Minister Chan Chun Sing’s common Singaporean future

I refer to the 23 Nov 2014 Straits Times report “Base S’pore identity on common future: Minister”.

If Minister Chan Chun Sing will not base the Singaporean identity on the past due to difficulty of defining a shared past, can he then define what that supposed “common future” should be that our Singaporean identity will be based on?

Will our common future be $10 XO source chai tau kway or $1.50 hawker centre chai tau kway? The future will be bleak if Singaporeans are forced to keep up with $10 XO source chai tau kway cost of living. Can Singaporeans revert to $1.50 cheap and delicious hawker centre chai tau kway cost of living?

Or will it be kuih lapis social assistance (Straits Times, Tackling poverty the ‘kuih lapis’ way, 15 Nov 2013)? How many layers of kuih lapis must Singaporeans peel before reaching the poverty line? Or peel all 18 layers also won’t see the poverty line?

Or will it be asking less of what the Government can do for us, and more of what we can do for ourselves” (Straits Times, ‘Don’t throw stones… offer better ideas’, 3 Jul 2011)? So in future, Singaporeans have to fry our own chai tau kway even though we have already paid $10 to our XO source chai tau kway ministers?

Or will it be government discussing issues more and people understanding it is not always possible to have what we want (Straits Times, Lesson in love for country during tough times, 15 Apr 2011)? So in future, government say kee chiu, we kee chiu?

The common future exemplified by Minister Chan looks bleak.

Straits Times, Base S’pore identity on common future: Minister, 23 Nov 2014

Identity is not just about the past but our “common future”, Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing told a youth forum yesterday.

He said a Singaporean identity is difficult to define based on a shared past as many in the population have different roots, grew up in different environments and speak different languages.

Instead, the Singaporean identity should be based on a common future which the Republic can move towards with a shared perspective.

“While we look at the past to find a source of strength for our values, we must not let our past be a source of division,” he said.

“Instead, we should let the future be a unifying force for us.”

Mr Chan was addressing 300 local and foreign tertiary students at the Institute of Technical Education College East on embracing diversity.

The event was organised by the National Youth Achievement Award Gold Award Holders’ Alumni.

Some students raised concerns about competition from foreigners in the job market, while others asked about their assimilation into society.

Mr Chan explained that there is a need for foreign transient workers for jobs which cannot be filled by Singaporeans as well as for those in new industries where there is still a lack of local talent.

But he said the Government has tightened the labour demand in certain sectors to ensure that companies do not become reliant on “quantitative labour inputs but qualitative labour inputs”.

“Over time, we hope to progressively replace the dependence on foreign transient workers (in the newer industries) with our local people,” he said.

Mr Chan also said it is a way of life for cities to have populations consisting of people from many different races as they compete for the best talent.

But instead of viewing it negatively, he urged Singaporeans to embrace the opportunity to learn from foreigners.

He added: “They can share different perspectives and provide new ideas. The interplay of those ideas with our ideas will help Singapore stand out as a global city.”


One Response to “Minister Chan Chun Sing’s common Singaporean future”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    This paper general is trying very hard to be a philosopher a la George Yeo. The danger is that his superficial world view will be thrust down your throats if he becomes the PM as touted. Gone are the days of futurologists like Hermann Kahn. Remember him? He was a welcome guest in this little red dot. Guess he could not predict his own premature demise. Like snake oil salesmen, they give you the future when the present and the past stinks.

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