Young S'poreans must take first step in nation building

President Halimah Yacob, in her inaugural address in Parliament, has reminded us of how young Singaporeans are important assets to the ongoing process of nation building (4G leaders must fire up young to build S'pore's future, says President; May 8).

I receive this statement with great enthusiasm.

Indeed, the energy, passion and spirit of Singaporean youth provide the raw materials from which the nation's future derives its inspiration and strength.

However, a better future is not inscribed in words, nor is it morphed into form by dreams and aspirations alone. It requires hard work and sacrifice.

It behoves us, as young Singaporeans, to recognise our immediate tasks, such as education and work, and put our talents and abilities to good use.

This does not mean that young people need to do things with an ostentatious national or public character. It simply requires us to give our best in everything we do.

We must also keep an eye on others and be mindful of our individual actions.

It is also important, as young people, to remind ourselves that Singapore was not created in an environment full of favourable conditions. Instead, our pioneers battled against all odds to bring peace and prosperity to this nation.

Therefore, we should not take our comfortable lives for granted as, in moments of complacency, danger lurks behind the scene.

A nation's prosperity is a hard-earned reward reserved for the industrious. Young Singaporeans need to break the inertia of comfort and enjoyment, and work diligently towards a better future.

As Madam Halimah said in her address to Parliament, Singapore is not yet done with nation building.

Young Singaporeans should not wait for that to happen or for others to prompt us into action.

Instead, we need to make the first move and turn our dreams and hopes into reality.

Michael Zhou Xizhuang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2018, with the headline 'Young S'poreans must take first step in nation building'. Print Edition | Subscribe