Singaporean Aspiration

“What future do we want? How do we get there?

All around us, I see the world growing more complex, with challenges coming fast and furious, and our needs growing ever more diverse. How, in such a world, can any one group of people have the answers to everything?” – Mr. Heng Swee Keat, Chairman of Our Singapore Conversation Committee 2012-2013

It was announced by the Government Prime Minister Mr. Lee Hsien Loong on 01-Oct-15, that a new committee will be set up to look at how Singapore can continue creating opportunities adapt amid a weaker global economy and a leaner workforce. The committee on “The Future Economy”will be chaired by Finance Minister Mr. Heng Swee Keat.

It was announced that the 30-member committee to chart future of economy on 22nd December, 2015 will include government officials and leaders of companies large and small.

The Committee on the Future Economy will study five key areas that are crucial to sustaining economic growth vital to Singapore’s future.

  • To identity future growth industries and markets, and help firms seize opportunities in those areas
  • Give strategies to cultivate innovation and grow the use of technology among companies here
  • To have detailed study on how technology and demographics will impact the labour force, which will help aid workers as they retool themselves for the new economy
  • Draw up plans to develop Singapore’s infrastructure, while paying attention to making living spaces sustainable
  • Put attention to entrenching Singapore’s position as a hub for Asia, amid growing connectivity in the region

It aims to complete its work by the end of next year (Y2016).



What makes a Singaporean

Where he/she was born, how he/she speaks, the memories he/she keeps? The answer is all the above, even if these differ from one Singaporean to the next.


What are their aspirations

As on 15 July 2013, an estimated 47,000 participants + 4,000 surveyed participated in the year-long conversation, named “Our Singapore Conversation”, an initiative by the Government Ruling Party, to reach out to as many Singaporeans as possible, from all walks of life. Their aim was to take the time to understand their perspectives and aspirations.

(Post 1965, the year of founding of modern and independent Singapore).


The Five Core Aspirations

(A signpost for key directions that Singaporeans feel our society should move towards)



To make a good living and for every individual to realise his or her potential:- Good jobs in a resilient economy; Different ways of fulfilling potential; Respect for all, regardless of jobs and qualifications

  • SkillsFuture is a national movement to provide Singaporeans with the opportunities to develop their fullest potential throughout life, regardless of their starting points. Through this movement, the skills, passion and contributions of every individual will drive Singapore’s next phase of development towards an advanced economy and inclusive society.



Celebrating achievements beyond economic success, taking ownership of our lives and coming together to create a better Singapore:- Broader definitions of success; Shared identity, embracing diversity; Passion to contribute

  • SG50 Celebrations throughout 2015 and the quest of working towards SG100 in 2065 with confidence and optimism of even better Singapore, our endearing home, a home of heart, a home of hope for everyone!



Assured that our basic needs are affordable and within reach, and that we do not have to face life’s uncertainties alone:- Affordable and accessible basic needs; Collective responsibility; Early investment for life’s uncertainties

  • In end 2015, MediShield will be replaced by MediShield Life, and will offer:
    • Better protection and higher payouts, so that patients pay less Medisave/cash for large hospital bills
    • Protection For All Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, including the very old and those who have pre-existing illnesses
    • Protection For Life
  • Budget Year-to-Year GST Cash voucher and Medisave Top-up, to minimise the impact of cost of living and medical expenses onto Singaporeans
  • Previously, only those with a three-room or a smaller flat can enjoy HDB Lease Buyback Scheme, now, it is also applicable to those who owns a four-room flat
  • The Government has introduced the Pioneer Generation Package to honour and thank our Pioneers for their hard work and dedication. They have made Singapore what it is today. About ​​​450,000 Singaporeans will benefit from the Pioneer Generation Package. The package will help Pioneers with thei​r healthcare costs for l​​​ife.



