Sunday, January 27, 2013

We are small fry.... forget first world hype

From The Straits Times January 2013
In a Civil Service career spanning 40 years, Ngiam Tong Dow has served as Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Trade and Trade, the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of National Development. Concurrently he also chaired the Singapore Economic Development Board, the Development Bank of Singapore, Sheng-Li Holdings (restructured to be Singapore Technologies Holdings), the Singapore Telephone Board which merged with the Telecommunications Department to become the Telecommunications Authority of Singapore.

Mr Ngiam Tong Dow's worry for singaporean is that it has begun to believe it's own propaganda that it has arrived as first world city. He said in the article that it is a complete delusion on our part to think that Singapore can become first world city such as New York, London and Tokyo. As a little red dot, we suffer from inherent limitation of "space, size of population, depth of talent pools and political influence".   He says Singapore should focus on being a solid “second upper" city. It is more realisitic to position ourselves as the best in class to the world’s 2nd tier international cities such as Zurich, Boston, Sydney. These are cities with approx. 5 million  of well educated people and they compete on knowledge.
The differentiator for successful cities is not cheap labour but competent labour. Singapore over the past decade has pumped up workers skill for higher level jobs and improving standards of schools ( p/s : and now the polytechnics and expansion of universities have been vigorously taking steps by the ministry of education ). Asking the right question today is the most important factor for Singapore future sustainability. Example the question on right size of Singapore population. He charges that authorities debated how to create higher density city with highrise flats but that is only a physical constraint and not economic constraint. He said the question should be whether we could sustain the economic livelihood of 6 million people. He wants to see what kind of Singapore his grandchildren will see in years from now. The best way to view Singapore as a work in progress.. like climbing up a mountain to success and never to arrive there. The moment you reach the summit, the only way is down. Likewise in Singapore , we should not believe we are already First world or that we have reached the pinnacle.

I quite agreed with above article and also think it is true in the perspective of space of our local shipyards compare to other countries like China, Korea,etc..  ..  are we able to beat them in productivity with our limited resources and infrastructure ??? Not possible to-date... wait till Sembawang Mega Yard starts operational another year's time.....

Refer below study report giving the insights on other  country yard sustainability and competitiveness  

TOPIC: Sustaining competitive advantage in the global economy
TITLE: Competition in the shipbuilding industry
AUTHORS: Anh Nam Sung is a professor at SolBridge International School of Business.

Below article also relates to size and competitiveness in view of Singapore's landscape and population. Technology will be the focus for the country to survive and  key to success if we wish to compete with others.

18Jan2013 Excerpts From Straits Times
SINGAPORE is positioning itself to take advantage of global megatrends that will shape the decades ahead, said Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang. Megatrends set to change the way we live include: Asia's growing importance and economic integration, urbanisation, and changing demographics and technology.
Mr Lim said: "We are too small to influence global developments and events... what we can do is align Singapore's position in anticipation of the major trends and be nimble enough to ride through short-term volatility."
Mr Lim was speaking at the Credit Suisse Global Megatrends Conference at W Singapore Sentosa Cove Hotel yesterday.
Megatrends are key economic, social and political forces which are relevant across decades. They are usually long term in their effect, involving a steep change in a region's economic growth rate.
One key trend is Asia's rising importance and the economic integration taking place in the region.
The Asian Development Bank predicts that Asia will account for more than half of global economic output and own half of the world's financial assets and institutions by mid-century, he noted.
He added: "This projection is one of many which are reflective of the optimism and growth potential that we see not just in China, but (also) Indonesia and other South-east Asian countries."
It is not just China's rising consumption, but also India, whose middle class is tipped to surge to nearly 600 million by 2025, and Indonesia, where almost 60 per cent of households are expected to be middle class by 2020.
Asian countries are also expected to consume and trade more with one another as developing economies in the region become wealthier, he noted.
Singapore is strategically well-poised to benefit from these trends, as it is positioned as a hub for the globe to capitalise on Asia's growth. He said: "Singapore exists at the confluence of these emerging trade routes within Asia and between Asia and other regions."
Another major trend is urbanisation and sustainability, as global economic growth puts more stress on the environment. The world's 23 megacities are forecast to double in number by 2030, with most new megacities in South and East Asia, he said.
Singapore can play its part. The annual World Cities Summit held here serves as "a platform for the exchange of leading-edge ideas on building liveable and sustainable cities", said Mr Lim.
The country is also keenly involved in sustainability research, with two ongoing programmes on energy resilience, and land and liveability, he said.
Demographics are another key trend. Developing countries with young, growing workforces have the challenge of creating enough jobs, while advanced economies face rapidly ageing populations. Developed countries can import young labour or use technology to make up for an ageing workforce.
Mr Lim said Singapore is positioning itself to attract companies to monitor and make sense of these changes within Asia. For instance, the Asian Consumer Insights Institute based here is helping companies develop and test Asian-specific business strategies and products.

Technology is also a major trend, reshaping the social compact between states and citizens, said Mr Lim. "The trend of more data and greater openness will continue," he said.
Singapore has tapped into the data revolution rather early, he noted, making 5,000 data sets from more than 50 government agencies available to the public.
Meanwhile, Credit Suisse has designed a traffic light system for outlook to aid investors for its megatrends framework.
Themes with a poor score will get a red signal, indicating an underweight rating or time to take profit. Those with high scores will get a green light, denoting an overweight call or time to build exposure. Scores are based on various factors such as long-term growth prospects, relative valuations and price trend.

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