Besides being a time for joyous festivities, the year-end season is also a period for reflection, introspection and resolutions. Taking the whole lot of -tion suffixes to heart, here are eight things we – the team at petir.sg – hope for as we ring in the New Year.
1. A leadership transition that goes without a hitch
When Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong announced his plans to hand over the leadership to the 4G team before the PAP’s 70th birthday, it ended months of speculation about when and if the transition would ever happen. In all honesty, nobody expects upheaval and strife like the Game of Thrones in our placid political landscape. But considering the 14 million outcomes Dr Strange saw in The Avengers, indicating a world where all kinds of possibilities exist, we are still hoping for a transition that goes smoothly without a hitch. And as PM Lee had said repeatedly, DPM Wong would need the same support from all of us for it to happen. And when it does, it will mark a new chapter in Singapore’s history.
2. Strong economic recovery across all sectors
Without a strong economy, a country falters. For that reason, economic growth is high on our list. Because let’s face it. 2023 has been a sluggish year, ending with a GDP growth projected at around 1.0 per cent. While the figure is not entirely catastrophic in the current climate, it hardly brings confidence either. Therefore, with air travel and tourist arrivals on the up and a easing of core inflation to a 25-month low, there are good reasons to stay optimistic about the year ahead.
3. More assurances from Budget 2024
What would be the one event in Parliament that even the most politically apathetic individual looks forward to? The Budget speech, of course. Earlier this year, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Lawrence Wong gave us a Valentine’s Day present in the form of a fair and inclusive Robin Hood-esque Budget. And considering the global headwinds, we are definitely hoping for more of the same. A Budget that would help ease the cost of living, provide more assurances to the underserved and underprivileged and turbocharge the economy to drive growth.
4. Greater strides towards a fairer and more inclusive society
Actions speak louder than words. And so far, the Forward Singapore exercise has led to policy changes in education, housing and employment practices that reflect a fairer and more inclusive society. Into the second year since its launch, we want Forward SG to gain further momentum in driving social change. From redefining the strict definition of success to embracing diversity, it is our wish that Singapore will always be a welcoming home for all, now and in the future.
5. Growth as a regional entertainment hub
Already a financial and travel hub, could 2024 be the year Singapore solidify its status as an entertainment hub? It would seem that way, thanks to global superstars such as Coldplay and Taylor Swift performing multiple sell-out shows in the upcoming months. Coincidence? Maybe. But as a secular, stable and well-connected country with state-of-the-art infrastructure, it was inevitable that Singapore would emerge as the beating heart of music and nightlife in Southeast Asia. And that, along with more world-class acts, is something we hope to see.
6. Glory at the Paris Olympics
Much has been said about the state of sports in Singapore. However, much more is being done to promote sporting success at all levels and support our athletes on the world stage. With the Paris Olympics a couple of months away, we cannot wait to cheer on Team Singapore as they fly our flag high. Besides, it’s been nearly eight years since our last medal. Therefore, we have high hopes that Shanti Pereira might be the one to break the dry spell and make sporting history. But even if medals are off the table, having a nation unite towards a common goal is what sports is all about.
7. Stronger ASEAN cooperation
In many ways, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) resemble one big extended family. There will be plenty of rows and differences but also deep ties and historical bonds. With the world in geopolitical and economic turmoil, ASEAN could fracture if every country starts looking inward. However, we hope not. As PM Lee shared during the ASEAN Summit, “We have to redouble our efforts at economic integration…only then will we be able to secure stability and progress in the region.”
8. Real and lasting peace
The conflict in Gaza, the invasion of Ukraine, and even the clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh. All of which has led to the unnecessary loss of innocent lives when surely, there must be a better way of doing things besides resorting to warfare as if we are still living in the Middle Ages. Looking at these pockets of unrest, it is hard not to sound like a beauty pageant contestant, but real and lasting peace is what the world needs and what we hope to see.
Photo Source: URA/ MOF/ Edwin Tong/ Lawrence Wong/ Vivian Balakrishnan/ Lee Hsien Loong via Facebook