there’s something special here – Singapore turns 50

This country is and will continue to be the most successful city in the world. It’s almost weird to think that , assuming that I’ll live a healthy life, I’ll be 72 at SG100. I’ll be the next ‘Pioneer Generation’ . I hope to God I look good when I’m old, because I want to continue kicking and building society. During the National Day Show today, someone said a line that really hit home for me. She said ‘We grow with this country’ , and it’s probably the truest thing I’ve heard in a while.

We’ve been on a journey. Most countries have epic stories embellishing their history, but very few cities in modern history can claim to build a democracy while holding a siege mentality, and still supersede most large economies around them. Very few can claim to continue to produce people of superior caliber and an attachment to the country that is recognizable worldwide. Yet , you see, that’s our claim. We were presented with a nearly insurmountable problem, and we overcame it. The more I watch various presentations of history, from the veiled propaganda (which isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ word) of the media, and the alternative interpretations of the deferred, there’s still one uniting tone – our pioneers were committed to bringing Singapore out of the Third World.

This National Day, this SG50 , we’re called to do two things – to remember this journey made, almost symbolically pronounced by the passing of founding father Lee Kuan Yew, and to envision our collective future, probably marked by the General Elections rumored to be in September.

You don’t have to look to the media for the truth , people are genuinely proud of the journey made.Naysayers will always exist, but they cannot reduce the pure joy experienced by people for making it to this point in the history of the world. We’ve made it. We’re here, a sovereign country defined by our own rules and aspirations – not anyone else’s.

But it’s perhaps the second call to action that’s more nerve-wrecking. What does the future mean for us? We’re facing our own set of problems. Starting The Hidden Good has given me the platform to interact with people from all sectors of society – youth, elderly, rainmakers and kingmakers; ministers and businessmen; the marginalized and the privileged. I challenged my generation to be an active force in shaping our own future, and not to let it be privy to the whims of the noisy and caustic minority online  ( Yet beyond that, I’m still conflicted on how our future should shape out. Solutions aren’t as straightforward as they used to be, and the uniting direction seems to point towards building a more inclusive and affirming society. We’ve built a society that is starting to , very slowly, fracture at the weight of the diversity it’s so proud of.

Creating a plan to solve that requires a lot more involvement from society than ever before, but there’s one thing I know almost definitely. We have to carry these problems with us and grow with them. Just like overcoming the pioneers gained resilience because of the problems they overcame, we can gain a deeper understanding into the human condition by trying to solve these problems. We became a successful city by the definitions of this day and age, but in the same line, no one’s a successful city yet by the definitions of the next age. We have that opportunity , but we have to commit. We have to commit to home, to Singapore. We have to commit to finding novel ways to contribute to the solution in our own capacities as businessmen, civil servants, students, families etc. , instead of contributing only to the noise around the problem. Let me be very clear – gone are the days when governments are the sole providers of solutions. Yes they hold the main onus, but it’s backward to expect capable people to be only present there. We , the people, hold the ability to shape our society.

I honestly wonder how I’ll be in 50 years time, but I hope to say lines similar to those shared by our forefathers. We did all we could, so that the generations after us could have a good life. We grew with Singapore.

After all, we are Singapore.





One thought on “there’s something special here – Singapore turns 50

  1. Daily SG: 11 Aug 2015 | The Singapore Daily

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