Singapore is one of few countries which can make long-term plans, anticipating needs and identifying opportunities and projecting both into the distant future. By drawing attention to this distinctive feature of nationhood and governance, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a pertinent point in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday. This is that, even as everyday challenges and concerns preoccupy citizens and leaders, Singaporeans must be able to imagine themselves well into the future. Of course, issues of war and peace, disruption and continuity, and technology and cultural resilience will mediate actual outcomes, but plans there must be, as well as the will to make them happen.
In that spirit, Mr Lee's speech addressed a range of areas in which the people and the Government must work together to improve lives on the ground today and lay the groundwork for a tenable future. The cost of living, education, healthcare, economic transformation and the need to manage a difficult external environment deftly all impinge on the day-to-day lives of Singaporeans.