So what is the good life in Singapore? [feat. Forward Singapore]
While Singapore has long prided itself on its economic success, a new government document signals a shift toward a more holistic vision of national progress. Forward Singapore, a 180-page roadmap unveiled recently, lays out an ambitious plan to redefine Singaporeans’ relationship with work and pursue greater well-being and fulfillment for all.
On a recent take of the “Forward Singapore” movement, our hosts, dove deep into the implications of this vision.
Our hosts bring with them a single’s perspective, married and married with children views to the table. They will cover the basis from flexible work and eldercare to stigma, education pathways, and shaping the next generation’s dreams.
The conversation kicked off on a light hearted note, as one of our hosts had to read the entire 180-page document three times. But the tone quickly turned serious as they unpacked the challenges of achieving work life harmony in a nation still accustomed to long hours and hyper-competition.
“We’re striving for 3.5% GDP every year,”
“That strive is the reason we have something called the ‘Singapore Walk’ – the pace in which we walk is far superseding almost every expert.” This relentless growth mindset fuelled Singapore’s hustle culture and high-stakes education system. Both take a toll on well-being.
This pursuit of ever-faster growth poses a question if Singapore should mandate work life harmony policies or merely encourage them? Different approaches were discussed on the various merits. Should a stronger top-down action sooner rather than later?
There have been positive changes already underway, from fast-spreading work from home to seniors’ communities springing up island-wide.
But it is agreed that bolder steps were still needed, such as building larger public flats encouraging multi-generational living. And industry standards mandating minimum vacation time, as Reggie suggested. The government could then focus on “incentivizing and pushing you towards those behaviours.”
4 Signs Singapore Is Embracing Major Societal Changes
1. Remote and flexible work arrangements have taken off due to the pandemic and are herestay.
2. Active lifestyle communities for seniors with amenities, clinics and social spaces are popping up across the island.
3. Attitudes towards working parents have shifted to accepting video calls and child tenduring office hours from any location.
4. Young talent is demanding better work-life balance and walking away from companieswith rigid expectations around hours logged.
What’s Next for Singapore?
Kudos to Forward Singapore for “legitimizing” citizens’ aspirations and initiating honest discussions. Still, work remained to flesh out policies upholding values like fulfillment, community and stress reduction over exclusively economic benchmarks.
As the nation continues refining its vision, “Forward Singapore” will stay at the forefront, scrutinizing proposals and spurring further debate. In showcasing both challenge and hopeful direction, the podcast proves an engaging forum for charting this pivotal transition. With societal well-being now a priority, Singapore is redefining progress for the future.
You will definitely want to check out their full interview on Spotify, Youtube, Apple podcast.
We also did a Part 1 of Forward Singapore – discussing on the shift from the Old Singapore Dream, housing, CPF, local companies and its growth but also the overreliance on cheap foreign labours and its impact.
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