B1 Intermediate 5653 Folder Collection
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Good evening Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen
First of all, I'd like to wish all of you a very happy SG50
I'm really glad to have been a part of the nation's celebration of our Golden Jubilee
Just two weeks ago, I was at NDP
and now here I am, attending my very first National Day Rally
So needless to say, I'm feeling pretty great
And now, more importantly, I'd like to thank you, Sir, Mr Prime Minister
and of all you present, for allowing me this opportunity to do something I wasn't able to do
in the earlier part of this year
when our beloved Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away
and left all of us quite shocked and bereaved
Like many of you, as a Singaporean
I expressed my grief through the wearing of sombre colours
and in private conversations with family and friends
But as a singer, I felt compelled to pay a tribute to the late Mr Lee through something I do best
which is through a song
So tonight, I stand here not so much to perform for you, which of course would have been a great honour
As to lead you in a song tribute to a man many of us loved and admired
and still love and admire
I have chosen a song that has magically and quite miraculously united all of us
whenever we heard it or sang it together
I've been very blessed to have been given this song to sing at the National Day Parade way back in 1998
I hope that we can all continue to sing this song for many years to come
and that it will always serve to remind us that no matter our differences
We'll always be united by the fact that we call Singapore our home
So, ladies and gentlemen
If you will, please join me in the song "Home"
Thank you
This one is for LKY
Thank you, Ms Kit Chan
And now, ladies and gentlemen
The Prime Minister
My fellow Singaporeans, good evening
First, let us thank Kit Chan again for her beautiful singing
and also for dedicating her song to Mr Lee Kuan Yew
I am very glad I invited her to the Rally
and I am very touched that she offered to sing “Home”
which is a fitting tribute to Mr Lee and a good start for the SG50 National Day Rally
Two weeks ago, on the 9th of August, we celebrated our Golden Jubilee with a parade at the Padang
For everyone who took part at the Padang, at the Floating Platform, around the Bay
watching at home or overseas
that night was something special to remember
It wasn't just a birthday bash
We were celebrating something far greater
First of all, we celebrated our resolve to defend ourselves and to survive over the last 50 years
We started out at independence with only two infantry battalions in a rough neighbourhood
But our pioneers were determined to defend ourselves
we built up the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)
Within four years, we paraded a few of our units on National Day in 1969
Overhead, we had one Hunter aircraft and one Alouette helicopter flying the Singapore flag
In the mobile column, we had 18 AMX-13 tanks
which were appearing in public for the first time
and Major Goh Lye Choon was a second-in-command
Singaporeans cheered
Everyone understood what it meant
and it wasn't just Singaporeans who took note
Fifty years later, our pioneer servicemen kicked off the SG50 vintage parade
Right marker Colonel Swee Boon Chai, first batch Officer Cadet School (OCS)
Marching with him, Captain Hong Seng Mak, the legendary Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM), Tiger Hong
Ibrahim Bulat, who trained our first national servicemen
John Norfor and K S Rajan, our pioneer pilots
Chan Seck Sung, our first US Ranger-trained commando
Still wearing a red beret
Encik Mohd Saleh, Warrant Officer Class 1, Navy pioneer
who was one of the oldest participants, 77 years young
We had Corporal Philip Ng, a citizen soldier, NSF 4 SIR 1972
NSMan 61 SIR, ten years - 1974 to 1984
now Mindef Reserve, still marching
And many others too, older, greyer
but the spirit remain undaunted
and I am so glad that we have some of them here with us tonight
Thank you very much
Take a bow together
Above us, instead of one Hunter fighter
We had 20 F-16s, flying across the Padang forming the number “50”
A Chinook helicopter flew the flag, escorted by two Apaches
Colonel Goh Lye Choon, now retired
was once again the second-in-command of the mobile column
this time on a Leopard tank
That's him
Behind Lye Choon, 178 vehicles rolled past the City Hall steps
Tanks, artillery, AA missile launchers, special ops vehicles, Hazmat vehicles
and completing the mobile column we had nine vehicles carrying nine families
They were the pioneers who had served in the SAF and the Home Team
and they were on parade with their children who are presently serving
and in two cases, with their grandchildren too
And here we have a family
Grandfather, father and son
The son is Corporal Tajol Isfahan, 22 years old
who joined the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) full-time three months ago
The father is Senior Warrant Officer Mohd Azlan who’s 48 years old
who is an SCDF Marine Command Specialist
and their grandfather Mr Slamat, 78 years old
He joined the Singapore Fire Brigade in 1948, before I was born
I think before most of you were born
He was involved in many major fire and rescue incidents
The Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1961
The Robinson’s Department Store fire in 1972
Hotel New World in 1986
Three generations saluting the nation and we saluted them back
Secondly, on National Day, we celebrated how we had turned vulnerability into strength
We started off with no hinterland and a weak economy
We depended on our entrepot trade, but our neighbours were building their own ports and sought to bypass us
Our workers were unskilled and anxious about their future
but we determined to make the world our hinterland
And the tripartite partners worked together, worked hard to create the best workforce in the world
The Government, the employers and the unions, we worked together
Business Environment Risk Intelligence (BERI) every year ranked us number 1 in the world
And with that workforce, we made PSA and Changi the best in the world
We were a poor third world country
People lived in cramped and squalid slums, no modern sanitation, no utilities
but we built HDB flats to house all of us
and made Singapore a first world metropolis and our beautiful home
Nearly all our water came from Johor
and every now and again when an issue arose with Malaysia
some crazy politicians would threaten to turn off the tap to get us in line
but we did not die of thirst
We cleaned up our rivers, we dammed them up to become reservoirs
We built Marina Barrage and turned Marina Bay into Marina Reservoir
Our whole island became a catchment area
We invented NEWater
and on National Day 2002, we toasted our success
Huat ah!
