Strengthen S'pore spirit to keep country attractive

Strengthen S'pore spirit to keep country attractive
2. Singapore

MR VICTOR Mills, chief executive of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, brought up a very real and immediate problem for Singapore ("'More Singaporeans feel that they are owed a living' "; Jan 24).

I run a medium-sized marketing communications company.

In the past three years, we have been engaging with regional economies deeply and have hired talent in these countries, including the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

However, my management team and I have noticed that the value we produce versus the cost of doing business - especially the cost of talent - has been declining steadily in Singapore in comparison with the other markets.

Last year, the decline was even more pronounced, causing us to become worried.

Mr Mills' observation, as well as his anecdote about his assistant finance manager who turned up for work for just one day and then disappeared, is very real.

Ill-qualified, arrogant, closed-minded young professionals are "rock stars" only in their own minds. They deliver success in patches or for a limited period only, and yet, think they deserve a pay rise every three to six months.

They are fed a diet of vacuous and well-meaning - but ultimately damaging - words of praise, and are junkies of instant gratification. This attitude is prevalent among not only the younger population but also senior professionals well into their 40s.

This is a critical issue that almost all organisations here face.

However, I believe in the Singapore spirit.

Yes, our neighbours in South-east Asia and India are hungrier and more productive, but the Singapore brand is strong and is still attractive.

I hope this year's SG50 celebration is the first of many steps to strengthen our nation and unite our people.

Under former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, we wanted to be a rugged society. Under Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, we became a more gracious society.

Now, we are striving to be an inclusive society.

I urge the private sector, schools and the Government to work together to reinforce our nationhood principles, which are the basic building blocks to achieving this aim.

Let us inculcate a sense of enterprise, endeavour, generosity and tolerance in our young, as they are our future.

Kunalan C. Doraisingham

This article was first published on Feb 02, 2015.
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