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Reinventing Destiny

IPS Conference – Reinventing Destiny

Written By
Louisa Helena Janssen
Track and Field Academy, Diploma in Business, Year 3

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On 14 August 2023, I was given an opportunity to attend the 'Reinventing Destiny' Conference, which featured three panels of experts who gave ideas on politics, governance, and economics, to continue developing Singapore. It closed with a dialogue with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, moderated by CNN host and columnist for The Washington Post, Dr Fareed Zakaria.

The conference provided me with many new insights and made me think of the different ways I can help contribute to ensuring Singapore’s economy success and continuity. During the Conference, there were discussions on the importance of turning our vulnerability as a nation into a strength rather than letting size define us. Singapore’s focus should be on ensuring our dynamism and growth. To strive for positive change, we should increase efforts to be open to bringing in talents from other countries as well as provide Singaporeans with maximum opportunity and cultivate innovative individuals, focusing on the importance of meritocracy.

As a student-athlete, I also face the challenges of not being as strong as other competitors. Rather than focusing on my weaknesses, I should use my skills to step ahead.

The Conference also highlighted the importance of finding an identity in a diverse society. Social cohesion will always be a major factor that plays a part in Singapore’s success. Thanks to our former Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and his ambitious and calculated ideas, Singapore stands as one of the strongest countries in many areas, including transportation.

The conference opened my eyes to the potential challenges we continue to face as a nation, such as disruption of peace in the trading world and global warming. The panelists provided many solutions and were clear and compelling in their speeches, with a large emphasis on the instability of globalisation and how we use globalisation to ensure the success of Singapore. This can be managed by strong leadership and focusing on the close collaboration between the public sector, people sector, and private sector. We must continue to be adaptable to constant change and nimble in the face of adversity. We have to choose to be bold. This gave me a sense of gratitude to know how devoted so many people are to ensuring Singapore’s future.

An example of a potential threat to not just Singapore’s trade but the world trade would be the ongoing China and USA trade conflict. Singapore, known for neutrality, was challenged at the conference to choose a side. Mr Lawrence Wong was very clear that if a choice is made between China and USA, the choice would be based on what benefits Singapore. This gave me realisation that in life there would be many conflicts and challenges. However, one must stay true and continue to be one united nation.

Now more than ever, I hope to make a difference in ensuring Singapore’s continuity and economic success.

Written by
Tertius Zhuo Zheheng
Track and Field Academy, Diploma in Business Studies, Year 2

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The essence of Singapore's success is captured in its aspiration for global excellence. The nation's ambition and courage to strive for world-class status set it apart, while its unwavering commitment to self-improvement keeps it at the forefront of progress. Singapore's strategic alliances and openness to global talent contribute significantly to its innovation ecosystem, emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between globalisation and its success. However, a delicate balance must be maintained, as the cautionary note on the potential vulnerabilities of openness underscores the need for prudent safeguarding against risks.

These are some of the key insights from the ‘Reinventing Destiny’ conference by the Institute of Policy Studies. The panelists highlighted pivotal considerations for Singapore's future trajectory. The importance of effective governance, as exemplified by Mr Lee Kuan Yew's leadership, remains a linchpin of Singapore's success. A strong government catalyzes driving and sustaining growth, implementing forward-looking policies, and ensuring stability within a rapidly changing world.

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics emerges as a crucial pivot for Singapore's future. Embracing AI technologies while understanding their appropriate application positions Singapore to harness the power of automation, data-driven decision-making, and enhanced efficiency across sectors. This strategic move aligns with the nation's legacy of adaptation and innovation, ensuring Singapore remains at the forefront of technological advancements.

The conference also prompts contemplation about intergenerational responsibility. The term "strawberry generation" coined by one panelist highlights the generational shift and the challenges it brings. The upcoming generation holds the reins for Singapore's future growth and resilience. It is incumbent upon them to continue the legacy of ambition, adaptability, and innovation while addressing the unique dynamics and demands of their era.

In conclusion, the ‘Reinventing Destiny’ conference encapsulates Singapore's journey of transformation and provides a blueprint for its continued success as a small state in a complex global landscape. By staying true to the values of creativity, innovation, adaptability, and effective governance, Singapore can navigate challenges and seize opportunities to shape its destiny positively. As the nation forges ahead, it must uphold its legacy while embracing new technologies, fostering global collaborations, and nurturing the next generation of leaders who will carry forth its legacy.

Participating in the conference was a pivotal experience for me. I absorbed a wealth of valuable insights from Singapore's success story, which in turn instilled a sense of hope and determination to embark on my own journey of personal reinvention. One quote that deeply resonated with me was: "Fear of failure constrains your potential." Although originally framed in the context of Singapore's endeavours, I found a personal connection to this message. It has inspired me to push my limits, work diligently, and steadfastly pursue my current aspirations and goals. Even though this conference was mainly in the context of Singapore, I took the time to write down some notes and took time to reflect on how I can reinvent myself.

Mr Lawrence Wong and Mr Piyush Gupta were my favourite speakers. The ability they have to reciprocate and speak calmly to questions was incredible. I had an opportunity to have a short conversation with Mr Piyush Gupta, and he was incredibly humble and polite. I will forever remember what he said: "Fear of failure constrains your potential."

I will take what I have learnt and apply it to my future endeavours and fulfil who I want to be, as it has been a weight on my chest as I strive for excellence.

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