobs are created for us and a society that encourages us to do well.
Our universities are in high ranks, with NUS coming in top and NTU fourth in the Asian University Rankings. Programmes such as SkillsFuture are also in place for ITE and poly graduates to learn, earn and work. Everyone is given the opportunity to excel regardless of creed and colour.
2. To have a government that is reaching out to us
Surely, there is propaganda – good propaganda.
Just how often do you see a Prime Minister holding a selfie stick, or appear in a commercial?
“More and more people are spending time firstly on their mobile devices, secondly on the messaging type platforms like… Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, even Snapchat, and not so much time on the formal news sites. So, they will not go to BBC but they expect to see BBC turn up on their Facebook feed… or whatever it is, and so, I want to be there too. And it does not meet all my needs because sometimes you need to make a speech and it is very difficult to have a one hour speech in a Facebook post. But there are people who will be on the Facebook who will not often be reading speeches and this is one way to reach them.” – PM Lee on social media.
3. To enjoy liberty
“You do aspire to a liberty of being able to walk the streets freely, particularly if you’re a woman or a child, at any time of the night; you aspire to the liberty of living in a city that is not defined by its most disorderly elements; you aspire to the liberty of having the opportunity for an education and a job, regardless of your race or social background; and you aspire to a liberty of practising your religion without fear of bigotry or discrimination.”
This is one of the choice quotes by DPM Tharman at the 45th St. Gallen Symposium.
4. To be in a safer spot
Note the use of comparative. I can’t proclaim that we are entirely safe, but we can rest assured that we are SAFER.
Learning our lesson from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, authorities stepped up precautionary measures against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). PM Lee also visited Tan Tock Seng Hospital himself to ensure that a preparedness plan is in place, also noting that MERS can and will come to Singapore.
(MERS situation in South Korea; our wedding photos shall not look like this.)
Terrorism has also kept us on our toes. A helpline was launched to fight the threat of self-radicalisation in Singapore.
5. To experience the outpouring national spirit and support
The National Anthem sang at the SEA Games 2015 Opening Ceremony raised goosebumps. How everyone continued singing when the sound system went mute at the women’s freestyle relay victory ceremony further amplified our national spirit.
There are imperfections but be reminded that what we have enjoyed thus far did not come entirely be chance. We need to safeguard this nation together, by engaging in earnest and intelligent discourse especially during this social media age.