Singapore

DPM Tharman: Ride waves of change to stay ahead

Singaporeans must be prepared to ride wave after wave of change to stay ahead, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said yesterday.

Each wave will disrupt and displace jobs, but people can make up by being part of the new opportunities created, he added.

This will involve significant changes in education and culture. Singaporeans must have diverse experiences when young, which will help them develop the soft skills needed to embrace change.

People should embrace the mindset that they must keep growing throughout life, Mr Tharman said.

The young should also be encouraged to have more free play, which gives birth to "a sense of dare and ambition", to foster entrepreneurs.

Singapore has an advantage.

"We are starting from a position where we don't have big problems. We... have a legacy of a strong education system," he said. "More diverse experiences, growing through life, and more free play when young is not going to wreck the system. We can only improve."

The dialogue at Bukit Batok Community Club with residents aged between 17 and 35 was organised by the People's Association Youth Executive Committees in Jurong GRC, Yuhua and Bukit Batok.

Participants discussed issues that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had raised at last month's National Day Rally with all five Jurong GRC MPs and Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai.

They had questions on the impact of disruptive technology on jobs, ways to encourage entrepreneurship, and changes to the elected presidency, in particular the provision to have minority presidents from time to time as the office symbolises Singapore's multiracialism.

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