Is It Worth Spending About S$20 Million For The DPRK-US Summit?

Is It Worth Spending About S$20 Million For The DPRK-US Summit?

From a business perspective, there’s a cascade of benefits for us in hosting the historic Summit.

Spending about S$20 million to put Singapore on the world map is definitely worth it.

Some of the benefits are as follows:

1. Earning trust and respect

Hosting the Summit in Singapore speaks volume of our image and standing in the global community.

Such social capital can be more powerful than economic and other capital to improve and strengthen trade and commerce.

2. Publicizing our pro-business environment

As a country without any major natural resources, we have developed farsighted pro-business infrastructures, plans, systems and processes.

And we provide effective support and services to entrepreneurs, investors, customers, and other key stakeholders.

All these and other strengths can help us attract more foreign direct investments, enterprises and tourists to our country.

Through the Summit, we have a good opportunity to showcase our pro-business environment.

Our foreign guests will be able to experience first hand some of the advantages that have helped Singapore achieve high rankings in many international benchmarking studies.

3. Promoting our business ecosystems and partnerships

Singapore was chosen to host the Summit not just because we serve good kopi and teh tarik.

We are known to be credible, trustworthy and principled brokers, and we are discreet in our dealings.

In addition, we have built a healthy relationship with both the US and DPRK.

We have also built positive bilateral and multilateral relationships, and signed free trade agreements with many countries.

Our image and initiatives can help entrepreneurs and investors better connect, collaborate, and co-create solutions in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world.

In doing so, we can position Singapore as a hub and spoke, and router and connector for global trade and commerce.

We can rise beyond our physical and other limitations and turn the world into our hinterland and marketplace.

4. Demonstrating our safety and security

The choice of Singapore as venue for the Summit is a recognition of our image and track record for being a safe and secure country.

Singapore is ranked number 1 for order and security in The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2017-2018.

We are also the world’s safest city according to the 2017 Global Smart City Performance Index.

Being recognized as a safe and secure place can help us attract foreign enterprises, entrepreneurs, investors, and visitors to live, work, learn, and have fun in Singapore.

5. Winning hearts and minds

By hosting the historic Summit, we can demonstrate that we are a responsible member of the global community.

And earn greater respect for contributing to peace-making processes and hopefully, for bringing about world peace.

With a more peaceful and secure world, we can better achieve prosperity and progress for our nation.

In conclusion, let’s do whatever we can to make the Summit a rousing success.

Help our foreign guests enjoy a great and memorable time here.

And put Singapore on the world map for everything great and beautiful.

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/trump-kim-in-spore-for-historic-summit

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My edited letter in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 20, 2018, with the headline ‘A meritocratic society must also help those falling behind’.

My edited letter in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 20, 2018, with the headline ‘A meritocratic society must also help those falling behind’.

https://www.straitstimes.com/forum/letters-in-print/a-meritocratic-society-must-also-help-those-falling-behind

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Enough Is Enough! – It’s Time To Stop Gun-Violence Problems.

Enough Is Enough! – It’s Time To Stop Gun-Violence Problems.

I felt very sad to read about another senseless shooting and killing in the US.

As a retired soldier in the reservist, I like to think few people know the dangers and harms of firearms better than soldiers.

So, I once wrote my 2-cent worth of suggestion to its Big Chief but I’m not sure he has the time to read it.

The US has the highest rate of gun violence in the world.

Yet the sad truth is that this problem cannot be totally eradicated.

The right to bear arms is enshrined in the US Constitution.

According to research from Harvard and Northeastern universities, there are about 265 million privately-owned guns.

It is almost impossible to change the Constitution, and confiscate or remove the guns from at-risk owners.

Having said that, the authorities can treat guns as a social problem.

Subject to the laws in every state, perhaps there are ways to cope with and address such a real and potential social problem.

1. Prevention

The authorities should ensure that guns are sold to the right people.

There should be a background check of buyers to ensure that guns do not fall into wrong hands.

