Channel NewsAsia, 23 Sep 2012
Singapore's Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has urged Singaporeans to keep an open mind as the country engages in a national conversation about its future.
Posting on the Our SG Conversation Facebook page, Mr Tan, who is also part of the committee facilitating the conversation, noted the different reactions among Singaporeans over the process.
He said some are dismayed that certain topics have not been surfaced.
Some felt that there are obvious issues to grapple with and that Singapore should not waste time with this process, while others said they have gone through such an exercise before.
Mr Tan said if such comments were scoped, then "the criticism would be about not coming in, with an open mind."
He pointed out that some Singaporeans may have taken part in previous reviews but many others have not.
He called on citizens to respect the space of those who have not been engaged, and to let this group "discuss and speak".
On slaying sacred cows, Mr Tan said it is also about keeping an open mind.
He said just because some themes have not yet surfaced, it does not mean the government's positions are closed.
If and when the cows come up for slaughter, Mr Tan said the government will do the necessary - if it makes sense.
"Where there are things to be fixed, we have begun the process. Where Singaporeans felt that adjustments could be made, we have reviewed and changed where needed... We do not start from a blank sheet and there are views and ideas that we have going forward," said Mr Tan.
Mr Tan added there will be areas where Singaporeans cannot agree on.
But even with the disagreements, he said the way Singaporeans approach it will define society.