National Day is finally here. All the SG50 hype, all the national day songs, all the rehearsals for those participating in the parade, all the blood, sweat and tears of our pioneers and those before them, everything has lead to this moment.. Singapore is finally 5o years old and proud of it.
This morning as the proclamation was aired on both Radio and TV, something stirred deep within us. We thought we were numb to all this propaganda stuff, but at it turns out at 9 am earlier, we do feel for Singapore, albeit the slightest of emotions.
You see, in the run up to Singapore’s Golden Jubilee. There have been many articles online (by foreign news, opposition parties and anti-gov sites such as The Online Citizen and All Singapore Stuff, Amos Yee included) criticizing Singapores’s way of thinking and doing things.
(Not sharing them here. You can Google if interested)
The number of people who have predicted Singapore’s doom are aplenty and they go way back all the way to 1965.
No natural resource, no manpower, too small a country, and the list goes on.
Singapore not only defied the odds to survive but have transformed itself as the regions shinning red dot in the past 50 years.
When economist were convinced that Singapore’s model will not survive because their textbooks told them so, we proved them wrong on numerous occasions.
The fact is Singapore survived because it did not follow the textbook prescriptions of any county. Rather it adapted its policies to best serve its people and made hard choices whenever necessary (e.g.mandatory National Service, English language as first language, forced savings, etc).
Today. We face an even greater challenge now than the one we faced in 1965 during our independence – Sustainability.
Can we keep growing and progressing. What are the trade-offs?.
Again, there are no textbook solutions to this.
The world is dotted with once-thriving city-states that declined or were absorbed into larger entities when the economic and geopolitical winds shifted. But no other country in the world thinks as obsessively about its future as Singapore. “We don’t have anything but ourselves,” Prime Minister Lee recently told his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott. (Reuters)
This was never a propaganda by the state. The challenge is indeed real and for the past fifty years, this attitude has served Singapore extremely well.
Remember this as we celebrate our 50 years of progress.