If there are any doubts, monitor purpose for buying the gun and its usage.

Restrict sales of guns, types of guns, and quantity of guns to buyers.

2. Conditions

Licence gun owners and maintain a detailed register of those owners, including means to contact them, and ways to seek their cooperation for safety and security purposes.

Establish conditions on how they should carry their guns, including concealing them in public places.

3. Protection

Law enforcement forces, families and counselors should be given options to restrain suspicious people from owning a firearm.

Those forces should be able to confiscate the weapons from them and prevent them from owning and using the weapons.

They should have the power to order owners to surrender their firearms.

And apply stringent restraining orders to stop them from not only owning a gun but also accessing and using it.

4. Education

People of influence, including community leaders, teachers, doctors, and counselors should be roped in to educate the people from young about risks and dangers of owning a gun.

There should be a training program to ensure that owners know how to control themselves and secure their guns properly, including how to keep guns out of the hands of children and other people.

5. Technology

Technological tools can be used to enhance protection and safety levels of guns.

For example, biometrics can be used to ensure that guns can only be activated and used by owners.

It can also prevent accidental shootings when guns are in the wrong hands.

6. Comprehensive Approach

The National Rifle Association and manufacturers of firearms may deliberately or unwittingly be some of the roadblocks to positive changes.

The authorities should take a multi-thrust approach to persuade them to come to the table to resolve a longstanding problem.

Key stakeholders from the public, private and people sectors should take a concerted approach to prevent or reduce gun violence.

For example, fundings should be raised to conduct research on gun violence, including causes and preventions of gun violence.

With support of proper evidence, they can carry out necessary changes, such as revising the Protection of Lawful Commmerce in Arms.

An Act that prevents victims of gun violence from civil claims against the gun manufacturers may not compel manufacturers to help promote safety and prevent gun violence.

Consumers can also be encouraged to adopt positive changes and reform the industry through bottom-up and peer-to-peer initiatives.

Every life lost through gun violence is one life too many, and it should compel everybody to reflect about gun violence and do something about it.

It is the responsibility of every human to proactively make the necessary changes to prevent gun violence.

Otherwise, the innocent’s blood is on his or her hands.

https://www.google.com.sg/amp/s/mobile.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/us/school-shooting-santa-fe-texas.amp.html

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Building A “Gotong Royong” Spirit

Building A “Gotong Royong” Spirit

In the final analysis, the motives, means and ends of any government policy and initative is to strengthen Singapore and improve quality of life.

That should be the focus and basis for evaluating success of the 4G and future generations of government.

The 4G political leaders should therefore catalyze our people to take a stronger ownership of our communities and country.

Together, we will create more initiatives to build on the “one united people” spirit and strengthen families and communities.

Develop a home where we will have a deeper sense of rootedness and belonging.

Help to take care of each other and look after the last, the least, the lonely, and the lost among us.

We should hold on to a deeper belief that it’s in our Little Bright Red Dot that we can find purpose for living, happiness and fulfillment on individual, family and community levels.

In rolling out any plan, we should aim to build on such a “gotong royong” spirit by incentivizing more bottom-up and peer-to-peer initiatives.

It should encourage more partnerships between the public, private and people sectors and encourage key stakeholders to connect, collaborate and co-create solutions for our communities and society.

We certainly need to foster more helping hands, including non-governmental organizations and volunteers to strengthen the bond between families and communities.

These helping hands can also be deployed to help address challenges of an aging population and potential fault lines that can divide and polarize our people, including xenophobia, not-in-my-backyard syndrome, and even racial or religious misunderstandings.

As a people, we must have the self-efficacy to believe that we can battle all odds as a country.

Every one of us carry equal responsibility to strengthen our social ecosystem and make Singapore a livable and lovable home.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/4g-leaders-to-engage-singaporeans-in-series-of-discussions-to-10246704?cid=fbcna

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Jerusalem, Oh Jerusalem, What Is At The Heart Of True Religion?

