22 October 2011

My reply to Minster Khaw on his comment "Bhutan is not the 'Shangri-la on earth'"

Bhutan is not the 'Shangri-la on earth', says Khaw
Posted: 19 October 2011 1839 hrs

Khaw Boon Wan speaking in Parliament

SINGAPORE: The measure of happiness has been a topic of debate in Parliament over the last few days, and constant references to Bhutan have been made as well.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan joined the debate, saying he visited the small nation a few years ago and the romanticised version of the ancient kingdom did not fit the reality he saw there.

In his speech in Parliament on Wednesday, he said Bhutan is not the "Shangri-la on earth" that some make it out to be.

Mr Khaw said: "Most of the time, I saw unhappy people, toiling in the field, worried about the next harvest and whether there would be buyers for their products. They have studied us because Singapore is also a tiny nation, living next to big neighbours.

"We have successfully transited from third world to first, and managed to create a functioning and harmonious society for our people. In their minds, Singapore could well be the Shangri-la and they want Bhutan to emulate Singapore."

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Tan Chuan-Jin weighed in on the discussion on what some perceive to be the government's obsession with economic growth at all costs.

He said the pursuit of GDP should not be an end but a means to an end.

Mr Tan said the main preoccupation at weekly Cabinet meetings has been to provide for Singaporeans and Singapore.

He added that the government is not perfect and there are things that it can do better and it will do its utmost.

"Life cannot be whittled down into an efficient equation, however effective it may be. Not everything is an economic digit; some of the most important things in life cannot be quantified. At the end of it all, it is about us as Singaporeans, and the future we want to build for our children. And we as the government must have the courage to play our role to lead and do the right things," said Mr Tan.

- CNA /ls


  1. This is my reply for Minister Khaw. I borrow this story from this Mind Your Stories Blog.

    One day a wealthy father took his son on a trip to a rural village so that the son could see how the poor indigenous people lived. They stayed overnight in a house of a poor villager and his family. When they got back from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?" "Very good, Dad!" "Did you see how poor people can be?" "Yes I did!" "And what did you learn?" The son answered, "I saw that we have a dog at home, and they have six. We have a pool, they have the river. We have imported lamps in the house; they have the stars. We buy our vegetables and fruits in the market; they get theirs free from the farm and forest." When the little boy was finished, the father was speechless. His son then added, "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are!"

    extracted from Mind Your Stories Blog "Who is rich and who is poor?"

  2. 对,我也觉得他举的例子不太妥当。

  3. 我听过一种叫做岛国心态的理论:就是像新加坡、香港、台湾,甚至像槟城这样孤立的岛,住在上面的人有一种夜郎自大的心理,总要成为世界第一。有一种没有自信的自傲心理。

  4. Tan Chuan-Jin said "the pursuit of GDP should not be an end but a means to an end", this sounds good, by the way, what is the end?

  5. that is a chiam question. i wonder how MP Tan will replied. :)