20 December 2014
AS WE move towards 2015 and our 50th year of Independence, there will be a flurry of books and articles recalling the challenges overcome since 1965 and the destiny which awaits Singapore. The bigger surprise has been the number of efforts at crystal-ball gazing, attempting to look 10, 25, and even 50 years into the future.
What is striking is how much our imaginations are prisoners of the present. Even though we want to look beyond today and aim to conceive of a world which will unfold in the years ahead, we are shaped by our experiences. Linear projections are common. We struggle to grapple with the possibility of discontinuities, of changes which break existing moulds.
At the same time, our natural optimism leads us to plot a future which highlights our role at or near the forefront of nation states, a beacon of economic development and political stability. When we discuss the possibility of changes, the tendency is to think in terms of incremental shifts.
… The writer is Distinguished Fellow and Bakrie Professor of South-east Asia Policy at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
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Last updated on 27/01/2016