include("cmp.php");

The talk by PM Lawrence Wong

About 900 tertiary students attended the talk by PM Lawrence Wong (“Lawrence”) recently.

Students took the opportunity to ask many questions. One of them asked him - “how young people here can stop comparing themselves with others when they exist in a system that constantly compares them against others, such as at the workplace.”

Well, young or old, we tend to compare ourselves against others. For the young, they still have runways to make u-turns and make the most of their lives. For the older folks, close to retirement, the sand in the hour glass is fast running out. And health is always the issue. They thus have shorter runways to make u-turns.

Here comes Lawrence’s reply.

He reminded the students that he had made a speech to redefine success. He said we are moving away from the “much-vaulted 5Cs - cash, car, credit card, condominium and country club.”

Lawrence aims to build a society that “allows space for U-turns, side-steps, slow-downs, pauses, experimentations and outliers. We want to broaden our concept of achievements.”

He added: “One where we can all strive to be the best possible versions of ourselves. One where our success is defined by how we help each other to do well collectively.”

Hm…it’s a familiar script. Leaders can’t go wrong with that. But script requires actors, and actors require ticket buyers. And ticket buyers have to give a good review of the script acted out on stage. Alas, one season comes, and another season goes; whichever way the wind blows, we will sail together with the flow.

But how do we stop the comparing then?

Lawrence was grounded enough to say it is impossible. We live in a competitive society, from day one, when we first enter childcare. He said our society is organised around a “command structure”, and it is inevitable we will have leaders and followers.

There will be hierarchies of ranks, abilities and achievements. Some will outshine others. They will get more attention, recognition and pay. Reality bites; sometimes it gnaws at us. That’s a fact.

Yet, like in a family, we can’t change the number of kids we have under one roof, or their genetic makeup. But we can work together to make it a nurturing home, and not just a house with four walls.

I think that’s what Lawrence is talking about, though the challenge, in his case, is complex and daunting since it’s nationwide, with 6 million people (and counting) under one roof.

I nevertheless take his cue on the part about striving to be “the best possible versions of ourselves”. And it is defined by how we help each other to do well collectively.

That comes with acceptance. It means doing the best we can, with what we have, wherever we are placed. Expect storms and dry seasons though, but don’t sail with a broken rudder. Don’t lose the plot and drop the steer. Don’t surrender, and let the tide take over. Be the better angels of ourselves, don’t give the devil free rein.

We accept what is given, where we are, and who we are, and improve from there. It is about reconciling with our past, and shaping our future. The present is therefore our sturdy rudder. That is what Lawrence meant by “be the best possible version of ourselves.”

You compete not just to do better, but more importantly, to be better. It is a “competition” of character building, not a competition to prove that I am better than you.

You compete against yourself, and you go beyond achievements based on material success to accomplishments based on being a better you.

Achievement benefits only you, and you leverage that for bragging rights. Accomplishment however is about being a part of something beyond yourself so that your actions benefit all.

The difference is that one is about character building in a virtuous circle of blessings to others and the other is about building yourself up in a vicious circle where nothing is ever enough.

It will take time to accept that or to see beyond the rat-race waiting for you after you graduate or when you look back at the trail and lament over what could have been (thereby, living a life of quiet desperation). Tbh, I too am still struggling with it, hoping that I will swallow every word I have written here, and not just leave them out in a cold platter for display.

But, what is the alternative? Either we spiral upward, making every notch counts, or we spiral downward, sinking into a swamp. If a plant leans towards the sun, let’s always choose the right alternative, every step of the journey, in every twist and turn.

And here’s a toast to good choices, affirming life, affirming other lives.

 

Michael Han

* The author blogs on Facebook.

 

yyy
READER COMMENTS BELOW

18 Responses to “The talk by PM Lawrence Wong”

  • Talk is cheap:

    Yes, let us all help CSJ to be the best version of himself. Make him an MP. Make him the PM.

    Yes, let us collectively help him.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • rice:

    Yeah,so many of the MIW who screwed up big time were allowed U-turn after U-turn.
    The G is not so kind towards others not from their flock?

    What we need is to put SINGAPOREANS FIRST.
    Instead, the LHL govt did the reverse even when it comes to ALLOCATING SGS’ RESERVES TAKEN OUT FOR TIDING OVER COVID.
    SAVE JOB$?
    WHOSE?
    CANT WE CUT WAGE$$$ THAT ARE $KY-HIGH?
    Why treat elderly and needy sgs by short-changing them of $22.9K as per grant per capita of $23.5K ?

