Happy National Day, Singapore! A 53rd birthday celebrant would be well into their middle-aged years already, but for a country, it is still young!
Although our pioneer generation is in their twilight years (with many more having regrettably passed on) Singapore is still a young and vivacious nation.
No, that’s not the propaganda talking – it’s the truth.
Where the average history of a nation is currently around a hefty 200 years, 53 years seems like we have merely stepped out of childhood into adolescence.
But therein lays a choice – to grow or to wallow.
As PM Lee said in his National Day address, we are a nation of opportunities. That means that we have a choice of grasping the chance to grow as a nation…
…or to be complacent and eventually become stagnant.
A Land of Opportunities
Singapore today is a nation of opportunities because each generation has built a better home on the foundations laid by those who came before them. And this is why today, every one of us can pursue our passions, excel in different fields of endeavour, and strive to create a better tomorrow.
Frankly, not many people have the opportunity to pursue their passions. Even in developed countries, many households earn less than they expend.
They struggle to make ends meet, much less the pursuit of their dreams. This is the same even in Singapore.
However, the current labour market is at an all-time high, with fewer people getting retrenched and more job vacancies in the first three months of 2018. Retrenchments are at a 5-year low and for the first time in 2 years, there are more job vacancies than jobless people!
It is a sign that we are still growing, as PM Lee said, “Our economy continues to grow steadily – around 3 to 3.5 per cent in recent years.”
Our Open-book Future
Now, it’s our generation’s turn to build on what we have inherited, and make our own contribution to the nation. As a National Day song puts it, “There’s a jewel on the ocean, a gem upon the sea;Where the future is an open book, A land of destiny.”
Are we taking advantage of the opportunities we are being given right now? Many people say that “the younger generation” are being too picky, too uncommitted, with unrealistic expectations.
While that may be true to an extent, that’s not the full story. After all, times are different now.
Millenials are able to wait for the job offer they want. There are now more short-term money-making options than ever. By giving tuition or driving for Grab, many are able to tide through until they find their ideal job.
Compared to the past where it was imperative to snap up whichever offer you got first, it is now much, much more beneficial to enter the field you really want.
Additionally, to some – job-hopping is a way of life. With as many job vacancies as there are people (or more), there is far less competition for jobs overall. This does not mean that there is no competition for jobs at all – in fact, there is even greater competition over good jobs with well-known companies and employee-friendly environments.
Which leads back to the point that millenials have unrealistic expectations.
With such great competition over well-paying and employee-friendly jobs, there is an even bigger imperative to improve on both hard and soft skills.
We still have to pursue our future ourselves, not expecting to be spoon-fed.
After all, don’t say we never give chance.
Survive or Thrive?
In the end, the government will ensure that Singaporeans are able to survive by eliminating homelessness and starvation.
However, are you satisfied to just survive?
The present that we have is built on the foundation of our previous 53 years and can be just as easily unmade in the next 53.
What future will you create for yourself in our “Land of Destiny”?
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