brainSTORM: Is Singapore Ready? A Wrap-Up

Singapore, in its short history, has already endured many trials and tribulations and yet has found ways to prosper and build a city that is the envy of many around the world. What do we have to do to take the next step?

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

“Now that we are in the ‘first world’, we have to ask ourselves if we are ready to go to the next stage. Many countries find themselves in a similar position, asking themselves the same questions. To prepare ourselves, we the people and the government have to learn the lesson of our past and look out for the pitfalls of the future. We learnt our hardest lessons during the economic downturn of the last decade, but we can’t wait for the next catastrophic event before we decide to look at things. In Singapore we have a very intelligent leadership and a like-minded people with a certain level of intellect, can we put this intellectual-convergence to good use?” — Dennis Foo, President, Singapore Nightlife Business Association

“Based on recent events, we get the sense that there is a growing view that Singaporeans see a greater need for more expansive vision and long term thinking in our leadership. There is a sense that we shouldn’t hire mainly “brilliant” people, the intellectuals who can think and plan extremely well, but also inlcude more people with different profiles – critical thinkers, doers, self-built entreprenuers, and creative people. We can look at a greater diversity of talents, people coming from a range of socio-economic profiles, with vibrant views and unique complementary skills in the new leadership . A robust system, built with both the quantitative and qualitative needs of society in mind, is also required to foster sustainable growth for business, community life and out nation as a whole in the next 50 years. — Suguna Madhavan, Technopreneur/ Innovation Mentor/ Founder, Firesong Initiatives

“How will Singapore fare in the future? The answer should be bright in the short term but it is likely to be unknown in the far away future. As long as Singapore has leaders who place national interest above self-interest, the people will have a place in this world to realise their aspirations and potential. Having built up a safe home and happy working place for the majority of the population, our expectations are always rising, so managing these expectations will never be easy.” — K.C. Lau, Chartered Accountant

“Is Singapore ready? Why shouldn’t it be? Our per capita income is among the highest in the world. Our national reserves are probably the highest per capita. Singapore has a very capable civil service that is the least corrupt. We have a very strong and tested government. We have a long list of accolades to our name, so why the question? Something must be amiss. Is it a case of complacency in Government or that of great expectations among the populace? The answers to both may be yes. If this is the case, both the government and the people must learn the lessons of the past decade. Let’s all listen and then Singapore will truly be ready.” — Dennis Foo, President, Singapore Nightlife Business Association

“We as a society are changing. Are we becoming more and more money minded? We are told everyday not to be materialistic but everything seems to be measured in dollars and cents. We tell our children not to worry about money but all the talk seems to be about money. It is important to teach children the right value systems, because they will be the future leaders of this country. Success is important, but you also need to think about your fellow man.” — Danny Chow, Former CEO, Global Yellow Pages

More coverage in STORM V28 out next month.

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