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‘I wish I had been born earlier’: PM Lee says there are more opportunities today

PM Lee envies young Singaporeans today for having more opportunities

In an interview with local media aired on Friday (10 May), Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong said he wishes he was born later and envies young Singaporeans today for the opportunities they have.

The outgoing PM said this in response to a question about how Singaporeans can be confident that they are doing better than their predecessors.

Source: Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore on YouTube

“As an old man, I envy the young men and women because you are enjoying advantages and opportunities which never existed in my generation,” he answered.

Young Singaporeans have access to technology

Illustrating his point, PM Lee pointed out the changes that have taken place in terms of educational opportunities.

He said that now, 40% to 50% of Singaporeans go to one of the country’s six autonomous universities and that nearly all of them have the chance to take part in overseas programs.

This is a huge leap from his time when only about 3% to 4% attended university.

Source: Unsplash

Source: Unsplash. For illustration purposes only. 

He also talked about how young people today are exposed to technology from a young age. This opens up new opportunities, including jobs that did not exist during his generation.

PM Lee cited E-sports trainer as one such example:

E-sports trainer – you can make a living! You are sitting there playing with your fingers and mouse, in a super special chair with a big screen, and you can make a living.

“So is that a worse life than the previous generation? I don’t think so,” said the 72-year-old.

Higher quality of life than the previous generation

PM Lee also highlighted the higher quality of living that young Singaporeans enjoy today, compared to their predecessors.

According to PM Lee, the previous generation started poor, coming “from Third World to First.”

In comparison, young Singaporeans today are “starting at a higher level and a higher quality of accommodation as well as life.”

Singapore buildings

Source: Flickr

Illustrating his point, PM Lee said that in terms of amenities, connections, and social environment, Singapore’s quality of life is comparable if not better than nearly every major city in the world.

He said that even though growth today might not be as pronounced today as before, Singapore is still on an upward trajectory “if we work at it”.

PM Lee wishes he had been born later

Given the progress that Singapore has made thus far, PM Lee said he would be “disappointed” if a young person was pessimistic about their opportunities.

In fact, PM Lee said he would much rather be born in this generation if given the choice:

I wish I had been born later.

Also read: ‘I have done my duty’: PM Lee says it’s an honour to serve S’pore in final May Day speech

‘I have done my duty’: PM Lee says it’s an honour to serve S’pore in final May Day speech

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Featured image adapted from Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore on YouTube. 

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