Strengthen national identity to combat inequality

Several industry experts generally concur that the new measures are necessary to put the brakes on escalating private property prices.
Several industry experts generally concur that the new measures are necessary to put the brakes on escalating private property prices.PHOTO: ST FILE

Singaporeans have been raised to be sensitive when it comes to race and religion. This has served the country well in ensuring peace and stability that have made economic success possible.

Perhaps we have become successful too quickly and that has left us with the problem of inequality (Chipping away at inequality, slowly but surely; May 16).

While issues of race and religion dwell less on the material, inequality is a state of economic attainment that invariably divides the haves and have-nots.

As the country prospers, aspirations of those on the higher and lower rungs of society will only diverge.

But we should not let this divide grow deeper, lest it leads to social disharmony or even the kind of populism that has fractured many developed countries.

The key lies in strengthening our national identity - a shared sense of something, material or abstract - that will hold us together.

There must be a perceived sense of fairness. The spoils of economic success must be seen as being shared equitably and meritocracy should still be the means to level up.

Developing a compassionate society is another priority. Our young should learn to treat others with dignity, regardless of their station in life.

Lee Teck Chuan