Q. How will we take the narrative forward?

Singapore came to be where it is now in the world because of a revolutionary leader, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, with vast foresight for the country and his team of devoted leaders. However, his recent passing has left the nation in profound grief. Nevertheless, his legacy remains for future generations as guidance and advice. Now the question remains: How will we, the future generation with competency and passion, take the narrative forward to bring Singapore possibly higher than where we are now?

A good country, in Simon Anholt’s establishment, is a country that seem to contribute something to the world in which we live, making the world safer or better or richer or fairer. It is a country which simply gives more to humanity than any other country. The categories for evaluation would be collaboration, communication and globalisation. The country would have to be in strong reliable partnerships with other countries. There is a need to telescope rather than microscope, to start thinking outwards rather than inwards and to consider the global problems. Singapore is ranked 27th on the Good Country Index. Singapore have been continuously working harmoniously with the global audience to input any help it can. Countries like Japan, Indonesia and the USA have strong bilateral relations that proved to be effective. Communication follows collaboration. Agreement and affinity is imperative for effective communication. Through widening the scope of collaboration and communication, globalisation is the aftermath. These categories are not on the basis of any field; the context is set to be contributions.

Simon briefly pointed out the difference between “good, goodder, gooddest” and “good, better, best”. The positive response from the tight symbiosis of the government and its people is evident enough to conclude that Singapore is capable of doing better towards the notion of a “gooder” and even “goodest” country. I agree to a large extent with Simon Anholt’s assessment. Going by the definition of good, a good country is a virtuous country. The only criteria would be how much goodness the country has done. Comparison of all the countries in the world with a systemized ranking system of contribution for humanity is quite requisite.

I would place Singapore to be in the top 50 of the Good Country Index. Albeit Singapore’s apparent input into the aid and growth of other countries, predominantly the ASEAN countries, it is still adept to do more, notably outside of ASEAN. Countries like Ireland and Finland contributed the submarine innovation that has tremendously benefitted the world in terms of marine life exploration and addition to navy strength, and the phenomenon of Nokia before the dawn of Blackberry and Apple craze. Indeed, for a small country like Singapore, there are limitations to how far the potential boundary can be stretched.

Limitations and constraints are the determinants of whether Singapore can make progress towards a “good” country. For a small country like Singapore, resources, particularly land, are very much finite. The lone asset Singapore can depend on is manpower. The current population in Singapore is 5 million. Even then, Singapore needs quality manpower. Manpower rich with creativity, originality and ingenuity. The problem of ageing population is a predicament for the productivity growth. As much as wisdom and experience is important, recent and fresh input is essential. Additionally, Singapore needs to tap on the aptitude and capability of today’s youth. Cultivating innovation and growing creativity should be supplemented into Singapore’s education.

Consonant to Simon’s vision, Singapore needs to start thinking out of the box. Development is imperative and Singapore should start laying the foundation of plans and scheme the vision. Adjusting the system to include more activities that kick-start the imaginative minds of youths and initiating new programmes that instigate youths to comprehend their capacity to achieve more should be the drive towards executing the proposition.


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