At a time of great uncertainty and great global turbulence, Singaporeans should count our blessings, said former diplomat Kishore Mahbubani.
He was speaking to The Straits Times at the sideline of the World Economic Forum at Davos on May 28, 2022.
He cited three blessings that Singaporeans have.
1. A remarkably effective public service
He started off by paying tribute to the public service, saying that it is now able to handle a major crisis like Covid-19.
“Our management of the Covid-19 shows that we have built a remarkably effective public service that is now able to handle a major crisis like Covid-19. I think the record will show that Singapore has done a better job than most countries in the world,” he said.
2. A peaceful region
The second blessing is the fact that the region Singapore is in – described by Mr Kishore as “one of the most diverse on planet earth” has enjoyed 40 years of peace.
“No other region has got 250 million Muslims, 150 million Christians, 150 million Buddhists and I can go on. And this diverse region, quite remarkably, has enjoyed 40 years of long peace. And we should appreciate that as we look at turbulence in other regions.”
3. A larger region that is open to free trade agreements
And lastly, Singapore is blessed that there’s a larger region, East Asia, that hasn’t turned away from free trade agreements (FTAs).
Case in point: the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCE)) launched in Jan this year.
The RCEP Agreement is essentially a FTA between 15 countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, Australia, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand – making it the world’s largest FTA, comprising about 30 per cent of global GDP and about a third of the world’s population.
“I have absolutely no doubt that RCEP will give a significant boost to the growth of our region and to the growth of Singapore,” he said.
You can watch the full video here.
Cover photo credit: NUS Medicine and Wikipedia