Friday, September 16, 2011

Dialogue with Mr Lee Kuan Yew 5th Sep 2011

These are some of the questions and responses fielded at the Dialogue with Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Ex-Senior Minister Mentor. And my additional reflections in Blue.
1. Please note that these are notes I have taken from his response, and hence may not be the exact wordings that came from him.
2. Statistics provided in this blog post may have been incorrectly quoted

What is your advise to the idealistic youths of our country, on their aspirations to change the world?
First of all no body can change the world. Not even the president of USA can do anything about usa's prevalent debt problens. It's important for us to simply start with looking at how we can influence our own family and friends, then if we do well, look at expanding our influential ability towards the people living around us. And if we are really outstanding, then explore influencing people on a national or international level.

It would be logically to expect that in most circumstance, the amount of influence we wish to exert is often restricted by the resources and powers we possess. Nevertheless, I believe that if like-minded and passionate people come together and pull their resources and powers, then much more can be achieved than we ever imagine!
You do not have to be alone to become a positive social change-maker.

As long as you remain faithful to your cause, I am confident that you will sooner or later find the people you were looking for.

What will your worry be for the next generation to come for Singapore?
The lost of a solidarity society and political system, and to have the best people take the best jobs. We'll have to ensure that our meritocratic society is maintained.

Currently almost half of the Singapore population are graduates from a tertiary institution. Hence, even if you are a graduate it doesn't mean you are the best. Only if you have the drive and real competence, then you can achieve the same success as what the 5-6% of our top graduates of the past have achieved. Hence, even if you're a graduate do not over value yourself. Do not demand the pay the past elites once attained, be humble and place greater emphasis on learning, rather than on monetary gains.

How can we build a more cohesive society in years to come as we see even more immigrants coming to Singapore?
I've bad news for you. The shrinking aging population requires us to invite more immigrants in order to fill the gaps. We currently only have a 1.01 birth rate, which is of severe shortage to tackle the problems resultant of an aging population.

To take in the number of immigrants politically acceptable of 25000 per year, we'll only have a replacement rate of 1.8. Which means that we'll still be suffering from an aging population which we have to prepare for.

Will a strong political approach still work in the new generation?
No. the growing diversity of our educated population has created a highly segmented society, of which policies and political leaders have to attempt to appeal to the different segments. Although no policies will be able to ever satisfy all societal segments.

What's Singapore's plan for our food security?
There is no doubt that we can not go back to agriculture. Hence, we can only ensure that our GDPS growth is greater than the rise in food prices. There are technological solutions to grow food, however its a question of whether we can pay for them. If we have money, we live. If not, we die.

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