I will be voting for the third time as a Singaporean on July 10. For the past two terms, I’ve voted for the now retired Minister Khaw Boon Wan (Sembawang GRC) because he’s a competent MP and a compassionate human being. And because Minister Khaw has retired, I started to research seriously into who I can vote for, or support. This election, I’m extremely concerned with the topic of how Singaporeans can be more future-proof, when it comes to meeting the requirements of the new workplace and economy. So today, I would like to bring your attention to Dr. Jamus Lim and his stance on this topic.
Apart from doing super well in last night’s debate, Dr. Jamus Lim actually makes a lot of sense about preparing our people– especially the young– for the future of work. And this is the one thing I wish everyone knew about Dr. Jamus Lim: He actually feels like a candidate who can inspire our younger and middle-age Singaporeans into adopting a growth-mindset, which can then lead us to thrive in the new economy.
I truly only started caring about this topic at the start of this year, when three of my smart and hardworking friends suddenly became unemployed and underemployed as a result of COVID-19. One day, I went to dig up Singapore’s recent unemployment statistics. My personal takeaway is that “just upskilling” is not enough: we need a growth mindset to prepare Singaporeans for the new economy.
To illustrate how a growth mindset is important in today’s rapidly evolving world, let me quote this paragraph:
When someone has a growth mindset they believe that they can continue to learn and become more intelligent with effort. In contrast, someone who has a fixed mindset believes that they are born with a certain amount of talent and intelligence and that cannot be improved no matter how much effort they put forth.”
Now, promoting a growth mindset is absolutely critical to our survival as a country and as a people. Technologies these days are progressing so rapidly that even industry practitioners find it difficult to keep up. The COVID-19 situation has accelerated digital transformation to the extent that business models are getting disrupted at an unprecedented rate. Automation has replaced many jobs which require heavy manual work, and emerging technologies like AI and blockchain have cut off a lot of jobs which involve middlemen.
We all have to be agile to cope with today’s rapidly changing economy, and this requires a growth mindset!
Now, promoting a growth mindset from young is one important agenda that Jamus Lim and his party wishes to advance in parliament. So far, I haven’t yet heard any other politician advocate this ideal in their manifestos, with such convinction and eloquence. Please check out this post of his:
Now, allow me to break down for you at least three types of growth mindsets that are apparent in the above post, according to Dr. Jamus Lim.
A key component to a growth mindset is to have the courage and ability to imagine alternatives, enough to want to invest time and effort to hone the skills to get there. Why did Elon Musk create SpaceX? It’s because he wanted to reduce space transportation costs to enable the colonisation of Mars. And this ability and courage to imagine the seemingly crazy alternative to living on Earth motivated Elon Musk to work towards materialising SpaceX.
Here, Dr. Jamus Lim suggests a future whereby students can be intrinsically motivated enough to ask good questions, and then apply the tools and techniques that schools should be teaching to solve those problems or find good answers. The key is that no student should be “forced” to reproduce so-called “perfect” answers that were written prior, which is a characteristic of a fixed mindset. In doing so, students can then hone their skills in asking good questions, which more often than not is more important than finding good answers.
A key question related to the future of work is how to prepare Singaporeans for jobs which don’t even exist today. Well, Dr. Jamus Lim spells out the answer: We can aspire to raise a new generation of young people who are confident enough to create something original.
Once again, this is linked to the growth mindset that learning is intrinsically motivated, continuous, and contributing towards moving targets. It is to imagine an alternative that is honest, unashamed of self and open.
Even though I completely agree with Dr. Jamus Lim’s well-articulated agenda on how we can prepare Singaporeans for the future of work, I cannot vote for him because he is not standing in Sembawang GRC! Therefore, to Sengkang folks: If promoting a growth mindset to future-proof the skills of fellow Singaporeans is something you care about, it might be worthwhile to consider researching more about Dr. Jamus Lim and his party.
Meanwhile, I am also very excited to hear that education minister Ong Ye Kung did well in the mandarin debate last night. I will be catching our Education Minister Ong Ye Kung’s talk on 5th July, 10am to find out his stance about the current education policies. Very curious, and looking forward! 🙂