With my vision of goumet fondue hopelessly gone, I'm so glad that that the PAP is now painting a new vision for the future in this election.
OUR vision in this manifesto is to make Singapore a land of opportunities, a dynamic economy and a vibrant city.
Yes, Singapore is indeed a land of opportunities. A dynamic economy is important...so is being vibrant. I look forward to the casino after recent developments such as Crazy Horse and bartop dancing......is really pumping Singapore up into a vibrant society.
We want an open and inclusive spirit, one which values individuals and welcomes every contribution. We want a fair and just society which judges people on merit, which encourages achievement and excellence and which takes care of our weaker members.
Wow, see how kind the PAP is? Just a few months ago, one of your neighbor might have had his utilities cut off because he couldn't afford the high utilities rate. The transport cost in terms bus fare was raised during the economic slowdown despite strong unhappiness from the poor. After the last elections the GST was raised so that the income tax for high income earners and businesses can be reduced.....thousands of low income individuals who pay no tax, now have to pay more in GST. I'm just so glad the PAP now has a vision to help the poor, it is very thoughtful of them during this elections to do something.We want a safe and harmonious community with different races staying together as one people, one nation, one Singapore. That's an ideal, that's a vision.
To ensure this safe society we have to regulate the Internet and control the media, the unions, curtail the basic rights of people such as the right to protest etc. We also ensure that the races are properly mixed up in the correct proportions by imposing public housing quotas - such quotas are not applicable to private housing such as condos and landed property. I'm so glad after 40 years of social engineering we are not complacent and even more social engineering and controls will be put in place in the near future.But to make this vision become real, you need strategies, you need plans, you need programmes. So we have two complementary strategies. First moving ahead, open up new opportunities, so that all those with the ability and drive will succeed, both for themselves and for Singapore.
Yes, we have to identify them early give them overseas scholarships, high flying jobs in the admin service, SAF and GLCs...and have these opportunities lined up for them. Just take the "minister to be", SAF Rear Admiral to CEO of HDB to Minister. We should be glad that the elites in our society are given so many opportunities to serve us. We can be sure they are the best people for the job because no-one else will be groomed but them.
This means creating opportunities for Singaporeans. It means having investments, attracting investments, creating new jobs. It means encouraging entrepreneurship, getting people to venture, take risk, start new businesses.
It means if you are good in something, then you have a chance to become really good at it and to excel and to stand out with your expertise.
It means cheering on winners, so when somebody does well, you say good for him, let us emulate him, not put him down.
There are many examples of opportunities which we have created, business to sport, academic, public sector, private sector across the board.
In business we have Singapore companies which we have done well. I would like to mention one today -- Charles & Keith. They started in Ang Mo Kio at a neighbourhood shop, my GRC. Shoes are expensive and anyway Asian feet are different from Western feet. Western shoes don't fit. Make shoes to fit Singaporeans. Succeeded, now they have 50 shops in 10 countries.
I myself strongly support Charles & Keith, I'm just so surprised they are able to overcome the high rentals and business costs that stifle small businesses in Singapore.
So the first thing we must do is to get opportunities for Singaporeans. Then we have to give our young the best start. It means you need excellent schools, you need outstanding universities, polys, ITEs. We must prepare our children for the future and we must provide better chances for people to make good and opportunities for people who don't fit the traditional route to take other routes and to come up and do well later. And it has to be across the board. Thirdly, on opportunities, we want every citizen to play a role. We want to involve Singaporeans in national issues.
The PAP has been able to create so many opportunities, so many opportunities that they have to give scholarships to foreign students. Today about 80% of the top 20% of engineering students are not Singaporeans. Singaporeans from middle income families pay full fees while foreign students enjoy scholarships. But let us not be small minded and begrudge them because these foreign students will then graduate and take up the best jobs in our economy. This will keep our economy and the corporations at their competitive peak earning the best profits possible. Singaporeans must learn to accept this and most have already done it without a whimper of dissent or debate, the globalisation arrive at our door step and we swing open the door. ...no need to debate the consequences, we all assume we will be winners at the end of the day.
We want to build up civic groups and foster self-reliance and I think there is a growing sense of shared ownership, that not everything should be done by the Government, that where there's an issue, don't ask that question No 1: 'What is the Government going to do about it?' Say: 'What are we going to do about it?'
So you see in the latest disasters, the tsunami in Aceh, the earthquake in Muzaffarabad, in Kashmir, when our groups go to help, it's not just the SAF but also Red Cross, Mercy Relief. They are NGOs, they are civic groups.
So we have more opportunities in Singapore for everyone but at the same time, we will help Singaporeans to progress not as individuals but as a nation, to care for others who need our help, to help one another to succeed so that they can progress as one people.
And we will do this too.
First, we will do more for lower income Singaporeans. We have many programmes, helping unskilled workers to upgrade themselves, helping poor families to own their homes, there's the CPF grants, helping children to make good in school, which is most important so that the next generation can do better. Another way we stay together is by helping older Singaporeans to lead full and active lives. Get them to work longer, get them to stay active, get them to move about easily.
I'm so glad that the govt has this vision of Singaporeans working longer. When I go to foreign countries, I always see the old folks wasting their time in the parks or playing around with their grandchildren...but not so in Singapore, when I go to the hawker center the old cleaner who can barely walk is still undertaking a useful task of cleaning the tables. When my friends from overseas (even China) visit Singapore, they are so amused by the large number of elderly we have working as cleaners, MacDonald's etc. I'm so glad that this part of the vision has been accomplished already, Singaporeans are so lucky to be able to make themselves useful longer than people of other countries. ....we will work even longer in the coming years thanks to PAP's new vision....