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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

First World Standard Gahmen?

There's a recent debate between PAP and WP over Singapore having a "First World Standard" opposition and ruling party.

MM Lee says that the opposition lacks First World Standard, while WP's Low Thia Khiang says that the PAP lacks a First World government. At least this is what I think they are saying lah.

It's all in the definition of the phrase "First World". What do they mean by First World? MM Lee equates it to the standards given by the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. But I think Low is coming from the grassroots level coz I think that Low is perhaps a better candidate in seeing things from ground level.

If we compare Singapore with all our neighboring countries, then Singapore is indeed First World with great urban planning initiatives and a generally hardworking and illustrious population. We don't experience massive traffic jams and overly irregular/infrequent public transport. We are a beautiful and 'green' city, and our streets are clean. Even the leaves of our roadside shrubbery does not have a layer of dirt on it! These are tangible results that will put a smile on a Singaporean's face when we look back and reflect (especially on National Days). And we realise that Singapore has come a long way - at times way ahead - of our neighbours.

What about the micro happenings within 'the system'? Can we say that the government is made up of First World people? Or is the government LED by a First World person with First World ideals? Definitely something to ponder.

However, I'd like to add that there are deadwood within 'the system' that is a hindrance to Singapore having First World standards. Most are mid-management public servants. It may be a very generic remark that I'm making but in light of this, we cannot call ourselves "First World".

Singapore cannot afford to be complacent and too arrogant about this. We are not First World. In fact, there's alot of room for improvement. We should learn more and STRIVE to be First World. There's only one way to strive forward and improve, and that is to KNOW that we are only Premium Business Class standard. Therefore I agree with both Low (that we don't have a First World government) and MM Lee (that we don't have a First World opposition). I'm sitting on the fence on this.

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