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TOC Report: PM Lee at NUS Ministerial Forum

Posted by theonlinecitizen on September 22, 2007

By Ng Sook Zhen

If Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong were right, even if we change Singapore twice over, there still will be many improvements to be made. KT

Speaking at the Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum organized by the National University of Singapore Students’ Political Association yesterday at Hon Sui Sen Terrace, PM Lee stressed the need for continual change, plotting a three-stage time-frame to remake Singapore.

“Our future is in our own hands, and it depends on what we do in Singapore – moving forward, seizing opportunities and avoiding problems,” he said in his speech to the largely-student audience.

And the underlying current of the forum seemed to be the need for enough, talented individuals.

“For the next generation, education is a major priority. We have to find a way to equip our young to thrive in a changing world and to take care of themselves,” he said.

In the immediate stage, the government seeks to improve the education system by setting up the fourth public university, upgrading the existing ones and bring in other new institutions.

“We are investing in you, so that you can cope with changes when you grow up, not to give you knowledge from books that you can carry around from the rest of your life, but know how and the ability to think for yourself, PM Lee said.

“So that as the world changes and Singapore changes you can change with it – and in fact you can make Singapore change one step ahead of the competition.”

The medium term concerns are centred upon increasing birth rates and attracting talent.

“We need babies, we need to grow our own talent, and the education system will develop our own talent,” said PM Lee.

“But we must also attract talent from all over the world to add the sparkle to our diamond.”

PM Lee holds NUS as a model of cosmopolitan Singapore.

The university has more than 1,300 lecturers and professors from 57 countries and nearly 10,000 students from 97 different countries.

“We want to integrate immigrants into society, maybe wear slippers and drink bak kut teh. But at the same time, they must bring something different to the blend.”

“If they were exactly the same as us, they wouldn’t be bringing any value,” he said, in response to a query during the question and answer section of the forum.

PM Lee cited strong leadership and imbuing a sense of nationhood as long-term issues which have to be addressed immediately.

“The two go together. It’s not just a matter of finding a job here, but having all your reference points associated with Singapore,” PM Lee said.

It’s not going to be easy to do this, because with globalization, we would be completely exposed to external influences,” he added.

Finding a good leaders in such circumstances, says the Prime Minister, makes him “worry obsessively.”

“In 20 to 30 years time, it would be a completely different Singapore,” he said.

“Will we drift away in the sea of globalization, falling behind, decaying, and losing our soul?”

About the author: Sook Zhen is a new reporter for TOC. She previously worked for SPH. She is currently a law undergrad at the National University of Singapore.

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8 Responses to “TOC Report: PM Lee at NUS Ministerial Forum”

  1. David said

    I’m sure at current state of Singapore, it should be changed to following:

    Joker LEE:
    “Your future is in our own hands, and it depends on who you vote in Singapore – moving forward (to go backwards), seizing opportunities (at making money at any cost) and avoiding questions and problems (like gay issue, accountability, rising cost, millions dollars PayAndPay scheme),” he said in his speech to the largely naive, innocent, blur -student audience.”

  2. I was there yesterday, and frankly, I was quite disappointed that he did not even mention anything fresh or relevant besides the rhetoric in which he seems duty-bound to repeat time and time again.

    Wither the ASEAN chairmanship, the Charter, and of all the questions that were fielded, not a single soul asked about the impact of ASEAN integration at all..

    It wasn’t anything unexpected, just SOP as usual.

  3. Tan Bee Lian said

    I think there is considerable merit to what the PM had to say regarding talent and ASEAN.

    However, I do worry some what abt the implications. As I read in this recent article.

    http://whatotherssay.wordpress.com/2007/09/21/why-even-mind-ye-own-business-blogging-has-to-eventually-lead-to-total-war-a-competitive-game-theory-analysis-part-i0/#comment-233

    Sounds a bit dramatic, but the logic appears to be water tight. I will have to wait for part 2 to decide on whether it is conclusively worth looking into seriously.

    I would be very grateful if someone could introduce me to this Darkness.

    Many thanks TOC.

  4. Onlooker said

    Whats going on here last I saw on
    Change News Afterward

    There are not that much foreign “Talent Student” in Local Uni.
    937 in all you know? and rejected a lot leh.
    Better invoke the saftey feature CMV (conservative majority vote system now)

  5. Dr Lim said

    Miss Tan Good Afternoon to you.

    I happen to have an association with this fellow. If you like, I can broker a meeting.

    Thank you for the link, I was beginning to think Nash Equilibrium had no practical use till of course now.

    Have a very nice day. Meanwhile I remain your very sincerely.

  6. Onlooker said

    Chim leh To think they use a Game theory to explain thing Good for them 🙂
    Nash is a genius who come up with several game theories featured in the film “a beautiful mind”
    excerpt
    ‘Nash’ here refers to John Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician who in Nash (1950) did most to extend and generalize von Neumann & Morgenstern’s pioneering work.
    Nash equilibrium (henceforth ‘NE’) applies (or fails to apply, as the case may be) to whole sets of strategies, one for each player in a game. A set of strategies is a NE just in case no player could improve her payoff, given the strategies of all other players in the game, by changing her strategy.This idea is related to the idea of strict dominance: no strategy could be a NE strategy if it is strictly dominated. Therefore, if iterative elimination of strictly dominated strategies takes us to a unique outcome, we know we have found the game’s unique NE. Now, almost all theorists agree that avoidance of strictly dominated strategies is a minimum requirement of rationality. This implies that if a game has an outcome that is a unique NE, as in the case of joint confession in the PD, that must be its unique solution. This is one of the most important respects in which the PD is an ‘easy’ (and atypical) game.
    If he is a Singaporean, his abilities will most definitely be overlooked.
    Because We have the conservative majority vote system in place.

  7. […] – Choo Zheng Xi, TOC: TOC Opinion: PM Lee at NUS: Where’s the substance? – Ng Sook Zhen, TOC: TOC Report: PM Lee at NUS Ministerial Forum – ringisei: Defining ASEAN civil society / Looking an Indon award in the mouth – Diary of a […]

  8. saintmoron said

    A diamond that needed added sparkles can’t be a good diamond; the radiance must come from within itself.

    As a Singaporean run by the present Leadership, I absolutely agree with the Statement(Question), quote:”Will we drift away in the sea of globalization, falling behind, decaying and losing our soul?” Unquote. But it will have to read: We will drift away away in the sea of globalization, falling behind, decaying and losing our soul. Losing our souls has been an ongoing phenomenon in Singapore for some times and I contend that it was(is) not due to globalization but the erosion of values for the LOVE OF MONEY. The Leadership has incalculcated a national ethos of money love.

    PM Lee Hsien Loong liked his predecessor Goh Chok Tong, has been spot on in the prognoses and readings of the situations and the near future developments. But their policies hardly produced the ideal results they envisaged, sometimes quite the opposite happened and that caused more problems to existing one. Could it be that along the way of implementations of policies, there were hijacks, oversights and other unforeseen obstacles?

    The Answer to the Last Question PM Lee posed in this Article lies in the Question itself; I think.

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