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Hard Questions for Singaporean Values




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If you consider the progress of Singapore in its relative short time as an independent state, it is a rather astonishing success story. In this time, it has risen to be a world leader in a range of fields and a country that is a respected partner of the international community. This leads many to assume that Singapore is on the right path and that it should stick to many of the ideals that have helped it to gain this position. However, there are some who are questioning this premise and believe that change is needed for the future to remain bright.

Two of these individuals are Sudhir Vadaketh and Donald Low. In their new book, Hard Choices: Challenging the Singaporean Consensus, they pose a range of tough questions to the ideologies that many Singaporeans take for granted.

The issues that they cover in the book are wide-ranging and they point to certain assumptions that the government has operated under for decades as the potential causes for some of the current problems that exist in Singaporean society. Along with that, they also identify problems that could arise in the future as the result of continuing on this path.

Included in the book is a critique of the strictly meritocratic society that the nation has come to embrace and how the blind devotion to this type of society has lead to problems of income inequality and stagnation in the ability of lower class Singaporeans to achieve upward mobility. In addition, they also question whether the levels of repression that were once accepted as part of keeping the nation safe and orderly are still necessary and if they are even compatible with the modern society that exists in Singapore today.

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This book can be an interesting read for both Singaporeans and foreigners alike. Some of their points are worth consideration and you can certainly find data that supports some of their claims. If you accept the idea that the nation needs significant change, then what you must also address is what these changes are and how they should be made into a reality.

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