Jerusalem, Oh Jerusalem, What Is At The Heart Of True Religion?

Many believers of three major religions are fighting for their spiritual claims on Jerusalem.

They are driven by different motives, rationales and purposes.

As they battle for their so-called beliefs for many long years, we see unnecessary conflicts, challenges, and even bloodsheds.

Meanwhile, the world looks on with bated breath for fear that these battles may trigger the start of yet another tragic war in that region.

That war may very well snowball to become a bigger conflict that involves other countries.

While those believers are battling each other, many in that region and the rest of the world are suffering from hunger and thirst, and all forms of malnutrition.

Have those believers look after the poor, the needy and the disadvantaged?

More and more people are hungry for deeper meaning, purpose and significance.

What have those believers done to feed hungry hearts and minds and help them find fulfillments in life?

Many people out there are suffering from extreme weathers and natural crises.

They are shivering in cold and crying for help.

What have those believers done to give the suffering the warmth that they need for their physical bodies and for their total being?

Many hearts have also become cold out of loneliness, negligence and abandonment.

Have those believers warm these victims with love, compassion, kindness and graciousness?

Brighten their lives with hope and optimism?

And bring healing to those who are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually sick

In almost every part of the world, many are unjustly imprisoned.

What have those believers done to free those who are suffering and deliver them from oppression?

Fight against social injustice and for fellow humans to have equal and better opportunities?

Support those who have turned over a new leaf to have a better life?

Just as importantly, many are imprisoned mentally, emotionally and psychologically.

These prisons can be more frightening than physical cells with locked doors and strong bars.

What have those believers done to release these prisoners from being entrapped by their past?

Help them recover from pains and sorrows?

And restore them from blockages so that they can start life anew and pursue a better future?

In the process of battling for Jerusalem, have those believers cause many to be hungry, cold, and be imprisoned?

If so, then their faith has been held in vain.

Whatever good they have done for humanity have been negated in eternity.

Perhaps, believers need to ask themselves:

“What is true religion and are they practicing their faith correctly?”

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By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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USA – DPRK Summit

USA – DPRK Summit

President Donald Trump and President Kim Jong Un has apparently agreed to hold their historic meeting in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

It does not matter which camp you support in the political arena, there comes a time when we should close rank and rise up, in the words of the Singapore Pledge, “as one united people.”

This is the time for us to take pride in this achievement and join hands to make the Summit a success.

The global spotlights will be on our shining little red dots.

We will have many foreign guests on our shores before, during and after the Summit.

Let us show the world our beautiful country in all its awe and wonder.

Put on our best behavior to be a great host and offer our guests a great and memorable time on our pearly shores.

Years ago, I did a keynote speech for a global economic forum and there were many foreigners from different countries among the audience.

It was sad to hear from some of the foreign guests that they have heard many a negative remark about Singapore from fellow Singaporeans.

I’m sure, some of them left with a less-than-favorable impression of our country.

We should be proud that Singapore has been chosen as the venue for the Sumit.

Why?

Every country seeks to be sought after as an ally, and to be trusted and respected as a friend.

Such soft power can be more powerful than military and other powers to strengthen trade and commerce.

It can also help us improve our geopolitical and other influences, attract foreign direct investments, including private investments, and improve our tourist trade.

If we host the Summit, it will help position Singapore as one of the major hubs for global affairs, and especially in terms of developing peacemakers and strengthening peace-making processes.

It will put us in a good position for stronger growth and a brighter future.

Some of the distinctive strengths that we can bring to the table are our objective, neutral and balanced foreign policies, and proactive initiatives in building positive bilateral and multilateral relationships.

We are a relatively educated, matured and culturally-sensitive populace that has a healthy respect for the rule of law.

Singapore is also a relatively safe and secure country.

Safety and security is one of the most important factors in organizing high level Summits.

