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Thursday, 21 October 2010

The New Millennium Dream In Retrospective

The report below, re-posted from TODAY, seems to suggest that PM Lee and / or our Govt were unaware 10 years ago of "how quickly the pace of change would accelerate and how much our people would be under pressure from globalisation, we would have prepared them for it earlier".

I thought the whole world including Singapore was all "fired-up" and ready to face the NEW MILLENNIUM then. He must have missed the DOHA Round and the related Global Issues. It's no wonder that Singaporeans are now complaining about having too many FTs here.

Can this lack of foresight be true of our LEVIATHAN state and its multi-million-dollar Cabinet?

Reference # 1
RE-posted from TODAY Oct 21, 2010
by Neo Chai Chin

SINGAPORE - Given the world's accelerated pace of change and how hard it is to predict tomorrow's economic "winners", Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he would, in retrospect, have started equipping Singaporeans five to 10 years earlier.

"I think if we had known how quickly the pace of change would accelerate and how much our people would be under pressure from globalisation, we would have prepared them for it earlier," said Mr Lee, in reply to CNN International Asia-Pacific managing editor Ellana Lee's question on whether he would have done anything differently on hindsight.

Mr Lee, who was invited to give a speech and take part in a dialogue session as part of CNN's 30th anniversary celebrations, said the Government has invested heavily in education and training. But if it had known how critical skills and ability were to "get ahead and do better", it would have put "even more resources in", Mr Lee said.

Nevertheless, "in a rather unpredictable world", Singapore has a great opportunity to become a "first class economy (and) society" - given that it is being plugged into a prospering Asia and its ability to put its mind to achieving targets. But Mr Lee cautioned that many things could go wrong: The economy could malfunction, or the spirit of society may change, for instance.

"The new generation may say, 'I want a different tradeoff between working and smelling the roses'," he said. Another challenge was finding capable leaders who can - with the people - make things happen.

Asked about leadership and figures he admired, Mr Lee cited former Indonesian President Suharto, who fostered stability and growth for the region in his time, and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who fought for peace. Good leaders need ability, conviction, and persuasive and staying power, he said. But how they reach out to the people varies from generation to generation, with outreach today more complicated than a decade ago, he added.

Mr Lee was also asked for his thoughts on protectionism, which major economies have accused one another of.

"The problem is that developed countries are in distress ... and people look for bogeymen. And the other country doing bad things to you is a very soft target, particularly at election time," he said.

Singapore has consistently spoken up for cooperation, free trade and open markets - and there is no alternative, as no country can prosper alone, he said.

In his wide-ranging speech earlier, Mr Lee noted that China-Taiwan relations and overlapping territorial claims were potential flashpoints in regional stability. He also pointed out that Asian countries were still searching for the political system that works for them.

For each country, Mr Lee said, the system has to fit societal values, deliver an effective and honest government, and provide security, jobs and prosperity for the people.

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