SINGAPORE - Following a year marked by disruption, having humility, staying hungry and being human are key traits to have to thrive in this new world, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.
He was speaking on Saturday (Jan7) at the St Gallen Symposium 2017 Singapore Forum held at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Shaw Foundation Alumni House.
Mr Wong said being humble means putting effort to learn and develop "deep skills and capabilities", while staying hungry requires Singaporeans to step out of their comfort zones and seize opportunities here and abroad.
But at the heart of it is about maintaining the human touch and connection, noted Mr Wong, who said technology can never replace the human spirit.
The Singapore leg of the symposium, with the theme "the dilemma of disruption", was organised by the National Youth Achievement Award Council, in partnership with the Switzerland-based St Gallen Foundation and NUS. It is an international platform where world leaders and youth engage in dialogue on various issues of the day.
This year's theme was selected following the recent unfolding of unpredictable events such as Brexit and Mr Donald Trump's successful bid for the United States presidency, as well as the rise of companies such as Uber and Grab which have disrupted traditional taxi services.
Mr Wong, who is also Second Minister for Finance, and gave the keynote address, was later joined by three panellists - Mr Warren Fernandez, The Straits Times' editor and editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English, Malay and Tamil Media Group; Dr Tan Chi Chiu, the chairman of the Lien Centre for Social Innovation; and Mr Martin Tan, the executive director of the Institute for Societal Leadership at Singapore Management University.
Mr Fernandez noted the need for established companies and systems such as The Straits Times newsroom, to stay nimble. He also emphasised the importance of teaching the young history to better "understand our future".
Responding to a question from Nanyang Technological University undergraduate Benjamin Cai, 27, on how the Government will handle Singapore's future, Mr Wong said it is impossible to predict what will happen in the long term.
"But we need more preparation, more serious and hard thinking of all the different contingencies and then be ready for any scenario in the future," he said.