Ong Ye Kung: S’pore has become like a “smartphone” and that’s what we must continue to offer the world – The bharat express news

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Singapore is like a smartphone with “a good operating system and all sorts of apps” with its contacts, schedule, group chats, music and photos all personalized and “stored here”, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on January 13.

This was largely the result of Singapore taking advantage of its geographical location to build a commercial center first, followed by other strategic industries such as manufacturing, tourism, biomedical, financial and infocommunication, aviation, research and development, he added.

“So that’s the value proposition that we want to continue to deliver to the world. Strong enough that it’s not easy, but not impossible, to leave Singapore,” Ong explained.

Analogy given during the second day of the Singapore Perspectives conference

The minister gave his analogy at the opening of the second day of the annual Singapore Perspectives conference, organized by the think tank Institute of Policy Studies.

In his speech, Ong spoke at length about how being a global economic node is “central” to the country’s survival and the future strategies Singapore needed to adopt to constantly reinvent itself in order to stay relevant.

The minister divided the strategies broadly into the following three areas: labor, political and social.

Work: the post-Covid-19 world offers the greatest opportunity for reinvention

For Labor, Ong said the Covid-19 crisis offered the greatest opportunity for reinvention as the pandemic had essentially been a reset button, forcing Singapore to rethink the way things are done, to be better and smarter. .

The Minister cited the following areas as examples of his view.

“For example, the post-Covid working world should adopt a combination of office and home working as a more efficient arrangement, to be results-oriented and help people juggle their lives.

We should rethink the concept of peak hours for commuting, which has so long dictated the planning and development of transport infrastructure. We can also flatten that traffic curve.”

Additionally, many brick-and-mortar institutions have been pushed towards digital platforms as the education sector experiences another “renaissance,” driven by equipping every high school student with a personal device, the adoption of media for education, and the encouragement of autonomous learning.

In the health sector, Ong added that there is now a much better appreciation for primary care such as good hygiene, vaccinations and recovery at home, with the help of telemedicine.

“It could be a new start for primary preventive care, which will in fact be the most important element in a rapidly aging country,” he said.

The Minister also noted that Singapore has positioned itself as a hub for manufacturing and distributing vaccines.

“The process of dealing with the pandemic has tested our mettle as a city. We have had to roll with the punches and adapt to many twists and turns. We have not tried to stop every cluster of infection, but we tried to brave, and ride the wave of infection.

And to do that, we had to rely on people’s personal responsibility and civic awareness. We had to trust that people would do the right thing by testing and self-isolating if they tested positive.”

The political process must be constructive and bridge the divides

On the political aspect, Ong stressed that it is imperative for the Singapore government to defend the city, maintain public order and ensure the smooth functioning of infrastructure and services.

“What Singapore was blessed with was a founding generation that built good governance with a capital G,” he said.

This includes the various branches of the state, which Ong defined as an executive branch that could get things done, a non-politicized civil service, a judicial system that upholds the rule of law “without fear or favour”, and democratic institutions such as Parliament formed by free and fair elections.

Ong then said that while the policy facilitates public discourse, puts the fate of the country in the hands of the people, checks powers and maintains executive accountability, it could also polarize people and destabilize societies if it goes wrong. .

“So a critical factor for good governance is to do politics well. Rather than endless squabbles and stalemates, the political process should be constructive and help bridge divides. The goal of politics should be to help the country find a way forward even if the decisions involve very difficult trade-offs,” Ong explained.

This is particularly important for Singapore, as its speed, unity of action and focus allow it to overcome its lack of resources and strategic mass, he added.

Furthermore, a strong state is key to solving the problems of inequality, protectionism and climate change, according to the minister.

Without it, it will not be possible to do difficult but necessary things like a carbon tax to reduce emissions, or redistribution policies to help low-income people, or reform education, health or other policies. and important public programs.

“Our policies must be consistent in the long term in order to have an impact and bring about change, to improve lives. Unlike large countries, Singapore cannot afford to be caught up in a political turmoil with changes frequent changes in governance and a reorientation of the policies that accompany it.

This does not preclude the value of healthy discourse that considers diverse viewpoints and the proper functioning of checks and balances, both of which can strengthen our health and functioning as a state. The success of the State of Singapore depends on our ability to achieve these two goals.”

Social: There is a growing awareness of what makes us Singaporeans

Ong then turned to what he called the most crucial aspect of being Singaporean, which he explained as “the feeling that despite being in a global city, we are members of a close-knit tribe, sharing a common fate and destiny”.

Explaining that nation-building is a “subconscious, long-term process,” he said people in a nation should have common experiences and endure trials and tribulations together.

“Over time, this unity will forge common ideas that will transcend primordial tribal instincts and overcome the forces that deepen social formations,” he added.

“Then something mysterious emerges, beyond security, beyond earning a living, beyond creature comforts – like the soul of a nation,” he said.

In the case of Singapore, this is done every day, through students singing the national anthem, different communities living side by side in the HDB, “youth cohorts” undergoing NS together, and strangers instinctively connecting to the stranger through a single Singlish sentence, he said.

These nation-building acts are the result of “deliberate policies and programs implemented by the state”, according to Ong.

As such, there is a growing awareness of what it means to be Singaporean, an awareness which Ong has defined as follows:

“That we are not just a key part of the globalized world, but one that connects East and West in different parts of Asia, creating vast opportunities that go beyond our borders, for our people and our future generations.

That the constant forces of state institutions will always strive to ensure justice and fairness for all, to uphold meritocracy, to bring out the best in people, to connect our apparatuses and to put us on the right long-term path.

That therefore, in this nation, there is a solemn commitment to give every community that inhabits Singapore a place under the sun, where everyone equally exercises a spirit of give and take rather than pushing their own agendas at the expense of others. “

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Screenshot via IPS


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