While the Government needs to continue to provide necessary physical and social infrastructure in order to safeguard the population from future challenges, it also needs to ensure that Singaporeans remain resilient, especially with increasing volatility being seen around the world.

Nominated MP Professor Tan Tai Yong made this point during the Budget debate in Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 4), as he shared examples on what he felt could be done to “toughen up” Singaporeans and make them more adaptable to change.

“Australia has regular water rationing,” he cited. “Not because of any crises, but because of a need to educate and remind its people that water is in very short supply. If ever there was a severe drought, its people would be able adapt.

“We can try this. We can get parents and schools into the act – should more students take the school bus to school, rather than being chauffeured by their parents. Only 20 per cent of primary school-going children take the school bus to school.

“This percentage should be far higher, given the congestions we already have on the roads. And there have been suggestions, which I personally think are very good, that we get our students to clean up and be responsible for their own school environment, instead of relying on cleaners.

“In sports, athletes build muscles and mental strength through training and conditioning, so that they can excel in strenuous and challenging competitions. In the same way, we need to build ‘muscles’ in young Singaporeans, to give them the will, capability and strength to face tough conditions, when they come, as they will surely do.”

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