Overheard from Weiwen Loh
So glad to see so many of my friends and relatives who are working or studying overseas changing their profile pic to SG flag or posting pictures of how they celebrate Singapore’s national day in whichever country they are in. You only realise how wonderful Singapore is when you go out and discover what the world is like.
Of course, Singapore is not perfect. We have problems, like how every other country has their own problems. There are elderly who need more assistance, people who are unable to afford a flat, people who feel that they are unable to get jobs, alarmingly low and decreasing birth rate, etc. Yet, we managed to thrive and progress, and have become one of the most beautiful and economically vibrant cities in the world.
There are a few key factors, as highlighted by PM Lee Hsien Loong, and as previously emphasised by MM Lee Kuan Yew, repeated in documentaries and films about Singapore. I list what I think are the more important factors:
1. Hard work.
Ask yourselves, do your parents work hard at their jobs?
Did your grand parents slog their hearts out when they first came to Singapore?
I would be very surprised if the answer is no.
Singaporeans need to learn that while they have every right to complain about what is wrong with the government, they also have the obligation to work hard to be able to succeed in life.
There is no sugar-coating this. The government can only provide the training, the education, the tools and even provide the jobs, but in order to succeed in Singapore, you need to put in hard work.
When faced with the possibility of external and internal threats, when the very livelihood and existence of Singapore was at stack back in 1965, Singaporeans were so very united.
They threw their support behind government policies, whether or not they understood it, because they believed that their government was doing what they thought was the best for them.
People cared about their neighbours and helped each other. They joined grassroots not for any benefits, but to really contribute to their neighbourhood.
Now, Singaporeans are divided over conflicts in the middle east, divided over sports awards, divided over so many things.
Yes, there is a need to voice out dissatisfaction with flawed policies, but there is also a need to stay united and support whatever policy is beneficial for the nation, even if it is at your own cost.
3. Leaders with foresight.
I think we all know what without certain visionary leaders, Singapore wouldn’t be what it is today. The “old guard” PAP did what it thought was the best for the nation, planned far ahead, invested in the right things at the right time, developed our infrastructure and ensured that basic needs like housing, food and jobs were available.
So why am I worried for the future of Singapore?
Do you think that the current generation of Singaporeans still have the capacity to work hard, or are they expecting handouts and safety nets to be provided by the government, while they spend hours complaining on Facebook?
Do you see more Singaporeans helping out at grassroots events, or community centres, or donating blood, or helping out at NGOs or charities? Or do we see a very passive and self-absorbed generation, who couldn’t care less if a pregnant person needs a seat on the MRT? People who don’t even know the names of their neighbours?
And finally, and possibly the most disturbing, do we have the same calibre of visionary leadership that Singapore had in its early years?
Perhaps it is just a worldwide trend, for leaders to try and be more “people friendly”, to allow more dissenting views to be louder, and to give in to demands if certain people shout loud enough.
I really do not know. But one thing I do know.
I will not stand by and do nothing while some people want to tear down what my parents, the older generation of Singaporeans, and our leaders have worked so hard to build up.
There will always be challenges, and each generation of leaders and Singaporeans face different challenges, due to a changing world. But no matter what changes, I believe that with hard work, strong unity and with good visionary leaders, Singapore will be able to face those challenges and tackle them head on. We may get some hits and bruises and may even get knocked down for a bit, but I really believe we can see Singapore as an even better place to live in, 10 years, 30 years, even 50 years from today.
Happy birthday Singapore.
images from fb -> Lee Hsien Loong