Thirdly, we celebrated our journey from third world to first as one united people
When we separated from Malaysia, we were not yet one people
Memories of the race riots were fresh and raw
The minorities were uncertain of their place in the new country
They saw what had happened in Malaysia
They wondered, will the new Singapore Government keep its promise of a multi-racial society
But 50 years on, we celebrate as one united people
On National Day, when the siren sounded, we stood and recited the Pledge together
regardless of race, language or religion
We sang Majulah Singapura
What an exhilarating journey these 50 years have been
How did we get here?
I will put it down to three factors
Firstly, we determined to be a multi-racial society
Secondly, we created a culture, a culture of self-reliance and also mutual support
And thirdly, we kept faith between the Government and the people
First of all, multi-racialism
We separated from Malaysia because we believed in this ideal of a multi-racial society
We believed that before race, language and religion, we should first and foremost, be Singaporean
That was the fundamental reason for our foundation as a country
So we came down hard on chauvinists and racial extremists
We built HDB estates where all the different races lived and mingled together
There are no segregated ghettos in Singapore
We made English our working language and gradually all our schools shifted to teaching in English
We created Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs)
so that minorities would always be represented in Parliament
and this way, we encouraged all the communities to come together
and yet gave each community space to maintain their own cultures and their own ways of life
When delicate and awkward issues arose, we dealt with them together
For example, when we discovered the Jemaah Islamiyah group
planning to set off suicide bombs in Singapore after 9/11
We handled it as one people; we did not divide into Muslims and non-Muslims
At the same, we made the effort to bring everybody together
and to ensure that every community could hold his own and not be left behind
So we set up self-help groups, the communities did
starting with the Council for the Development of Singapore Malay/Muslim Community (Mendaki)
later the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA)
then Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC)
and the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) and the Eurasian Association
The Government supported them and so we progressed together
Therefore, for SG50, every community in Singapore is celebrating
because every community has progressed with the nation
And each group is celebrating with the other groups because we are one united people
I have attended many SG50 celebrations this year
A Catholic Jubilee Mass at the Indoor Stadium
The SG50 Kita National Day Observance Ceremony here in this campus
led by the Malay/ Muslim organisations but with other groups participating
A Buddhist celebration at the Indoor Stadium
A Protestant prayer event at the National Stadium
A joint concert organised by the Taoist Federation,
the New Creation Church and others at the Star Performing Arts Centre
Here you see one of the items, a Chinese Kungfu group performing with the Silat group
One function
At one dinner, I had sitting around my table representatives of all the world’s major religions
and I posted the picture on Facebook
It showed the Rabbi of Singapore together with the Mufti of Singapore and Mr Gurmit Singh,
a Sikh leader who was then chairing the IRO, the Inter-Religious Organisation
Each had different dietary rules, each was served food that met his religious requirements
but nothing stopped them from having a meal together and being friends together
in fact, they took a selfie together, which I also posted on Facebook
Only in Singapore!
