brainSTORM: Fortune Favours The Bold

As a young nation, Singapore is still finding its place in a rapidly evolving world. What can the public, leaders and civil service do to keep the flag flying for generations to come?

Excerpts from the brainSTORM session held on 8 July at the Chicago Booth School Of Business. The topic: Is Singapore Ready?

“People have different talents and interests. Just like people compete, countries do compete among themselves as well. Countries compete for investments to aid their development. People compete in schools for grades, in job places for promotion and even in chasing the opposite sex for life partnership. Competition is unavoidable. The Singapore government of the day should ensure that the people remain competitive. Education, lifelong training, skills redevelopment and so on available to all people of different levels of ability and intelligence would ensure a prosperous Singapore to last for as long as this world exists.” — K.C. Lau, Chartered Accountant

“We are often prone to worrying about Singapore being a nation with many challenges such as lacking in natural resources, of a small size and vulnerable to external forces . Of course, awareness of this is good, but at the same time, you can leverage this and implement positive and definitive changes, because when you are small you can implement change fast. If we are short of land, and don’t have natural resources, we can be innovative and create solutions to grow “space”. For example, look at what the Netherlands is doing, look at cities of the world that are short of land — they get into indoor, commercial vertical farming innovations – viable and highly productive solutions that are game changers. Lets not be limited by the “box” but let the box drive the “what’s outside of it” type of opportunistic thinking.” — Suguna Madhavan, Technopreneur / Innovation Mentor / Founder of Firesong Initiatives

“Taking China as an example, in every dynasty, there was always a period of deprivation from early days to a period of great prosperity before it declined for a new dynasty or regime to take over and so on. In the context of families as units of a society, the same pattern would follow. Fortunes are made and fortunes are lost. Ups and downs are natural sequence of events.” — K.C. Lau, Chartered Accountant

“Our Singapore civil servants may not be perfect, but I think we’ve got a pretty good civil service. I see efforts being made all the time to improve. To be fair, they actually look at systems. There’s no perfect system, there are amendments to be made, but I disagree when anyone says our civil service is no good or substandard.” — Dennis Foo, President of Singapore Nightlife Business Association

More coverage in STORM V28 out next month.

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