Singapore has to forge a generation of new pioneers in all parts of society for its people and the country to continue to thrive, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.
Doing so, he told 300 People's Action Party (PAP) activists, involves understanding and facing challenges squarely, and having the "ingenuity and tenacity, and sense of togetherness, to turn big problems and constraints into big opportunities".
"This pioneering spirit, this sense of togetherness in our society, will enable us to put forward our best ideas and devote our energies to realise our aspirations - to build a caring, kind society and a society of opportunities for all."
He was speaking at the PAP Policy Forum's 10th anniversary dinner at Orchid Country Club. Mr Heng is first adviser of the forum, a platform for party members to help shape government policies based on ground experience.
Mr Heng noted that this year, when the country celebrates its Golden Jubilee, gives Singaporeans the opportunity to reflect on their journey as one people and commit to build a better future.
The death of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on March 23 was a sad moment, he added, but it also saw Singaporeans showing care and concern for fellow citizens, and reliving the nation's tumultuous years.
There was no textbook for a new nation, yet Mr Lee and the founding fathers forged a way, earned Singaporeans' trust and, "with grit and determination, set out to achieve bold dreams".
Mr Heng said the years ahead are fraught with uncertainty and challenges no less than the ones Singapore's early pioneers faced.
He cited three challenges: rising competition in the global economy, global threats to safety such as terrorism, and the ageing population with its impact on social and economic infrastructure.