What S'pore needs - an engaged population

The growth of Singapore for the last 50 years has been continuous and progressive, as has the transition of power from first generation leaders to the next 4G one.

Our growth has always been evolutionary, never unsteady and if one knows where to look, strategies for up to half a century ahead are there for perusal (Where is the fresh vision from 4G leaders; Nov 19).

The leadership can, of course, come up with the same old platitudes and homilies to exhort Singaporeans to march towards greater creativity and equality through diversity or artificial intelligence, to achieve better growth through innovative or inventive entrepreneurship, and even paint castles in the sky for a utopian avant garde Singaporean society to emerge under its new vision and management.

But we do not live in cloud cuckoo land and it is not through lack of imagination that a new vision has not been proposed.

The realist knows that highfalutin imaginary scenarios for Singapore will not gain traction and the best thing for us is not to build hopes on fantastical notions.

Rather, it is to keep working assiduously within the present prevailing local and international climate to make Singapore relevant now and for the future.

The 4G leaders do not have a monopoly of ideas. We triumph when all good citizens pool their collective wisdom through contributions to the national cause.

An engaged and participatory population is more likely to make any new vision for the country work.

All it takes for Singapore to fail in the immediate future is for good Singaporeans to do nothing, any new vision notwithstanding.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2018, with the headline 'What S'pore needs - an engaged population'. Print Edition | Subscribe