N.2010.11.19 - MM Lee

MM Lee stresses need for S'pore to keep pace with technology
By Imelda Saad | Posted: 19 November 2010 2218 hrs
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew (file picture)
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MM Lee stresses need for S'pore to keep pace with technology

SINGAPORE: Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has stressed the need for the country to keep pace with emerging technologies to stay ahead of the game.

Speaking at Hewlett-Packard's 40th anniversary here, he noted how technology "extends the reach of every country".

Speaking to an audience of about 200 customers, partners and employees of IT company Hewlett Packard), Mr Lee traced Singapore's early strategies in developing its economy.

The first strategy was to attract multi-national companies because Singapore's small bases means it would be a "pipe dream" for the country to develop its own companies and expect them to compete with successful ones in other parts of the world.

The second strategy was to use the English language to train workers at all levels.

"Had we taken Chinese as our working language, there would not be a Singapore today as it is. How would we make a living? How would we connect with the world?

"But we speak English and of course we got Chinese as a second language, so we connect with them, not speak with them at the same level as they do, but we get by!" said Mr Lee.

Mr Lee said Singapore's future in the next five to 10 years will depend on where the world would be then.

He said there will be a multi-polar number of big consumer countries, with the emergence of twin giants India and China - and Singapore must be ready for them.

"Whatever it is, if we stay ahead of our neighbours, we will play a key role. We are at the centre of an archipelago. We are connected not just with the archipelago but the whole wide world and we are the exchange.

"Whatever the changes in technology, the catchment gets wider with each change and as long we keep up - our people, familiar with the latest technology and its use, we should be leading the pack.

"But to do that, we need a stable society, we need safety in that stable society, health, and a conducive living environment. In other words, easy to go to school, easy to come back, easy to go to hospital and come back and facilities are all available.

"A person needs to have a life free from unnecessary hassle. That's what we set out to create and that what we need to keep on improving on. Doesn't matter how the world changes we got to stay ahead of the pack."

Mr Lee also got the audience in stitches about his own experience in adapting to technology such as Facebook and Blackberry.

"Somebody put me up on Facebook but that's it. I don't see any point in that.

"I haven't gone on to Blackberry because it's too small for me and my thumb (laughter) so some things I don't try but otherwise I keep up with it."

As the years go by, Mr Lee noted the quality of investments Singapore attracts must change to keep pace with the expectations of workers.

This means attracting higher value-added MNCs in services and manufacturing.

- CNA/fa


150 youths engage in closed-door dialogue with PM Lee
By Imelda Saad | Posted: 19 November 2010 1926 hrs

SINGAPORE : Some 150 youths on Friday got a rare chance to engage Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on issues close to their hearts.

Held fittingly at youth park *SCAPE, the closed-door session saw youths, aged between 17 and 35, discussing the theme "Youths Inspired".

Organised by the National Youth Council, the dialogue, which lasted one and a half hours, was an opportunity for young Singaporeans to share with Mr Lee their dreams, inspirations and challenges they faced.

Topics covered areas such as the economy, society, people and the future.

- CNA/ms


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