MM Lee stresses need for S’pore to keep pace with technology


Lee Kuan Yew doesn’t do Facebook. CNA, with video:

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”. …

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.”


8 Responses to “MM Lee stresses need for S’pore to keep pace with technology”

  1. 1 patriot

    Me has been trying to figure out Lee Kuan Yew’s fetish with the English Language for decades, but somehow could not find myself an explanation.
    And the reason why me am looking for an explanation is that me believes the English Language is never as potent as he arrogates.
    My personal guesstimate is that; no more than 20% of the countries in the World use English as official or national working language, do they lose out in anything?


  2. 2 Anonymous

    Ever heard of the 20/80 rule? That 20% happens to control 80% of the world’s economy, technology, services, etc. I am sure Ethiopia, Erithea, Yemen, North Korea, and all those island nations in the Pacific and Atlantic do not lose out in anything.

  3. 3 TWOG

    I guess it is the 80/20 rule at work here. Those 20% of the countries that you guesstimated happens to control 80% of the world’s economy, technology, services, etc. You are right – I am sure Yemen, Ethiopia, Erithea, North Korea, and those Pacific and Atlantic island countries do not lose out in anything.

  4. 4 genesome

    Seems as if China, India, Indonesia and the Middle Eastern countries must have lost out in science, technology and business and their people must be living poorer than the Africans who have incidentally favour the English Language over their own mother tongues.

  5. 5 Joker

    So, the Philippinos must be very advanced and rich as most of them speak American English.

  6. 6 patriot

    Me was and is wondering if fetish to a language could be more of a psychological tunning, that is to say that if one stays for a prolong period of time in foreign land or was colonized by alien of very different culture, it could result in one suffering from mutation of culture by preferring more of a non-native nature.

    And could there be a danger that once the cultural mutation gets latched on, subsequent generations could be; read could be, genetically affected and have their Native(original) Culture replaced?

    It is just curiosity, however, me am unable to buy the argument that there is a language that made some superior and in command. Anyway me subscribes to the fact that all men are equal. So, if anyone thinks he/she is superior due to command of a language, enjoy your ‘You think and therefore You are’ euphuism. Me most glad to see happy people even if that happiness is attributed to conceit.


  7. 7 Count

    Money talks. For now, it speaks English Nuff’ said.

  8. 8 BE

    English is definitely not a must tool for a country to be outstanding in the world. But Singapore is different. Singapore has all along been a multi-racial society. Chinese, Indian, Eurasian and Malay are 4 main races in Singapore, each race having their own mother tongue. Had English not been our working language, there would be hindrance towards the internal functions in our country. If chinese were to be the working language, how would it be fair for the Malays, Indians and Eurasians? And if our working language was Malay or Indian, how would it be fair to the Chinese, who make up a majority of people in Singapore? I am sure that would have cause a lot of trouble for working documents, resulting in work to be less efficient. And how would the races be intergrated as one whole Singapore? There would be social segregration. Since English is the international language, it does make sense for it to be our working language, so that every singaporean has a common language. This not only helps in bonding singaporeans together, but also reaching out the other countries and in terms of work administration.

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