PM Lee's message timely, say experts

SINGAPORE - A day after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged young Singaporeans to seize the day, MPs and academics gave their take on the significance of his message.

They said on Wednesday that his choice of venue shows he wants to directly assure the country’s youth that they have a future and a role to play right here in Singapore.

Mr Lee had made the call at a student forum at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

The experts also said the message is timely because young people are worried about job security, cost of living and not being able to do better than their parents.

A large part of their anxiety, they said, is fuelled by their own higher expectations of success and their hurry to achieve it.

MP Irene Ng said: “As daunting as the future may seem to young people sometimes, we should help them acquire an outlook of optimism and hope. This positive attitude is crucial for them to succeed.”

This is not the first time a prime minister has delivered such a message to a young audience.

In 2002, then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong challenged young Singaporeans to rise above their mood of despondency about the country’s future amid competition from other countries and their fears of a brain drain to these places.

Don’t be quitters, but live up to the founding generation’s never-say-die spirit, he had told them.

On Tuesday, PM Lee’s call to the young centred on the exciting opportunities that are theirs for the taking in a globalised world. He urged them to build on the older generation’s achievements.

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