Just a couple of thoughts after watching the tv telecast of conversations with the Prime Minister.
High on the list of topics is how to encourage Singaporeans to have more babies. Or, to put it in another way, what drives people to have babies? The Waiting puts it best in her post “The Person I Waited For“. If you enjoy the experience she describes (and mind you, you will only be able to really experience it if you have a child of your own), then you will want to have children. Wanting them and getting them, of course, are two different things but at least there is the desire. That immediately ups the odds. As for the incentive schemes that the government can roll out, honestly, they are good to have, they make life easier as a new parent but honestly none of them will actually swing my vote when I next ask myself: Do I want another child?
The other topic that gave me a slightly more interesting throught is that of “What next for Singapore?” Perhaps because the first person I discussed this with after the telecast was the IT manager of my firm, the topic brought to mind strategy games like Civilisations (which I’ve never played before but assume is similar to another game I have being Pharoah – they are all about building a city/country/civilisation), where you always start with building farms, hunting lodges etc, followed by more advanced industries leading to trade. Then when your people are wealthier you build schools. To me Singapore is kind of at this stage. The past 40 odd years have been about nation building and now our people are generally well fed, have a decent job and getting a good education. There will always be the few who fall through the cracks, like how some of my huts somehow will never evolve into spacious mansions, but generally the city is developed and people now need more. So you go into entertainment and things like that. Of course, comparing nation building to a computer game is grossly over simplifying the matter but its just something that popped to mind as to how surprisingly true to life these computer games are. I do indeed think it is time for Singapore to mature in the areas of arts, sports, culture etc. Of course, unlike the computer games, there are other fundamental issues to solve like the (perceived?) erosion of values, excessive stress, widening gap between rich and poor, affordable housing. All not issues with easy answers.
No wonder my colleague (not Singaporean) says he does not envy the government of Singapore. Frankly I don’t envy the government of any country. Its not an easy world to be in these days.