Aspire, and do Singapore proud
PUBLISHED ON 29 Dec 2017
I held a dialogue with students from a Polytechnic recently.  

Using Mentimeter, I asked them what is their desired jobs?  The top answer was: entrepreneur.  (Engineer was a close second.)  I then asked what was preventing them from achieving what they wanted to do.  The top answer was: Money. 

Upon my clarification, the students told me they needed capital to start their business.  We then had a lively exchange about Singapore’s economy, their aspirations, and their education and career options.  

A new generation is growing up, and as one of the two Ministers for Education, I have had many conversations with them.  I find them more risk taking, more prepared to take the plunge to try new things, and many aspire to be entrepreneurs.  Part of this is because parents are providing the support for them to venture.  
As we all know, all round the world, entrepreneurship will always have its fair share of successes and failures.  But even if unsuccessful, if the young learn from their setbacks, they can bounce back stronger and wiser.  
And entrepreneurs need not just do business.  Whether it is Government or private sector, MNCs, SMEs or start-ups, VWOs or political parties – Singapore needs people with an entrepreneurial and enterprising spirit.  That’s how our society can stay vibrant and dynamic. 
That is why we continue to reform our education system, to tap into the aspirations and enthusiasm of the young, impart them with values and skills relevant to the future, and put them on a path of lifelong learning. 
The new generation is exposed to technology and the Internet from young.  They have a world view that is broader and wider.  On a daily basis, they are bombarded with videos, memes, messages, articles – and over time they discern what is real, authentic, trying too hard or fake.  They know what to TL;DR, discard, like, or share.  They may not be totally adept at it yet, but they will have to hone this as part of their survival skills in the information era. 
As parents, we will always worry about our young (It’s our job!). We can even be quite critical of young people.  But I know this generation will grow up well – resourceful, independent, diverse, enterprising and do Singapore proud.  I know because that’s how my parents’ generation felt about my generation, and I think we did alright.
2017 is coming to an end.  I hope everyone have had a good year. I wish you a happy 2018, filled with happiness, peace and optimism. 

Ong Ye Kung
Organising Secretary
People’s Action Party