Artisanship — A Pursuit of Excellence — Should Become the Goal for Singaporeans

Following the grand plan that the Prime Minister laid out in the 2013th edition of the National Day Rally, from the new Changi Airport “Jewel” project, to new housing and industry initiatives, one thing that Singaporeans are most concerned about is how they will play a part in this progress.

The Pursuit of Excellence is the Key to Our Relevance and Survival

My vision for how Singapore can march into the next few decades can be summarized into 1 word, “Artisanship“, which denotes a dedication to becoming the best and most skilled in something.

1. To have the best skills – from chefs, programmers, seamstresses, mixologists, scientists, architects, engineers, builders, performance artists, animators, illustrators, photographers, singers, writers, dancers. doctors, armed forces…
2. To have the highest service standards and pride in service (Read Post)
3. To develop social grace


The government, its agencies, and our booming tourist economy can only provide the infrastructure. We have the schools, we have the global companies setting up their Asian headquarters here. We have an unprecedented influx of tourists visiting our country.

But if we as a people do not guide our young to be the best in what they do, we will end up needing to import resources, becoming a population that can only consume but not produce.

Right now, we have a whole generation of Singaporeans angry at feeling “left behind”, but the biggest worry is that the generation-to-follow is one that believes in “working smart, not hard” without being particularly very skilled in a chosen field. There is also no substitute for diligence, for “blood and sweat”, to achieve what we want, to become a viable work force, to partake in the success of the nation.

So many of our young want to be a founder of a tech startup without being a good programmer or having ample business experience. So many want to be a restauranteur without being a good chef. So many want to be a designer without knowing how to sew. So many want to be a boss before they know how to be a good employee.

That shortfall of excellence is the crux of our problem.

We cannot pursue the goal of being a global hub but not have our own citizenry participate in, and enjoin in that progress. That gap in skillset and the inability to meet expectation with reality is the cause of disenfranchisement in this country.

We cannot wait for leadership to guide us along. We alone must teach and mentor our young to first achieve excellence in what they do. Or we can sit and be paralyzed, pour our grievances online about injustices while the world moves along without us.

To become Artisans, the people alone must work hard to achieve the skills.


My next post is on Authenticity. Watch out for it.