NTUSU Ministerial Forum 2021: Emerging Stronger from COVID-19

By Tan Yi Shuen Merlene

 In uncertain times like this, what really matters is for young Singaporeans to face challenges with grit, said Minister of Finance Mr Lawrence Wong. This includes navigating the volatile job market after graduation. Such obstacles motivate us to work harder and achieve a better future even if they may seem daunting in the present moment.  

Minister Wong spoke at NTUSU’s 2021 Ministerial Forum on 24 August, an annual event organised by the Union’s Ministerial Open Discussions and Events Committee (MODE). The theme of this year’s Forum centered on Singapore’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the forum was a platform for youths to express their thoughts on the subject.  

Minister Wong giving his keynote speech on how Singapore can recover from the pandemic. 

Minister Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on COVID-19, began by delivering his keynote address on how Singapore can emerge stronger from the pandemic. Most prominently, he emphasised the importance of adapting to the new normal. While it may not be possible to completely eradicate the virus, we need to learn how to live with it, said Minister Wong. He also explained why Singapore is taking a step-by-step approach in opening up and controlling the pace of opening.

He shared the journey of his father, who took a leap of faith to leave Hainan for Singapore and his mother who endured the hardships of the Japanese Occupation. These struggles are common amongst the pioneer generation. Quoting the lyrics of this year’s National Day song, The Road Ahead, Minister Wong is confident that the resilience, grit and perseverance of the pioneer generation encapsulates the “never-say-die spirit” and this will help Singapore recover from any challenges along the way.  

The importance of social solidarity was also reinforced by Minister Wong. He hopes that Singapore will stand together to fight against the pandemic. Minister Wong emphasised that youths can also contribute to Singapore’s pandemic recovery.  After all, everyone has a part to play in shaping the future. Young people can channel their passion to become changemakers – partnering with the government to decide on Singapore’s next chapter.  

Minister Wong answering questions during the closed-door QnA session. 

The ideas that young people have in building a better tomorrow energises him, he said. Minister Wong encouraged the audience to continue initiating projects and designing solutions. He reiterated that success is never an individual endeavour. After all, the whole is often greater than the sum of its individual parts, so the best way to predict the future is to create it –together.  

NTUSU hopes that this year’s Ministerial Forum has left you with valuable insights about our nation’s post-pandemic trajectory. Once again, we would like to thank Minister Lawrence Wong for his sharing. 

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