    Ya,pls U-TURN GRC.
    It gives rise to mediocrity in Government.
    This is not healthy.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Vicious or Virtuous:

    Wrt the high humongous pay of ministers cause me to question whether it is a vicious circle that the pappy ministers are storing up or building their character in a virtuous circle of blessings to others.

    Please advise.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Vicious or Virtuous:

    Wrt the high humongous pay of ministers cause me to question whether it is a vicious circle that the pappy ministers are storing up or building their character in a virtuous circle of blessings to others.

    Please advise.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Singaporean R Free Rider:

    Talk is cheap:
    Yes, let us all help CSJ to be the best version of himself. Make him an MP. Make him the PM.

    Yes, let us collectively help him.

    Yes, Talk is cheap.

    Let’s round up all Opposition pro democracy supporters and send them to Ukraine frontline to fight the invading Russia forces.
    https://youtu.be/Oa7uw4ByZHQ

    I am a Ukrainian patriot.
    But I am afraid to die defending our freedom.
    https://youtu.be/6cjqD1E-9KY
    So I ran away.
    I prefer cannon fodder GMS to die on my behalf so that I live to party on.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • 2Daft2Live:

    Man! This entire article just goes round in circles talking about nothing useful for resolving the problem! There is no effort spent to identify the causes just talking about the effects! And then more talk about camouflaging or accepting or painting in good lights the effects. I almost thought this is a MIW’s article! I will be kind to give some hints to the causes.

    1) Employers want the best worker at the cheapest wage rate. But they can’t pay peanuts else MOM will freeze all their foreign worker quotas. So, they grudgingly hire a few fresh grads to hoodwink MOM and use their academic results as an excuse not to spend too much time interviewing.
    2) After they start work, whatever academic results a grad has is no longer of any concerns. From then on, it’s all about work performance.
    3) Unfortunately, those who don’t even get into the door will now be doing grad food, driving private hire car and whatever not to try and make a desperate break-through.

    The above give an illusion that grades are important, getting a head start is a ticket to a good life and yadda yadda. But this failure to identify cause and effect is creating a huge gap between what the private sector and economy needs and what our educational institutes are churning out. And all to the detriment of the country and the collective future.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • ClapX:

    Clap, clap, …

    2Daft2Live: Man! This entire article just goes round in circles talking about nothing useful for resolving the problem! There is no effort spent to identify the causes just talking about the effects! And then more talk about camouflaging or accepting or painting in good lights the effects. I almost thought this is a MIW’s article!

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • dodo:

    The educational institutes are looked after by that guy who once upon a time said he wanted to be the pm. lol!

    2Daft2Live:
    Man! This entire article just goes round in circles talking about nothing useful for resolving the problem! There is no effort spent to identify the causes just talking about the effects! And then more talk about camouflaging or accepting or painting in good lights the effects. I almost thought this is a MIW’s article! I will be kind to give some hints to the causes.

    1) Employers want the best worker at the cheapest wage rate. But they can’t pay peanuts else MOM will freeze all their foreign worker quotas. So, they grudgingly hire a few fresh grads to hoodwink MOM and use their academic results as an excuse not to spend too much time interviewing.
    2) After they start work, whatever academic results a grad has is no longer of any concerns. From then on, it’s all about work performance.
    3) Unfortunately, those who don’t even get into the door will now be doing grad food, driving private hire car and whatever not to try and make a desperate break-through.

    The above give an illusion that grades are important, getting a head start is a ticket to a good life and yadda yadda. But this failure to identify cause and effect is creating a huge gap between what the private sector and economy needs and what our educational institutes are churning out. And all to the detriment of the country and the collective future.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Singaporean R Free Rider:

    ClapX:
    Clap, clap, …

    2Daft2Live: Man! This entire article just goes round in circles talking about nothing useful for resolving the problem! There is no effort spent to identify the causes just talking about the effects! And then more talk about camouflaging or accepting or painting in good lights the effects. I almost thought this is a MIW’s article! I will be kind to give some hints to the causes.

    Dear ClapX,
    Apart from being a parrot flapping clapping your wing, what productive action has Opposition taken to help you ?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Justsayonly:

    When you got enough $$$ to last a couple of generations, you talk about following your heart & dreams.

    When you worry about your next month expenses, you just shut up & do what you’re told to do.

    This is reality.

    LW is talking abstract & the young people listening like little baby birds with opened mouths.

    When the rubber hits the tarmac, the smells & the sounds will be clear.

    This is reality.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Singaporean R Free Rider:

    Justsayonly:
    When you got enough $$$ to last a couple of generations, you talk about following your heart & dreams.

    When you worry about your next month expenses, you just shut up & do what you’re told to do.

    This is reality.

    LW is talking abstract & the young people listening like little baby birds with opened mouths.

