Learning languages vital for future economy

The report released by the Committee on the Future Economy appears to lack one important enabler: the learning of foreign languages.

Singaporeans have, for a long time, been too dependent on English, as well as Chinese, and have neglected to learn the languages of the fast-growing countries in our region.

Languages are needed if we wish to deepen our links with Asia.

Language is one of the most powerful and emotive tools when connecting with the people of other countries.

All things being equal, being able to speak in the other person's native language will naturally generate more closeness, trust and goodwill.

This, in turn, will put us ahead of others in riding the mega trends in Asia, especially in providing value-creating services and in areas where Singapore has strong competencies.

Tony Loke Yue Chong