Singapore—Writing in The Straits Times, Indranee Rajah outlined why Singapore Together is more important than ever, even as Covid-19 hit the country “like a wrecking ball” causing Singaporeans to face “the crisis of a generation.”
Ms Indranee, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education as well as a Member of Parliament for the Tanjong Pagar GRC, noted that it has been one year since the Singapore Together movement was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat. The movement is all about the partnership between private citizens and the Government as the country moves into the future.
She then began listing the achievements of the Singapore Together movement in such areas as the environment and youth involvement. However, things have changed due to the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were moving forward at a steady tempo when the world changed. Covid-19 hit us like a wrecking ball,” wrote the Minister. “The pandemic has inflicted a terrible toll in human lives and the count continues. The economic fallout has been as spectacular as it has been unprecedented.”
She went on to enumerate the problems brought on by the pandemic, such as job losses, widening inequality, mental health issues, and more—calling the pandemic “the crisis of a generation.”
Therefore, Ms Indranee wrote, “Against this backdrop, Singapore Together has become even more imperative and necessary.
With the multitude of challenges ahead, we will prevail only if we are united, combining our strengths, talents, wisdom, experience and resources. We must leverage the power of partnerships to emerge stronger as an economy and a society and to prepare for the future.”
And a “good start” has already been made, with different initiatives such as the National Jobs Council led by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam promising not only to save jobs but create new ones, as well as train and upskill workers for positions in different sectors.
The Minister listed other endeavours where the Government has partnered with the private sector in different areas such as education, homelessness, and the like.
Ms Indranee wrote, “Covid-19 has operated like a giant reset button for the whole world. The global lockdowns and our own circuit breaker is a shared experience of an entire generation. It is now seared into our collective consciousness and will influence our attitudes and thinking for years to come.”
She added that while each person’s experiences at this time has been unique, there are common themes that bind our stories, and wrote of a need to “to reflect on our experience, to make sense of it and ask what we want for ourselves and for Singapore in a post-Covid-19 era.”
For this, the Minister announced a series called “Emerging Stronger Conversations” that would “explore what kind of society we want to be and engage each other so that we can build that future Singapore together.” She added that Singapore Together Action Networks would be set up depending on “the issues and priorities that arise out of the conversations.”
For this, Ms Indranee called on the participation of all Singaporeans.
“Do lend your voices to these conversations and consider what you can do with the Government and others to shape the Singapore of tomorrow….
Our strength lies in our unity, our can-do spirit and the partnership between government and people. We will emerge stronger because we are Singapore Together.” —/ TISG