Singapore – 40 Years On

By Not Known

There is much to appreciate on the 40th anniversary of Singapore’s independence. Singapore has set a stunning example of nation building from a small resource base and in often challenging circumstances.

Let’s be grateful for such things as : social stability; security; good government; hightly functional public infrastructure; economic prosperity; high standards of public health and education; opportunities for individual advancements; and for personal and religious freedom.

As Christian people we gladly thank God for these things, conscious of his common grace to send sun and rain on both the just and the unjust (Mt. 5: 45). And let's also be gradeful for the national leaders whom God used to give us these good things.

At 40, there are also some significant concerns. From a Christian perspective, there are some worrying signs that the nation is losing it soul. In part, this happens as Singapore discards some traditional values and fails in line with the emerging global culture. In reality, much of this global culture is a borrowing of the worst from the western world.

What are some of these concerns? A key one concerns the way in which economic criteria dominates matters as diverse as the casino, life-science industries, education, the arts. A local film that makes money is praised for it 'success', but what about a play or film that loses money but goads people into thinking about the big issues of life? Or again, what do we make of suggestions that religious Singaporeans should keep their faith values as private concerns and not bring them to the 'public square' of national decision-making?

The dollar seems to be replacing our sense of ‘soul’. Christians affirm the positive place of business and profit in God’s world, but we want to say that these are not the only concerns or even the main ones. With Jesus we ask: what good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? (Mt. 16: 26) This is as much a question for a nation as for an individual.

As we celebrate National Day, let’s consider our positive contributions to the soul of our nation as Christ’s salt and light. Majulah Singapura!