Singapore—The country’s Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing expressed concern over Hong Kong’s future, given that the city has experienced widespread and increasingly violent protests over the last five months. Mr Chan said that events have reached a “breaking point” in Hong Kong.
Channel NewsAsia (CNA) quotes Mr Chan as saying,
“Unless calm is restored, dialogue commences and constructive actions taken, there will be grave doubts about Hong Kong’s future and the sustainability of its current governance model.”
But while talking about the difficulty of Hong Kong’s current situation, the Trade and Industry Minister expressed the hope that things would turn around soon.
“We wish Hong Kong the very best and sincerely hope that the situation will improve soon,” he said.
Speaking at the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s office at The Treasury, the Minister also said: “what has happened in Hong Kong can easily happen to Singapore if we are complacent or not careful.”
Mr Chan said that there have been people who have asked him about whether what is happening in Hong Kong could happen in Singapore, and TODAY reports that he invited members of the press to talk about it.
“Many Singaporeans have asked if what happened in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the world could happen in Singapore, and what can we learn from the developments in Hong Kong and around the world. And my intent today is not to pass judgment on others, but to draw lessons for ourselves.”
The four lessons to be learned from Hong Kong are: how important it is to have a political system that functions well, long-term policies that are good, social cohesion and conflict resolution, and finally, the need for staying relevant for smaller city states.
First, Mr Chan said that a well-functioning political system working hand in hand with public service in in facing challenges, implement policy and make people’s lives better. Channels for citizens to give feedback so that further action can be taken are also important.
“Regardless of political systems and party interests, the exercise of leadership must be to put people’s and country’s interests foremost.
Only with a well-functioning political system, the right political culture and a well-oiled feedback-to-action mechanism can we make adjustments to policies as necessary, execute decisively and communicate effectively.”
Regarding the second lesson, good long-term policies, Mr Chan said, “Our success must also be determined by our ability to enable the next generation to do even better than us. Today, too many governments and societies are too focused on the immediate and domestic, without sufficient considerations for the future or external.”
As for social cohesion and conflict resolution, the Trade and Industry Minister had this to say:
“Unity amidst diversity requires all parties to bear in mind the wider good of the country, while championing the respective wants of specific communities. To insist on maximal individual gains, at the expense of the common and collective good, cannot be the Singapore way,” which, he explained, includes dialogue and productive steps as part of conflict resolution.
Finally, Mr Chan said that its is important for smaller city-states to have a conventional hinterland for supplies, markets and opportunities, CNA reports.
“Singapore will have to pick up the pieces ourselves should things go badly wrong,” he said.
The country cannot take its relevance for granted, and its citizens need to keep on working hard to maintain excellence.
“City-states that cannot provide opportunities and hope for their people will fracture. City-states that have no relevance to the world will be ignored and bypassed. City-states that are unexceptional will also not last long in history. So Singapore’s continued relevance to the world is never a given.” -/TISG
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