Lack of entrepreneurial ethos holding Singapore back

Mr Lee Teck Chuan, in surfacing an issue that has been Singapore's failing for some time, laments the absence of venture among citizens ("Regain sense of venture to propel us forward"; June 22).

What he says is true, but the question is, how can we alter our perceptions of time and success to create, improvise, experiment and innovate; to take risks; to see something bright while stumbling in the dark?

Some of the world's foremost creative icons created their best work in the most unexpected ways, and this was possible because they were ready to go into unexplored territory.

It is this lack of an entrepreneurial ethos that has prevented us from boasting of our own home-grown inventors, innovators, world-beating athletes and world-renowned artists, musicians or singers.

Hence, the overemphasis on career-safe jobs and materialistic pursuits.

Our greatest challenge is to create a strong, sustainable and innovative entrepreneurial culture.

A paradigm shift towards greater risk taking is, therefore, needed. We need to tolerate or even celebrate failure, and support alternative avenues of success.

The school system should be the genesis for such a shift. The pedagogical approach should encourage students to make decisions and accept mistakes as part of the learning process.

Our schools can achieve this by integrating programmes and activities that are designed to bring out the entrepreneurial spirit in students into the curriculum .

It is obvious that in our next phase of nation building, there is a pressing need for the creation of a more vibrant private sector.

While start-ups are growing internationally with greater entrepreneurial vigour than before, more needs to be done before we can augment our intellectual capital and create more of our own inventors and innovations.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)