[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Sunday, March 29, 2009

[How to stay ahead together]
There was more to Earth Hour than Earth Hour.

Last night, many congratulated Mrs Lim Hwee Hua on her promotion as Singapore's first "full fledged" woman minister. While I was escorting her into the hall after her arrival, we were flanked by boys and girls screaming their lungs out. It felt like NDP mood once more. Except that this was a closer encounter.

I remember asking Mrs Lim a question last year in private. Is Singapore ready for a woman minister, I asked. That was after speculation of a cabinet reshuffle was rife. That did not happen. The answer Mrs Lim had gave was very coy. She said that Singapore is always ready.

When the reporter from Straits Times asked her if she would be able to juggle her new duties, she retorted that "it would continue to be juggled" in a cheeky manner, smiling.

Honestly, her promotion was not a surprise. The timing of the announcement, however, was unexpected. Speculations of the General Elections had tainted the judgement of political watchers. It was not something expected. When my friend had told me about news of Dr Lee Boon Yang's stepping down, I replied that it had been hinted long ago. Even though I did not expect RADM Lui Tuck Yew to take over, the transition into the new position would have made sense.

So while feminists in Singapore rejoice with the shattering of the invisible glass ceiling that prevents women from rising in the ranks, a more pressing issue lies ahead.

PM Lee has assembled a stronger team coupled with new blood. The question that lies at the back of our head is this: Will Singaporeans stay together and move ahead in this seemingly bad economic downturn? How would the markets fair in the next few months. Can we ride out of this tide together? And what is the essence that would allow that to happen?

Remember that this crisis is not our fault. It is something not within our control considering the complicated relationships in the world's open economy. How shall we respond and what would we do to soar to greater heights?

It is an exciting time to watch.

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