Build stronger community ties, greater social cohesion, and have more compassion for the less advantaged:- Strong family and community values; Care for the disadvantaged, respect for every Singaporean’s dignity

  • “The Singapore spirit is not based on a common race, language or religion. It is based on deeper things that we share: Shared values like multiracialism, meritocracy, or respect for every talent; shared loyalty and commitment to Singapore; shared responsibility for each other and pride in what we have done together; shared memories as well as dreams and aspirations…   It is the spirit in each of us which makes Singapore work the way it does and which makes Singaporeans special.       – Current PM of Singapore Mr. Lee Hsien Loong



Trust between Government and people, and among Singaporeans, built on mutual understanding:- Constructive and meaningful citizen engagement; Trust and accountability; Mutual understanding between Singaporeans

(Notes:- Singapore has become more diverse in composition and outlook. As the OSC has shown, Singaporeans have textured and sometimes competing aspirations and views, each passionately held. For example:

  1. Affordability means different things to different people. What are basic needs to some, could be discretionary wants for others (e.g. cars, tuition).
  2. We desire broader definitions of success, but hold different views of what this means in terms of our life choices in education, work and beyond.
  3. We want to extend a helping hand to those in need, but have different views about how to do this in a way that respects each Singaporean’s dignity.
  4. Traditional family values are still important to Singaporeans, but some among us also wish to respect those who pursue alternative lifestyles.)


(Extract from “Reflections of Our Singapore Conversation OSC”)

Update of relevant Government Policy Changes or Initiatives taken to-date



Singapore 2015


Singapore tops OECD’s global education ranking

The Republic has emerged top in mathematics and science scores among 76 countries, in what is being touted as the “most comprehensive picture possible” of countries’ current skill levels.

It was placed ahead of Hong Kong and South Korea, which ranked second and third place respectively.

And analysis of 40 years of data in this Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development study has highlighted the correlation between cognitive skills and economic growth.


World-Class Healthcare Hub

Singapore has established strong fundamentals in healthcare excellence, having established the world’s 4th best healthcare infrastructure (World Competitiveness Yearbook 2010, IMD) while spending less than 4% of GDP on healthcare and providing universal coverage for Singaporeans with multiple layers of care. The standard of medical practice ranks among the best in the world.


Housing in Singapore

Singapore go from one of the worst housing crises in the world to a country where 90% of its citizens own their own home and homelessness is virtually eliminated – despite its population tripling in that time.


Unemployment Rate in Singapore

Unemployment Rate in Singapore decreased to 1.81 percent in the first quarter of 2015 from 1.90 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Unemployment Rate in Singapore averaged 2.48 percent from 1986 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 6 percent in the first quarter of 1986 and a record low of 1.40 percent in the second quarter of 1990.

Unemployment Rate in Singapore is reported by the Ministry of Manpower Singapore


Smart City

Singapore might be uniquely suited to be the first country to take smart infrastructure to scale—it’s manageably small (in area, it’s about half the size of Los Angeles) and already highly connected. The government—while it has other challenges—also has the power to actually build something like this quickly.

We did it! We ARE the most smartphone-connected country. Not only in Southeast Asia. Not only in the East but in the world. According to 2014 Google’s new study called Consumer Barometer, which gives deep detail into web consumption across 46 countries, Asia is king for smartphone penetration, with Singapore number one at 85%, then Korea at 80%, and the UAE at 78%. Malaysia takes the title for the highest rate of internet users who only access the web via a smartphone (35%).


Do Business

Singapore has emerged as a premier destination to do business. The World Bank has consistently ranked Singapore as the best place to do business for the last six consecutive years. It has also been ranked as Asia’s most entrepreneurial economy and the best country to nurture start-ups for expats. Singapore has emerged as a hub for first-time entrepreneurs and the city has witnessed the mushrooming of several start-ups over the past few years. Start-ups, defined as companies employing at least one employee and less than 5 years old, have increased from 27,000 in 2002 to more than 36,000 in 2009 in Singapore. These start-ups have employed more than 300,000 workers and generating more than S$166 billion in turnover.



Mr. Parag Khanna, director of Hybrid Reality, has aptly captured the essence of what it like, to seizing the Singapore dream, in an article, first published in The Straits Times on Aug 7, 2013.
Seizing the Singapore dream


As chairman of the Public Service commission (PSC), Mr. Eddie Teo interviews 350 young people vying for scholarships each year. In a speech at an Overseas Singaporean Unit event in Melbourne, Australia, on Sept 24, 2015, he outlines the strengths and weaknesses of 18-year-olds as gleaned from their essays and interviews.

What some of the brightest 18 years old tell us…


In our present age and time, it is about the Economy and Jobs! More Jobs!

My Tweets on PMETs Lives

If you’re unfortunate enough to be without a job, you may want to learn how to write a good resume, while doing your job search.



Writer’s notes: In view that is impossible to capture all conversations on the topic by various interested parties, it is my intention to update this post, from time to time, when there is a need.

Reuben Ong


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