    When the rubber hits the tarmac, the smells & the sounds will be clear.

    This is reality.

    So what is your solution?

    Everyday whine and whine and whine only ?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • 2Daft2Live:

    No, LW is talking like he is a pastor preaching to his flock. Sounds all good and uplifting. Except when the collection plate is passed around and you reached into your pocket to fish for some loose changes; you realized that you have none.

    In church, tithe and offerings are optional but accommodation, electricity, water, public transport and other basic necessities are mandatory. You get taxed whether you are gainfully employed or not; GST is mandatory. Welcome, daft sheepies….the MIW now want you to feel good and uplifted while squeezing every last drop of your blood.

    Justsayonly:
    When you got enough $$$ to last a couple of generations, you talk about following your heart & dreams.

    When you worry about your next month expenses, you just shut up & do what you’re told to do.

    This is reality.

    LW is talking abstract & the young people listening like little baby birds with opened mouths.

    …….

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Dalai Says:

    2Daft2Live: Man! This entire article just goes round in circles talking about nothing useful for resolving the problem! There is no effort spent to identify the causes just talking about the effects! And then more talk about camouflaging or accepting or painting in good lights the effects. I almost thought this is a MIW’s article! I will be kind to give some hints to the causes.

    That’s a little off given that LW/MH confuses Social Darwinism with fair competition. Proper laws and regulations allow fair competition that benefits society as a whole, not just the few….and we are ANGRY when SOMEONE tries to get ahead through ‘wrong means’. At the very least, we need an epistemology of an ethics of play, especially the social injustices around us and the manipulations of the state.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • 2Daft2Live:

    Dalai Says: That’s a little off given that LW/MH confuses Social Darwinism with fair competition. Proper laws and regulations allow fair competition that benefits society as a whole, not just the few….and we are ANGRY when SOMEONE tries to get ahead through ‘wrong means’. At the very least, we need an epistemology of an ethics of play, especially the social injustices around us and the manipulations of the state.

    Social Darwinism started in independent Singapore when LKY went all out to ensure his son became the 3rd PM of SG. Enough said.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • ClapX:

    Why you so busybody?

    Singaporean R Free Rider: Dear ClapX,
    Apart from being a parrot flapping clapping your wing, what productive action has Opposition taken to help you ?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Singaporean R Free Rider:

    ClapX:
    Why you so busybody?

    Why you behave exactly the same as Hong Kee pro U$ demoncracy rioters and In God We Tru$t Americunt? Tell the truth and you are silenced ?

    Only You can have free speech and people who oppose you are suppressed/oppressed/silenced ?

    Fact Check yourselves.
    Activist free speech suppressed/silenced
    https://youtu.be/jqQafSSpU3M

    Bush suppressed Free Speech
    https://youtu.be/ALYPqniYssM

    Pastor Wu suppressed Free Speech
    https://youtu.be/ZFK0jCozq2o&t=2s

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Sporeans Keep Govt Employed:

    Ban PMDs and bicycles.
    These people can walk but too lazy to do so.
    PMD riders stop their lorry chia outside NTUC and then WALK into the 4d/toto booth to huat.

    A lot of then are inconsiderate. The vehicle takes up so much space on the MRT and in sto0res.

    They also pose a danger to other road users.

    They don’t pay road tax, insurance or COE. Just speed like they own paths.

    Singaporean R Free Rider: Why you behave exactly the same as Hong Kee pro U$ demoncracy rioters and In God We Tru$t Americunt? Tell the truth and you are silenced ?

    Only You can have free speech and people who oppose you are suppressed/oppressed/silenced ?

    Fact Check yourselves.
    Activist free speech suppressed/silenced
    https://youtu.be/jqQafSSpU3M

    Bush suppressed Free Speech
    https://youtu.be/ALYPqniYssM

    Pastor Wu suppressed Free Speech
    https://youtu.be/ZFK0jCozq2o&t=2s

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    Sporeans Keep Govt Employed:
    Ban PMDs and bicycles.
    These people can walk but too lazy to do so.
    PMD riders stop their lorry chia outside NTUC and then WALK into the 4d/toto booth to huat.

    A lot of then are inconsiderate. The vehicle takes up so much space on the MRT and in sto0res.

    They also pose a danger to other road users.

    They don’t pay road tax, insurance or COE. Just speed like they own paths.

    Fully agreed with you on this.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...

Leave a Reply


Official Quick Links
Members LoginContact UsSupport Us
Sponsored Advertisement
Search On TR Emeritus
Sponsored Advertisement
Advertisement
Recent Comments
Advertisement

Announcement

UA-67043412-1