Next leader must have wherewithal to tackle difficult challenges

The letters by Dr Thomas Lee Hock Seng and Mr Daniel Ng Peng Keat (Talking about leadership easier than executing it; Jan 13, and More than one way to test next PM's mettle; Jan 11) reflect what is on the minds of many Singaporeans.

I am a pioneer citizen and having experienced the tumultuous years of racial riots, the Indonesian Konfrontasi, Singapore's "expulsion" from Malaya and many other events that tested our pioneer leaders, I am certainly among those who fear having a future leader who lacks the wherewithal to take on difficult challenges.

In the real world, in both local politics and geopolitics, it is difficult for one to be fully trained and be ready for all eventualities.

Leadership guru Robert K. Greenleaf said a servant-leader is "servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first".

I hope that Singapore will have a future PM who not only ensures economic success and prosperity, but also has a heart for the less privileged in society and its ageing pioneer citizens.

Tan Teck Huat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2018, with the headline 'Next leader must have wherewithal to tackle difficult challenges'. Print Edition | Subscribe