Where is the fresh vision from 4G leaders?

Editor-at-Large Han Fook Kwang concluded his recent commentary by asking if what worked for Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong's generation of leaders - keeping Singapore alive after founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew - was no longer an issue, then what can the fourth-generation leaders offer that will inspire and excite the people? (Will keeping Singapore going be a tall order for 4G leaders?; Nov 11).

The obvious answer is not business as usual.

Unfortunately, going by the various pronouncements of the respective prospective aspirants for the next prime minister, Singaporeans have yet to hear a distinctly clear and refreshing articulation of a new vision for the rest of 21st-century Singapore.

What Singaporeans have been hearing sounds like the same old song of the Lee Kuan Yew era, such as daring to say hard things to the people, improving productivity and working hard to succeed, just to name a few.

As concerned citizens we have to ask, "Why no fresh vision?"

In a world mired in uncertainty, Singapore is one of the few places with a reputation for stability and predictability, which is both a plus and a minus. Stability and predictability are characteristics of a homeostatic environment, where complacency is gradual but the inevitable pervasive mood if there is no dynamic input from within or outside the system.

Unless we hear something that can capture our excitement and imagination as a vision worth giving our commitment to achieve, it is unlikely that we will escape the entropy that is a universal law of decay.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2018, with the headline 'Where is the fresh vision from 4G leaders?'. Print Edition | Subscribe