Years ago, my company – arguably the largest seminar organiser in the world – had the honor to invite President Bill Clinton to deliver a talk in SIngapore. That was his first trip to Singapore.

We have also hosted General Stormin’ Norman to share his leadership experience in Singapore after the Gulf War.

We have therefore 2-Satoshi worth of experience in making security arrangements.

We can say with pride and confidence that Singapore has a strong, safe and secure environment to protect both locals and foreigners.

Unlike many countries, we don’t have a history of military coups.

We don’t have a few “camps” of armed forces disliking and politicking against each other.

There are also no underground insurgents, religious rebel forces, or internal terrorist groups like those found in some communities overseas.

Our country has deep experiences in protecting VVIPs.

We have ex-military leaders that can be mobilized and deployed for added protection, a plus factor over many countries.

And if you study closely Singapore’s master plan.

Our authorities have designed our country to provide a good quality of life.

Just as importantly, they have also developed our country in preparation for a potential war.

Our fortress-like country gives great security assurance and comfort to VVIPs.

Moreover, over the years, we have built a positive relationship with both the USA and DPRK at different levels.

Many may not know that SIngapore has a positive and reasonably active bilateral relationship with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

After establishing diplomatic relationship with DPRK in 1975, there were many positive bilateral engagements and exchanges.

Many of their senior officials often visit us and were trained by our non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on economic development, law and governance.

We have also trained many of their entrepreneurs on the Singapore-style of doing business, whatever that means to them.

Our humanitarian organizations such as Mercy Relief have provided crisis relief assistance and other resources to them.

Judging from various engagements with DPRK, their leaders generally have a healthy respect for Singapore.

I was told that when our local chapter of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) once conducted a trade mission there, they were given a warm and friendly welcome and positive accords.

At many DPRK’s supermarkets, they import a fair bit of consumer products from Singapore, including vices such as beer and cigarettes and other consumer products.

Singapore is also one of the preferred destinations for many North Koreans for medical treatments.

Somehow, I get this feeling they love the Singapore’s style of strong, clean and rules-based governance and want to learn from us how to run their country with relatively good success.

On our side, I believe we are laying ground work for a stronger trading relationship with DPRK, especially when it decides to eventually liberalize and open its economic doors.

Let each and every one of us do our part to make this forthcoming Summit a great success and put Singapore once again on the world map for everything great and beautiful.

Majulah Singapura!

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/trump-kim-summit-to-take-place-in-singapore-jun-12-10222378

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Attracting Foreign Enterprises and Talents

Attracting Foreign Enterprises and Talents

It’s important to ensure that our infrastructure is not overstretched when we attract foreign workers to our shores.

However, we have to still ensure that we attract an adequate number of qualified foreign talents to contribute to our economy and country.

To do that, we have to aggressively tackle undue concerns about foreign talents and negative rationale that may drive growth of xenophobia.

Those challenges seem to be rearing its ugly head every now and then, and especially on many social media sites.

Our authorities will need to continue to educate our people and promote values and benefits of having an appropriate pool of foreign talents in our workforce.

They need to promote the fact that if the right foreign talents are effectively assimilated and integrated into the workforce, it can be a plus factor to society and a major contribution to our better future.

There are ample evidence to suggest that diversity, pluralism and multiculturalism in our economy can contribute to improving creativity and innovation.

The assimilations and contributions of talents from different communities and countries, and talents with different cultures, creeds and customs can bring forth more unconventional ideas, concepts and models.

It can help to contribute to radical breakthroughs and results.

In the Report by the Committee on Future Economy and Budget 2017, there’s an emphasis on training our people to operate in a global economy.

Besides sending them out to the world, we should also bring the world to us.

Appropriate foreign enterprises, entrepreneurs and investors can help us capitalize on new and emerging products, markets, businesses, and opportunities, and add colour to fabric of our communities and society.

If we can leverage on a wider spectrum of local and overseas talents and enterprises, we’ll be in a stronger position to become a global hub for the new economy.

Go4It!

I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!