One for the Books: Singapore’s need for an open-minded, global citizenry

24 October, 2019

Photo: Singapore International Foundation

In view of the recent Singapore Bicentennial, the Singapore International Foundation interviews Professor Tan Tai Yong, (NUS History), on the topics of national identity, global citizenry, international affairs, and multiculturalism. Prof Tan is also a co-author of Singapore: a 700-Year History – From Early Emporium to World City (2019). 

As Prof Tan gleans from our nation’s 700-year long history, Singapore’s survival and success is heavily dependent on regional development, which involves issues around trade, maritime connections, and regional politics. He thus underscores the importance of being a trusted ally both regionally and globally, and of having global-minded citizens who are able to stay relevant in an ever-changing world. Acknowledging the growing volunteer culture amongst Singaporeans, he continues to urge such efforts for Singapore to pay it forward to other countries, and to continue growing a responsible global citizenry.

In the interview, Prof Tan also reflects on the benefits of being a citizen from a small country, from the way it encourages us to be less parochial and more open-minded towards learning from others. He thereby emphasizes the need for Singaporeans to learn from regional neighbours how to function in less structured and more complicated situations, for it is only then that can we learn to build resilience in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, without over-reliance on state governance.

Read the full article here.