What is the Singaporean Dream and how can we achieve it?

The Singaporean Dream is “not for the swift or the strong but for the gritty”, says Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, Alvin Tan.

Ardini Insyirah

All smiles and giggles especially when there’s music.

Published: 3 November 2020, 11:51 AM

What is the reality of pursuing the Singaporean Dream?

This was a topic discussed by host Annette Lee and guest speaker, Mr Alvin Tan, the Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth as well as Trade and Industry in an Instagram Live session on Friday, Oct 30. 

The session was the fourth part of the #AskNow series organised by Gushcloud Entertainment and Now Academy Singapore in partnership with the National Youth Council. It covered what the ‘Singaporean dream’ looks like and how our youths can be empowered to pursue their dreams. 

Mr Tan and Annette also talked about how to embrace the post-pandemic economy journey while chasing these dreams. 

The Minister of State shared how the generations before us created a foundation for us which allowed us to pursue a different order of dreams. In the past the dream was to get a good education or secure a job, now it has shifted to goals like seeing the world.

“Every generation has a dream that is specific to their generation,” said Mr Tan.

The Singaporean dream then included the 5Cs – car, cash, condominium, credit card and country club membership. But Mr Tan shared a 2019 National Youth Survey showed how those goals have been replaced with a focus on having strong family relationships, a place of their own, new skills, a successful career and the ability to travel the world.

In order to achieve this, here are some things that you should do:


Host Annette Lee and guest Mr Alvin Tan share light-hearted insights throughout the IG Live. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM INSTAGRAM

Plan ahead

One can dream but you must know how to execute a plan to attain it – and having this plan is the most crucial step in anyone’s journey. 

Mr Tan shared how youths need to continuously ask themselves questions like who they need to know, where they need to go and what resources they need. These are rather practical things to prepare for in the pursuit of any goal. 

To find out more resources, Mr Tan suggested visiting, a website by the National Youth Council which includes information and resources for youths. The platform is a first-stop digital destination for content and resources, such as GradGoWhere, which provides career advice for graduates.

Place emphasis on soft skills

Indeed, hard skills like coding or tech skills are essential. However, the important thing is to know what to do with the knowledge that you have in terms of sharing with others and collaborating on projects, said Mr Tan.

While the ability to work with people can be picked up over time, Mr Tan encourages youths to pick up the habit of reading to learn how to have better interactions. He believed that one can get out of their comfort zone by picking up the tips from such books.

“I found that these interaction or EQ (emotional intelligence) skills kind of open doors after a while but you get past that comfort zone a little bit and then you try to get better at that,” added Mr Tan.


Mr Alvin admits to being an introvert and talks about how reading helped him pick up soft skills. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/ALVIN TAN

Be gritty and resilient

You are bound to be faced with setbacks throughout your journey in attaining the Singaporean Dream. So it is critical to know how to get back on your feet when you’re met with failure.

You need to know how to create something different from that lesson. Bouncing back from these moments will also help to build your character which will ensure better navigation of similar situations in the future.

“It’s really up to your creativity and your grit and resilience to create opportunities for the platforms that are available,” said Mr Tan, who described his career as a “rojak journey”. 

“In every single place that you’ve gone to, or gone into, you just learn new things and you’re constantly figuring out what works, what doesn’t work, and making new friends and new people along the way,” added Mr Tan.

Mr Tan ended off the session with an encouraging piece of advice: “It’s what you do with this time that was given to you in this season of your life, that matters.” 

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