Wednesday 20 June 2012

Singapore in 2032

The S'pore I want to see in 2032
by Jason Kho Yin Long, TODAY, 11 Jun 2012

Change is the only constant in life and I hope some things here stay the same while other aspects improve.

I want a more aged-friendly Singapore in 20 years' time: Adequate home nursing and medical services, nursing home facilities, more aged-friendly public transport and homes.

I want a public healthcare system that provides adequate care for its patients, which means having enough hospital beds and healthcare professionals in Singapore. 

I want the elderly patient to be understood in his or her language/dialect if he or she cannot communicate in English. I want this patient to be treated with our cultural nuances.

I want Singapore sports to do well at the international level with local-born sportsmen, with more funding, focus and effort to groom our young, aspiring sportsmen to greater heights.

It would be nice to also see more of our local musicians and actors making it internationally.

I want Singapore to still have open fields, beaches and parks for children and adults to enjoy themselves.

I want Singapore to keep its identity and not have it diluted, such as the art of mixing different mother tongues and dialects, which has been developed over generations, our accent, our mannerisms. I still want to say "shiok", "buay tahan", "siong" and be understood. I want to be able to order "kopi-O" and not have the staff at the coffeeshop stare at me blankly.

Food is a big part of us. I want our favourite dishes to remain as they are. 

I want wanton noodles that taste like wanton noodles, not just noodles with wanton. I still want authentic nasi padang, char kway tiao, roti prata and Hainanese chicken rice.

I want National Service to still have meaning to its NSmen, active or reserves, and for them to have the same steadfast attitude towards defending our country as today.

I want a Singapore that leaves no Singaporean behind, not the disabled, the elderly, the less fortunate.

We all must still look out for each other in 20 years' time. 

Complete self-sustenance is slowly becoming more of an ideal than a reality. Everyone grows old eventually.

Ultimately, I want Singapore to be what made it Singapore, a Singapore I can recognise and still call home.

The S'pore I don't want to see in 2032
by James Poh Ching Ping, TODAY, 18 Jun 2012

I refer to Dr Jason Kho's I Say piece "The S'pore I want to see in 2032" (June 11), about the Singapore he still wants to call home in 20 years' time. In contrast, I wish to express what I do not want to see in 2032.

I do not want, the minute I leave my home, to have to pay to use the roads or the expressways.

I do not want to see more independent secondary schools which further divide the rich and the poor, as it is obvious that their academic and enrichment programmes are costlier than those of other schools.

As a parent, I do not want children to be able to telephone the authorities to report that their father is spanking them, as is the case in some countries. In Asian society, it is a norm to discipline an ill-behaved child so long as it is not abuse.

I do not want the Government to liberalise same-sex marriages, as it would go against the policy of encouraging a higher birth rate to maintain a good population size.

I do not want to see more shoebox apartments and congested public housing, even though Singapore is land-scarce. Architects should be creative to maximise land use and ensure the right housing proximity, not like in Hong Kong.

I do not want to see a lack of social etiquette in public places, such as on public transport. It is rude, for instance, to use electronic gadgets so openly here, compared to Japan and in Europe.

I do not want to see more "Fine" signage. There should be a balance between legal and social discipline. Indeed, Singapore is an orderly society where most citizens are law-abiding.

I do not want fast-food outlets to outgrow the traditional food court or hawker centre. Although Singapore has a busy workforce, it is equally important that health comes first.

I do not want any overuse of robots or productivity gadgets to the extent of replacing customer service personnel. We should continue to upkeep the Singapore spirit and show the world what is uniquely Singapore through our people.

I do not want to see a place where one could only survive or succeed with academic achievements and wealth. There should be space for people with skills and who are hardworking enough to make one's day worthwhile.

What makes us Singaporean?
by Ng Ya Ken, TODAY, 19 Jun 2012

Dr Jason Kho expressed at least 10 wants in "The S'pore I want to see in 2032" (June 11). Most of these are good social wants, from healthcare for the aged to preserving open fields.

He also wished to be understood when saying words like "shiok" or "kopi-O'; and that authentic nasi padang, roti prata and wanton noodles would still be available.

Availability of social wants depends on government policies, social values and group behaviour to sustain them.

For personal wants to be available, unceasing consumer support is needed. Dr Kho could play a part in preserving a good wanton noodle stall by bringing his friends there and asking them to bring their friends to patronise it.

It is equally important to teach our children good values and behaviour, or to appreciate good wanton noodles at a young age if we do not want it to vanish.

There are also national wants we need to preserve and improve, such as cohesiveness, harmony, prosperity and a clean environment.

In pursuing personal wants, we may encounter conflict with social or national wants. 

For example, wanting more cars may conflict with wanting more open fields, smooth traffic or healthy air. We need to prioritise. Some wants are nice to have but not that essential.

In a fast-changing world, we should adapt to changes coming to our shores or evolving here; and learn to let go of some things that are obsolete.

Let us respect and tolerate differences in likes and dislikes and the demeanour of individuals and social groups among us.

We should be tolerant towards those who do not understand "siong" or "buay tahan". We could always switch to another language, as we are a multilingual society.

What makes Singapore is ever changing - in our economy, politics, demographics, values, lifestyle and language - so let us think about what we could do to mitigate the divides among us.

Let us focus on the most distinguished characteristics of our nation that we want to promote. 

Let these be the common ground or foundation for building a better Singapore.

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