Forum: What Singapore will need to weather global upheaval

The skyline of Singapore's civic district, on May 16, 2019.
The skyline of Singapore's civic district, on May 16, 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

Events in the region and around the world affect Singapore and, as Associate Professor Peter Borschberg has noted, much of it is beyond our control (Singapore's shifting roles through the centuries, Oct 10).

Global warming, the opening up of the Northern Sea Route, China's Belt and Road Initiative and its claim to most of the South China Sea, the development of overland ports in Malaysia and mega ports in Vietnam and Korea, gargantuan airport hubs in the Middle East and China, and upstart financial centres all around can see Singapore slip into oblivion.

Constant reinvention and finding new niches will help Singapore stay in contention.

Even as billions are invested in the port and airport to enable better efficiencies for handling far bigger vessels and to increase air traffic connectivity, Singapore's core competencies are going beyond conventional financial services and banking.

Efforts are in place to make us a centre for fintech and blockchain technology as companies look beyond traditional methods of doing business.

But all these strategies cannot guarantee that Singapore's role in the world will not be diminished.

Without a strong, astute and stable government with foresight, a resilient population that can rise above racial or religious pettiness to forge ahead in unity and a stable business climate devoid of unrest and street violence, the country would be doomed to fail with little chance of resurgence and with no one to mourn for us.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2019, with the headline 'What Singapore will need to weather global upheaval'. Print Edition | Subscribe