[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

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

[Six approaches for a new world order]
I missed the live telecast of the President's opening address of the 11th Parliament last night but managed to read the transcript in The Straits Times this morning.

The six broad approaches that President S R Nathan highlighted last night to tackle a new world order made sense.

With the economy at a low point, it is important to continue to tweak the system to deal with new challenges. The is because economic growth has been and will continue to be the important benchmark for Singaporeans to judge Singapore's success. And it is because of economic growth that continues to hold the system together.

For someone that has seen the poorer side of Singapore due to previous exposure, I feel that there is a pressing need for help for them. In every free market economy, the gains are always unequal and emphasis on redistribution policies should not leave out the lower percentiles but should be the focus. But there's nothing like a free lunch going by past rhetoric of the government.

On education, it is important to upgrade the skill sets of graduates to prepare for the knowledge based economy which we have embarked on. I cannot say that it is a bad thing to focus on increasing the prospects for polytechnic students to get their degrees, but the fundamental supply-demand economics should be kept as the basis. Meaning to say that there should not be an oversupply of graduates which would result in oversupply and lower wages. That said, there's always the world to look at for jobs. President Nathan has said it right, education is the key to a better future.

Like every political realist would attest to, diplomacy and links to the world outside of Singapore will be important. I am sure readers of this blog have a clearer picture of our Singapore's links with the world by reading the posts of Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo.

Integration between locals and foreigners who make Singapore their home is essential. It will be an extension of the multi-racial and multi-religious dynamics that we are used to in embracing foreign talent.

The most exciting part in the development in Singapore's political climate would be future changes to the political system. Whether it is democracy, authoritarian, republican or whatever form of government, moral values should be the basis and the legitimacy for the government's existence. The changes to come should ensure the active participation of all Singaporeans.

But like every uplifting speech, it is more than words that matter. Looking forward, the debates that follow would be interesting to watch. More importantly it is how these words translate to action, to be rooted in policy that really matters.


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