Stop trotting on the treadmill, get onto the road

Stop trotting on the treadmill, get onto the road

By Leong Mun Wai

They continue to reiterate their glorious past, or even up the speed of the treadmill. The reality is they are getting nowhere. Get real man, you need to get on the road and run!                                                                    Photo Credit :


After listening to SM Tharman’s speech last night, a picture of our government running on the treadmill with a screen showing the early achievements of our country in the 1960s to 1990s, slowly conjured up in my mind. I suspect he was not the only cause of my apparition but the cumulative effect of listening to all the four ministerial speeches previously.

They continue to reiterate their glorious past, or even up the speed of the treadmill. The reality is they are getting nowhere. Get real man, you need to get on the road and run!

Why do they keep mentioning about fast-forwarding current plans? Why do they keep bringing up the glory days from the 1960s to 1990s? Aren’t there pressing issues to deliberate and act on right now? What we need are innovative and concrete plans to rebuild our economy and society after Covid from Ground Zero.

SM Tharman was a colleague of mine in 1986 when he was an Economist at Monetary Authority of Singapore and I, an Investment Officer at the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.

We credit him for implementing many policies after the 2011 General Election, as the then Finance Minister, that slowed the widening gap of social inequality. Unfortunately that initiative and good work was truncated by the results of the 2015 General Election.

Just as in 2011, retrospection and genuine change can only come about by admission of misplaced policies in the past years.

1. To provide good jobs for Singaporeans, the government will have to tackle the issue of foreign PMETs head-on. Without the prospect of jobs, the re-skilling and up-skilling programs will have limited results.

2. There is a very urgent need to fast-track the digitalisation of the economy. But it must also be accompanied by a new emphasis on technical skills apart from academic research in our tertiary institutions so that we train enough graduates for the digital economy.

3. The ultimate way to increase jobs in the long run is to build an integrated ecosystem or support system to groom our local start-ups and SMEs. The current system is not yielding the expected results despite spending billions of dollars every year. The approach has to change.

4. Our education is a social divider and not social leveler. There is a need to relook at the whole approach to education in a digital information age. A few changes here and there is not going to help.

5. Our culture of national solidarity which used to be strong in the 1990s will continue to weaken as long as social inequality is not reduced and the foreigner population not controlled effectively.

If the government keeps on putting up aspirational motherhood statements without concrete follow up plans and execution, then Singaporeans will soon realise the hollowness of much talk and no action.

However as loyal Singaporeans we will wait again patiently for a fresh, bold and coherent plan for the way forward from DPM Heng on Saturday.

In the meantime, get off the treadmill and start pounding the road!





他们为什么一直谈论加快当前计划?他们为什么继续谈论1960年代至1990年代的美好时光? 2000年代没有什么可谈的吗? 冠状病毒大流行给了我们一个从零基础开始重建我们的经济和社会的机会,需要的是新想法和一个完整的蓝图。




1. 为了给新加坡人带来更好和更多的工作,政府将不得不立即先解决外国人PMET的问题。没有工作的前景,学习新技能和提高技能的计划将不能达到预期的成果。

2. 我国迫切需要加速和深化数码技术的发展。但除了重视大专学府的学术研究以外,我们也必须重视技术和技能,以便为数码经济培训足够的人才。

3. 从长远来看,增加就业机会的最终途径是拥有一大批我们自己的初创企业和中小型企业。而这需要先建立一个综合的政策系统支持它们的发展 。尽管每年花费数十亿新元,当前的政策仍未产生所需的结果。

4. 我们现在的教育体系是制造社会阶级,而不是促进社会平等的制度。我们还需要重新审视信息时代所需的新教育方法,只做一些表面上的变革将无济于事。

5. 只要不减少社会不平等和不大幅度控制外国人人口,我们在1990年代所经历过的国家团结,民族和谐的文化将继续被减弱。

如果政府再不提出具体想法和明确完整的蓝图,那么新加坡人很快就会觉得政府的计划很空洞。 但是,作为忠实的新加坡人,我们仍然希望在王瑞杰副总理周六的讲话里找到崭新的,大胆的,完整的国家振兴蓝图。





The author of the above article writes in his own capacity with his views and opinion only to himself and are in no way a representation of the Party.

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