At The Straits Times' annual Global Outlook Forum on Wed (28 Nov), Minister Chan Chun Sing advised Singaporeans to understand the region better in order for Singapore to add value as a springboard or gateway when partnering those who want to enter the South-east Asian market.
"Many people like to say, use Singapore as a platform to the region, as a springboard to the region, as a gateway to the region," Mr Chan noted. "We can only truly do that if our people have a deep sense of perspective of what the region is about, the diversity of the region, so that we can value-add when we partner people who want... to work (here)."
He also added that schools have a part to play by sending students on trips to countries in the region.
He commented that the more successful a country is, the greater its tendency to focus on internal affairs rather than larger forces at play globally.
"We also need to... help people understand the external environment that we have to operate in. If our people understand that, then that urge, that alertness, the desire to want to stay ahead, will be there," he said.
"For Singapore to continue to be successful, we must never allow ourselves to only focus internally."
A new social compact
Separately, he also said that Singapore needs to develop a new social compact to address the challenges of social mobility and social mixing in Singapore.
Calling on individuals and groups to redouble efforts to help "the slow keep pace with the fast", he said the fast must see it as part of their social responsibility to reach out to those less able, "for us to progress as a society together".
"If we have that kind of collective responsibility to one another, the kind of societal values that say it is a privilege to take care of others... and it's not just about us taking all that we can - then, I think, we will have the new social compact," he said.
PMET offered toilet cleaning job by WSG
Meanwhile, a PMET by the name of H W Ang wrote a public letter to government feedback site REACH to complain about the futility of going through government agency WSG to get jobs. It is uncertain if the letter was written to REACH directly.
Nevertheless, Mr Ang said that he have been feeling even more discouraged and distressed after going through WSG, which asked him if he wanted a cleaner job to clean toilets.
"I wonder if foreign talents have to go through the same insults and grilling when easily locating a job here?" Mr Ang asked.
"I really do not know what the future is for youngsters like myself and if our elders still believe in the government’s lack of vision for the country post-LKY?"
In any case, displaced Singaporean PMETs like Mr Ang would unlikely be thinking to understand the region better or to take care of others, when they can't even take care of their own family well.