Be psychologically prepared for rough times ahead

The world is now entering the most serious economic crisis in years ("Govt ready to act if S'pore goes into recession"; Oct 11).

The global financial system has seized up, companies are finding it harder to obtain credit, and economies everywhere are slowing down.

We must be prepared for difficult years ahead.

Our economy will probably contract slightly. We are seeing many job losses, and I expect more retrenchments in the next few months. We must be psychologically prepared.

Our Government's key focus is keeping our people in jobs, helping workers who lose jobs find new ones, and retraining workers with new skills.

But the Government alone cannot solve the problem. Every one of us has a part to play.

Companies should work with unions to find ways to cut costs, and consider downsizing only as a last resort.

Businesses should try hard to keep their core team together and hold on to their critical knowledge and skills. They can also take advantage of the slack period and available schemes to build new and better capabilities.

Such a far-sighted approach will pay off when the upturn comes.

Singapore's longer-term economic strategies and policies are constantly being re-evaluated to adapt to changing challenges and priorities over time. We have capable leaders to ride us through this rough patch.

Together, we can overcome this expected downturn and emerge stronger and meet the future with confidence.

V. Balu