Reflection Essay Question 1:
How can Singapore remain relevant to the world and continue its push for sustainable development in the next 50 years in an increasingly more competitive world? Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew once said “small island states are a political joke”. But Singapore has become a prosperous cosmopolitan city state through good governance and a cando spirit of its people in the past 50 years. However, Lee Kuan Yew also cautioned that “to survive, Singapore must stay relevant to the world, find its competitive edge, and rise above geographical and resource constraints. Had we disported ourselves like our better-endowed neighbours, we would have failed.” (Speaking at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Diplomatic Academy’s S. Rajaratnam Lecture on April 9, 2009) Write an essay imagining how Singapore can remain relevant to the world and continue its push for sustainable development in the next 50 years in an increasingly more competitive world, taking the following points into consideration: 1, Singapore has been transformed from a Third World to First in just over four decades. P5
2, Singapore is an international trading centre, a logistics hub and a financial centre. In trade, connectivity and finance, among others, Singapore looms large internationally, far larger than its physical size may lead one to expect.
3, Stay relevant to the world: Lee Kuan Yew once said: The countries that make themselves relevant become better off; their people become better off. Those who opt out, they suffer.” Singapore must stay relevant to the region and the world, remain open and adaptable to change and evolve to navigate the emerging landscape in the region to obtain maximum benefits.
4, To stay relevant, Singapore has to be extraordinarily successful to make up for its lack of resources. So the government set out assiduously to build up a clean system, corruption free, a secure country and a safe society, a government which is effective and efficient, and world class infrastructure, a highly educated work force, a healthy and attractive environment, welcoming to investors and businesses. Singapore has to continue to distinguish itself by better standards of governance.
5, Stay exceptional: To survive and prosper, Singapore has to be exceptional as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his May Day Rally speech on May 1, 2016: “In Southeast Asia, if we say let’s just be something like our neighbour, you’ll be pushed around, shoved about, trampled upon, that’s the end of Singapore and the end of us. It’s very, very important you don’t lose that magic and to stay exceptional.”
6, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament on Nov 9, 2016 that Singapore must dictate its policy based on its own interests: “our foreign policy or defence policy is predicated on making sure that we have positioned ourselves in the best possible position to survive and to compete” and “to ensure the country benefits the most”.
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