Chan Chun Sing

The government asks us to be more creative and adaptable but are they doing the same for us?

The message for Singaporeans this year seems to be that terrorism is on the rise and that Singaporeans need to be more innovative and adaptable. As I have dealt with the fear of terrorism in another article,  I shall focus this one on the government’s exhortations for us to be more creative.

Trade and Industry Minister, Chan Chun Sing has declared that we should “plug into innovation networks”. Perhaps I am uninformed but honestly, I have no clue what this means. Are these just buzz words without real substance?

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has asked students to be more “adaptable, daring and curious”. But then, this is also the same government that punishes people for sticking stickers on lamp posts. How can you be cautiously adaptable, daring and curious? Also, is the government adaptable? I can’t tell that it is for rejecting Ben Davis’ deferral request under such rigid terms. Is the government daring? I can’t see it from the way it seems to fear the opposition parties. Is the government curious? I can’t see this from the government, given the way it doesn’t seem to see the people sleeping rough on the streets.

Firstly, I would like to categorically state that I agree with the need for us to be more creative as a whole. My question, however, is whether or not the government is also going to be more creative in its efforts to serve the people. It is easy to ask others to be creative and flexible but is the government prepared to do the same?

Secondly, while the government has repeated its message calling for adaptability and innovation, it has not really provided us with any tips on how to so do. It is easy to be big picture in approach. The devil is in the detail! Has the government worked through that one?

Off the top of my head, I cannot think of anything new that the latest crop of PAP leaders has come up with. All they appear to have done is to repeat broad concepts and values while trying to keep a system that our pioneer leaders built in the 70s afloat. The world is changing. Just look at the way the world has voted in Pakistan, Malaysia, the United States, Brexit in the United Kingdom and the list goes on. As our government asks us to innovate, are they also able to deliver the innovation that is needed to provide us with a governmental system that will suit the changing world?