Covid-19 may have brought overseas travel to a halt, but it is still important for young Singaporeans to understand their region better and gain a global perspective on issues, said Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, as well as Trade and Industry at a webinar for some 1,200 youth participants recently. For obvious reasons (C-O-V-I-D), our youths of today are facing very unique challenges. Yet, through it all, many are trying to make the most of the cards dealt to them. And, it’s not all doom and gloom! Singapore’s education system has been consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. Our youths are a resilient group. As a multi-cultural society, our diversity is also our strength. It has served to inculcate our youths’ global mindset and strengthened their understanding of the world. In the pre-Covid world, Singaporean youths have had much support for overseas exchange programmes, and internships, honing their skills for globalisation in the process. From the beginning, Singapore recognises that future leaders must have the ability to engage with others from different cultures.
Recognise the Benefits of Globalisation
Today, new forces are reshaping the global landscape. Despite the benefits of globalisation, there are rising calls for protectionism. But this is a path that Singapore can’t afford to go down, we are simply too small to stay closed. A Singaporean mindset based on protectionism serves no one, and will hurt our future generations. “Singapore would be irrelevant to the world and much worse for wear if we are not open to trade, investment and talent. People, jobs, our young and best talents would leave Singapore,” Mr Alvin Tan. Even amid the travel restrictions posed by Covid-19, there are opportunities for young Singaporeans to gain global exposure from home, such as through the Asia-Ready Exposure Programme (AEP).
We need to continually strive to be a place where people and ideas congregate, at the frontier of global developments – that is how we can continue to stay relevant. Our youths need to fight against the adoption of an “others versus self mentality”.
Be Ready for the New World
To our youths, by developing a global mindset and embracing globalisation, we can be better prepared for the challenges of the future! For now, the uncertainties can be overwhelming, but trust that this crisis will end.
It’s not the first crisis Singapore has gone through. Since independence, Singapore has gone through many others and emerged stronger. The next chapter for our youths will look very different but have faith that you will have the support to compete in the new world.