By: KW Ang
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak have both made a show of embracing China over old Western allies, motivated in part by a desire to attract more investment.
Our millionaire mathematician still doesn’t realise that China’s cheque-book diplomacy, buying off Southeast Asian countries one by one is working exceptionally well! And now we’re increasingly isolated!
As a bona fide Singaporean, I’ll tell you what’s wrong.
Although we are very smart, academically, we are generally not sparked to be very pro-active, problem solvers or even strong initiative takers. Most of us are very risk-averse and do not like to work in an unstructured or ambiguous environment.
In addition, hierarchy is highly respected and we have learned to respect the wishes of our bosses. All these characteristics make it hard for us to come up with creative ideas and implement changes, let alone be entrepreneurial.
As a result, we ‘attract’ foreign talent. Be that as it may, if innovation is essential in today’s economy, we will need to attract more and more foreign talent, a vicious cycle.
Whilst we have established significant short-term growth, we will experience different challenges on the long run.
We are the New Sick Man of Asia, or worse the Pariah of the East and West! What the millionaire mathematician can’t fix he simply brands it the new norm: low GDP, frequent MRT breakdown, China-manufactured lifts, etc.
And the enemies are now at the gate.