SINGAPORE - While generally optimistic about the future, the majority of Singaporeans want a slower-paced life, a less competitive education system and fewer foreigners - and they are willing to trade off economic growth for that.
This was the picture that emerged from a survey of 4,000 citizens conducted in January as part of the Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) exercise.
The full findings, released last week, had 65 per cent of respondents saying that they were optimistic about the future five years ahead, and 78 per cent saying that the Government was managing Singapore well.
Respondents were picked randomly in proportion to the demographics of Singapore society, and the interviews were conducted face to face. The survey was a separate process from the OSC's over 660 citizen dialogues, and was designed to take the pulse of the "silent majority" who may not have turned up for the sessions.
When asked to pick among competing national priorities, respondents showed more consensus than observers expected. That consensus pointed to a desire for an easing of Singapore's pace of growth and development.
Over 60 per cent said they preferred the preservation of green spaces over infrastructural development, compared to the 19 per cent who picked infrastructural development; 53 per cent wanted the preservation of heritage spaces over infrastructural development, while only 27 per cent went the other way.
Asked to choose between career advancement and a comfortable pace of life, 59 per cent chose the latter. This number swelled to 62 per cent among those married with children.