Updated: Nov 20, 2021
Question: Do you think that good leadership, the ability to anticipate change, the practice of meritocracy or creating a stake for all is more important for a good government? (8m)
a. Good Leadership
Good leadership will contribute to the progress if Singapore. Good leadership refers our government having honest, capable and courageous leaders to lead the country. When we have honest and incorruptible leaders, the citizens will trust them more. This will enable everyone to work together to achieve progress for Singapore. When we capable leaders, the country will also have the best ideas to develop Singapore fully. For example, the early leaders in Singapore came up with the Housing Development Board to solve our housing and space. Finally, if we have courageous leaders they will be to think of the long term and take action even if it is unpopular. Recently, despite knowing that the circuit breaker was harmful to many people, the government still instilled on one to curb Covid-19 spread. Singapore can produce good leaders for the government because of our selection process. When students are young, the gifted are channelled to Gift Education Programme. These students are nurtured to become bright and capable students in Junior Colleges. Later on government scholarship are given to the best students. These scholars later come to serve in the government. Hence, having good leaders is important for the progress of Singapore.
b. Anticipate Change
A good government must also have the ability to include anticipating change. In order to do that, our government must be forward-looking, future oriented, predict future trends, and devise creative and innovative solutions to try to address these new trends and patterns that are showing up. Only by being forward looking, can our government ensure that our country is developed properly for the benefits of all its citizens. One good example is our water resources strategies that were conceived in the past. One of the main problems that confronted us when we gained independence was the fact that we had very little self-sufficiency in terms of water resources. As a result, we had to buy imported water from our neighbor Malaysia. Our leaders knew that that was not wise to depend on another country for our water supplies. As a result, very early on in our history, huge emphasis and resources were devoted to train more people in water technologies and research in water technologies. All this has borne fruits for us as a large of our water supplies now come from NEWater and desalinization which are build and run by our own people. By looking forward and anticipate our future needs, we have become more prosperous on our own without depending on others.
Good governance must also involve the value and practice of meritocracy. Meritocracy refers to a system where those in society with the best abilities and talents are rewarded with success and progression. This is usually the result of hard work put in by people. Singapore practices meritocracy in rewarding those with better abilities and not their social class, race, religion or nationality. For instance, in the school system, those who do well in their studies will be rewarded with Edusave Awards as well as scholarships. At work places and government service, employees are assessed and rewarded based on their performance and outcomes at work. This practice of meritocracy ensures that there is fairness in the reward and incentive systems in Singapore so that trust I build with the people. Everyone is brought up to believe that he/she stand a chance at gaining success because of their hard work not their birthright or other criteria.
d. Stake for All
A good government will also strive to create a stake for all citizens in a country. Creating a stake for all means creating a sense of belonging to a country, a sense of ownership of the country and that it emphasizes that every citizen in the country matters. This stake for all can be created by involving as many citizens in the decision making process. For instance, in 2015 a series of conversations called the SG50 conversations were started by the government to envision what Singapore will be like in the next 50 years. Many local citizens were invited to focus group discussions organized by the government and much feedback were invited from the public via other feedback channels like forums, chat groups, emails, etc. Many of the ideas brought up were also shared publicly on newspapers and websites started by the government. By engaging the public and citizens in charting the future of the country together, the government is creating a stake for as many citizens in the country as possible. A sense of belonging and ownership for a country can also be created by building of common living spaces that is actually owned by the citizens. For example, the government through the Housing and Development Board helps more than 80% of Singapore households to buy and own their flat. This creates a sense of ownership and that many citizens has a piece of Singapore and hence will fight for it. When a stake for all is created properly, citizens will feel valued, love the country more and be willing to contribute more to build the nation together. Thus, developing a stake for all is important.
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