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Strengthening our social compact in an uncertain and complex global future

Strengthening our social compact will have to go beyond Government measures and redistributive policies. Each of us has to play a part. We must build on the strengths that we have: a sense of unity, a creative capacity and our social compact which has given each one a stake in our country.

But there is nothing intrinsically enduring about these strengths. Our founding generation built these strengths from nothing, through their wits and will. As quickly as these strengths have blossomed, they can also wither if we do not adapt. Each of us must continue to deepen our own values, grow our adaptive capacity, and build meaningful relationships with the people around us. Above all, we must commit to growing new strengths.

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Progress cannot be made by advocating loudly for a single viewpoint: Heng Swee Keat

We must have the humility to recognise that each one of us have our biases and blind spots. We must also have the humility not to assume the worst of every action or comment and exercise forbearance when engaging such issues, given the deep and emotive undercurrents.

"Being mindful of our biases and correcting them is a constructive step towards progress," Mr Heng said. "Progress cannot be made by advocating loudly for a single viewpoint. We should instead seek out the different perspectives and expand the space for convergence. These apply not just to our youths, but to all of us."

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The CMIO classification affirms multiracialism and matters more for minorities

In a significantly Chinese-majority Singapore, the CMIO classification matters more for the minority. The model affirms multiracialism as the foundation of our identity and ensures official recognition of each community..

Removing it could lead to the potential erasure of the distinctive identities of each community, the end point of which is 'assimilation into the majority community', Assoc Prof Eugene Tan said. It would also cast doubt on Article 152 of the Constitution on the special position of the Malays and the interests of minority.

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trade unionism and tripartism

PM Lee said there is no need for Singapore to be defensive of its model of trade unionism and tripartism which has helped us weathered many crises.

In the 1950s, trade unions made common cause with the PAP to press the colonial government for better conditions for workers, and to fight for self-determination and independence. 

In 1961, when the communists broke away from the PAP to form the Barisan Sosialis, the trade union movement also split. The NTUC was established, and stood with the PAP against the pro- communist groups.

Fighting the communists together during the early tumultous years helped forge deep bonds of trust and comradeship between PAP and NTUC leaders. "These bonds endured through the wrenching events of 1965, and saw us through our journey from separation to nationhood," PM Lee said.

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