Forum: Strong leaders who give us confidence are what we need in a crisis

Singapore University of Technology and Design professor Lim Sun Sun raised a good point in her commentary that we must now build a sense of normalcy without falling prey to complacency (Five lessons from fighting Covid-19, March 19).

As commendations pour in on how well Singapore has done to handle the Covid-19 pandemic, we should not rest on our laurels. Instead, we should continue to reflect on what we have done well and what can be improved to overcome this multi-dimensional crisis, both as individuals and as a country.

One aspect of Prof Lim's commentary resonated with me in particular - leadership.

We need strong leadership that addresses people's fears and gives them confidence in a crisis. Not leaders who rouse emotions and eloquently pay lip service, but those who inspire, connect and challenge us to be better versions of ourselves.

Through this crisis, I see our leaders caring about the welfare of Singaporeans and the future of Singapore. Prof Lim cited the examples of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.

Both PM Lee, with a style that exudes calmness, and Mr Chan, with a frank and direct style, show traits that we want to see and need to have. They help calm us in times of fear and they nudge us if we need to do better.

No sugar-coating of messages, but communicating directly and honestly to connect with the people as it should be. While communication styles may differ and will certainly be required for different audiences and occasions, their intent is similar.

Ultimately, the quality of our leaders and their ability to govern will stand us in good stead - not just in overcoming this crisis but also in giving us the confidence to come out even stronger.

Aaron Kok Jun Hsien