Channel NewsAsia

Economic success not enough to build a great nation: Chan Chun Sing

Economic success has bought Singapore time to build its national identity but it's not enough to build a great nation, said Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing.

SINGAPORE: Economic success has bought Singapore time to build its national identity but it's not enough to build a great nation, said Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing.

Mr Chan added that whether Singaporeans stay or go when a crisis hits will define the country's long-term success.

He said: "Will we build a nation with a sense of identity, a sense of purpose, a sense of determination, that will say that this is my land, I will stay here and build a better place for my future generations to come, that even if things turn sour and don't go as well as I expected, I will stay here and make it a better place?

"If we have enough people that will say this, as the 1965 generation, then I think we have made the first step to be a great nation. Otherwise, we would just be economic sojourners in the search for greater economic opportunities."

Mr Chan was speaking on Wednesday to students at the annual Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum organised by the Students' Political Association of the National University of Singapore.

Speaking off the cuff, he said the country's affluence today is an added challenge because it is uncertain whether Singaporeans would have the desire to build a better society when the chips are down.

He said Singaporean students have great potential but cautioned against complacency because the country's economic success is not immutable.

The almost two-hour long dialogue saw a lively exchange between Mr Chan and some 160 students present.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna