Forum: Why Singaporeans cannot afford to give up the rat race, Forum News & Top Stories

The Straits Times editorial published on June 17 referred to the young in China wanting to give up the rat race (‘Lying flat’ in China bears watching).

Some young people in China want to “tang ping”, translated as “lying down” or “lying flat”.

As mentioned in an earlier article published on June 12 (‘Tang ping’ trend: China youth join calls to get out of gruelling rat race), the practice may have led some to lose ambition and adopt a passive attitude towards work.

It may eventually lead to “nei juan” or involution, the opposite of evolution, which in turn could affect China’s progress and development.

I think the authorities in China do not have to worry much about “tang ping”.

Big countries like the US, Britain and China with huge populations can afford to relax.

But in Singapore, which has a small population, every individual contribution counts. We cannot afford to be complacent. Moreover, we have no natural resources. The only asset that Singapore has is its people.

Fortunately, we do not have natural disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes or extreme weather.

Therefore, to survive in this competitive world, it is important that we have good leaders and a well-educated and hard-working population ready to face the future with confidence.

That should be the fundamental approach to begin with, and the rest is about how we adapt to the changing circumstances and make ourselves relevant to the rest of the world.

We must never ever rest on our laurels. Constantly acquiring knowledge and skills is the only way for us to stay ahead in this survival race.

Ong Heng Poh

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