What is globalisation and why youths should care about it

Globalisation might pose challenges for Singapore, but youths can also take advantage of it.

Tricia Kuan

A tiny coffee addict with a really weird frog obsession.

Published: 8 February 2023, 5:41 PM

Globalisation has been brought up in the news plenty of times, but what exactly is globalisation and how does it affect youths?

A new podcast series by the National Youth Council’s (NYC) Asia-Ready Exposure Programme (AEP), in partnership with the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), aims to help youths understand more about the topic.

Titled What The Future (WTF), the podcast is hosted by 987FM Radio DJs Germaine Tan and Avery Aloysius and will take a deep dive into the hot topics of our modern world. 

The first episode features Dr Parag Khanna, Future Map founder and Climate Alpha CEO and founder, as well as Mr Nicolas Fang, director of security and global affairs at SIIA. 

This 23-minute episode, which is hosted on NYC’s YouTube channel, kicks off by exploring the concept of globalisation and what it means for the future of Singaporean youth. Here are some of the main takeaways from this episode:

Globalisation poses challenges for Singapore

Globalisation, according to Dr Parag, is being interconnected on a global scale. Additionally, he defines it as the process of building and using connections across all geographies, peoples, and technologies, found in almost everything in the world today.

Although globalisation has helped humanity move forward, it does come with its own set of challenges, shared Mr Fang.

One such challenge is that countries become very dependent on one another for resources. Should we cease to have connections with other countries, it becomes difficult to continue living life as we are used to, he said.

To add on, Dr Parag said that although Singapore is making strides in becoming more self-reliant in areas such as food production, the fact remains that it will remain one of the most import-dependent countries worldwide.


According to Dr Parag, 70% of the food in Singapore will still be imported from elsewhere, even by 2030. PHOTO CREDIT: EILIS GARVEY VIA UNSPLASH


This makes it all the more imperative that Singaporeans should appreciate and manage all the benefits and challenges that come with globalisation. 

Another potential issue Mr Fang brought up was that information, ideas and perspectives are easily spread. 

The trouble comes when ideas that shape the way we think about the world end up impacting our homes, societies and immediate environments.

Youths should embrace globalisation instead of fear it

With the sharing of each other’s resources and perspectives on a global level, also comes a rising concern amongst youths that globalisation might result in increasing competition when it comes to securing jobs.

However, increased competition from local and overseas pools can be something that pushes us to do better, and is not something we should shy away from, Mr Fang explained.

“I think our government has made it very clear that they want to prioritise a Singaporean core because from a very practical perspective, they know that people who are here as permanent residents or others could always potentially leave,” he said.


Mr Fang said that youths can afford to change their mindsets regarding competition in our globalised world. PHOTO CREDIT: ANDREA PIAQUADIO VIA PEXELS


Ultimately, both he and Dr Parag shared sentiments that youths shouldn’t feel threatened by globalisation, or feel fearful that it might one day come to an end. Instead, they should focus on understanding and appreciating it.

“The world economy is becoming one big globalised cloud. And there’s no way to capture the notion that globalisation is ending. Don’t worry about globalisation, worry about your role in it,” said Dr Parag.

How youths can take advantage of globalisation

Regarding the dilemma of how to stay ahead of the curve in one’s studies and career path, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. 

Since most of the latest innovations and information is already available for everyone, all youths need to do is to put more time into learning and advancing themselves, said Mr Fang.


Local universities seek to update their courses every five years with new modules that are relevant in today’s world, said Dr Parag. PHOTO CREDIT: SOUMIL KUMAR VIA PEXELS


According to Dr Parag, there are more opportunities than ever before available for Singaporean students to succeed in the world due to globalisation.

In an example he raised, local universities now offer courses in areas that have been analysed to be a hit in the market, such as game design. 

This opens doors for Singaporean students to learn about and be part of new industries like never before.

However, problems would arise if Singaporeans who worked overseas decided to move abroad permanently, given that Singapore’s main resource lies in its people, Mr Fang said.

Ideally, he said, Singaporean youths should strive to be force multipliers in society, such that they can reap the benefits of globalisation, but not at the expense of the local economy.

How startups and globalisation work hand in hand


Though many Singaporean youths would consider startups as an option for a future career path, they are unsure about how to get started, Avery said. PHOTO CREDIT: CANVA STUDIO VIA PEXELS


With the notion that many young Singaporeans may have a passion or drive for developing startups, Mr Fang’s advice for youths is that they should not go into it without a concrete plan.

All it takes to start a company in Singapore is half a day and a dollar, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“Running out there with all this excitement and enthusiasm without a plan means you’ll most likely run into a wall, right? So figure out the plan first,” he said.

With Singapore being the third leading financial centre in the world, Dr Parag said, almost any idea for a startup would likely have at least one investor who would be willing to give money to get going.

However, he emphasised that startups should not be done alone, but with people who understand the global market.

He raised the example of Singapore champions like Sea Group which took investments from countries like America, Japan and Canada, and grew to become one of the biggest companies in the region, being listed in stock exchanges around the world.

Ultimately, having a solid plan and the right people are necessary factors to growing a successful startup in our globalised economy.

“There’s a big global dimension to even your little startup idea. You want to understand it, map it out and capture it,” he said.

To find out more about globalisation, watch the full podcast on NYC’s YouTube Channel. Those interested can also check out the AEP programmes.

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