Economic growth is the only way forward

I LIKE Monday’s editorial (“Navigating the way forward”) on the need for a united people and good government to navigate the way forward for Singapore.

But in which direction should we go? Let us examine what we want.

We want a less crowded Singapore with fewer foreign workers.

This is ideal but we have to balance this with our economic structure. We have no natural resources and our economic growth is entirely dependent on manpower.

If our economy is weak, with no foreign investments, there will be no work to attract foreign workers here, and even our own people would have to emigrate to find work.

We want better public transport, infrastructure and housing. Sure, if we have the money, these expectations can be easily met.

We want more subsidies for better social services.

It is good that Singaporeans have empathy for the disadvantaged, but this has to be balanced with affordability, otherwise we will go down the road of bankruptcy taken by some countries.

We do not want our children to be stressed with too much work. But we must be aware that Singapore’s prosperity depends on its ability to be one step ahead of others. If we do not have something more to offer than others, we will soon be overtaken and become irrelevant.

My message is that we, a little red dot with no natural resources, have no choice but to keep working hard to excel. The only direction to take is towards economic growth and prosperity.

I belong to the pioneer generation that grew up on Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s constant reminder that there is “no free lunch”. We tightened our belts and united behind our leaders.

I am happy that the present generation of Singaporeans is having a better life than we had. I hope they will be able to navigate the country in the right direction, so that future generations will be able to enjoy even better lives.

Dr George Wong Seow Choon

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