Some people may think that racial and religious harmony is not a problem anymore
and that I am making too much about this
But they would be wrong
Race and religion are always sensitive matters, especially for us
and in some ways, today, more complex and difficult to handle than 20 years ago
because religiosity has gone up
Many societies, people are taking their religion more seriously
Happens in developed countries like US, Britain, Australia, Germany
where you see racial and religious tensions
Happens in Singapore too, not tensions but people taking religion more seriously
and everywhere people exposed and vulnerable to extremist ideologists, like the Jihadist ideology of ISIS
We are a multi-racial and multi-religious society and we are always at risk of deep fault lines opening up
and we must never take our present happy state of affairs for granted
The second factor of our success, after multi-racialism, is our culture of self-reliance and mutual support
We knew right from the start that to strike out and blaze a path on our own
Everyone had to pull their weight and be counted, we could not afford free-riders
and that is why Mr Lee Kuan Yew exhorted us over and over again to become a rugged society
We do not use that term quite so often anymore
but our people must still be robust and tough, be able to take hard knocks, always striving to be better
No one owes us a living and we have to make our own way forward in the world
But a rugged society does not mean every man for himself
We are strong even though we are small because we are strong together
The ethos of our society is quite clear
If you work hard, you should do well and that is good for you and we should cheer you and celebrate it
But at the same time if you do well, we expect you to help others
and everyone has to work together so that we succeed as one Team Singapore
We have got to inculcate this ethos in our young people too
And that is why we encourage our children to play sports to experience losing and winning together
That is why we send them on adventure learning and character education
To OBS, Outward Bound School in Pulau Ubin and also on overseas expeditions
so that they can toughen themselves up and learn to work with one another as a team
When I was in Secondary Four, my principal sent me to OBS, the experience made a deep impression on me
Nowadays, students have many more opportunities to go for adventure learning, here and also abroad
Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) had a very successful programme, the Omega Challenge
It has been going on for seven years
The students who have been have testified to how much they benefitted from it
Tragically on their most recent expedition to climb Mount Kinabalu
The Omega Challenge group was caught in an earthquake
Seven students, two teachers and a guide died
We all mourned them and grieved with their families
We held a National Day of Remembrance
It will take us a long time to get over this tragedy but life goes on and it is important that we move on
And I know that the other TKPS students and teachers who were on this trip are courageously doing so
We have to go on with adventure training
We will take the necessary safety precautions but we must keep pushing our limits
to bring up a generation who will grow up tough and able to work closely together
The third factor for our success is that we have kept faith between the Government and the people
We have built up this bond between the Government and the people over the past 50 years
The Government has kept its promises, what we said we would do, we did do
We have kept our politics honest
We insisted on high standards of integrity in public life, no corruption, no dishonesty
We are also honest when it comes to policies and when it comes to the choices that we have to make
We do not shy away from hard realities, we do not sugar-coat difficult issues
We do right by Singaporeans
In turn, our people expect the Government to perform, trust the Government to have their interests at heart
and support the Government and its decisions to work for the common good
And even in tough times therefore, we can act decisively together
It was like this with our Pioneer Generation, for example on the issue of land acquisition
The Government needed land to build HDB new towns around the island to house our people
To build industrial estates like Jurong to create jobs for our people
Later on to build the MRT network to move people around
So the Government passed laws to acquire land not at the market price, without paying market prices
It was tough for the land owners who suffered financial losses, sometimes more than once
It was tough for the households who had to be resettled, lives were disrupted
Thousands, maybe tens of thousands had to change their livelihoods
But if the Government had not done this
We could not have housed our population and we could not have transformed Singapore
So there were sacrifices but in the end, it was for the common good
and everybody benefitted and I thank all those who sacrificed for this common good
Even in recent times, we've had to do tough things together
During SARS in 2003, we passed laws urgently on the certificate of urgency to quarantine people at home
to prevent community spread
And we will ring you up and ask you to turn up on your camera to show that you are still there
Singaporeans understood this was necessary and they accepted it
Recently, South Korea had a serious outbreak of MERS but they had problems quarantining people
It was not so easy for them to get people to cooperate
There was one case, where a person was missing from her home
They went, knocked on the door, no answer, telephone no answer, tracked her down via her hand phone
She was several hundred kilometres away, playing golf
You can pass the laws but people have to cooperate
From time to time, new tough issues will come up and we will need your support to deal with them
One tough issue which we already have and which will be with us for a long time to come
is immigration and foreigners
It is a very sensitive matter, not an easy thing to talk about, even at the National Day Rally
and Singaporeans understandably have strong views about it
The Government has heard them, we have adjusted our policies
Upgraded our infrastructure, slowed down the inflow of foreign workers
Tightened up on PR and citizenship applications
Made sure that Singaporeans are fairly treated at work
But on foreigners and immigration, there are no easy choices
Every option has a cost, has a downside
If we close our doors to foreign workers, our economy will tank
Companies would not have enough workers
Some will close down and our own people working in these companies will lose their jobs
Also we need foreign workers to build our homes and schools
to meet our daily needs, we need foreign domestic help
So we cannot close our doors completely
On the other hand, if we let in too many foreign workers, our society will come undone
Singaporeans will be crowded out, workplaces will feel foreign, our identity will be diluted
and we just cannot digest huge numbers
Therefore, we have got to find something in-between
Make a right trade-off, but even in-between there is a cost and there is a price and there is a pain
Companies will still find your costs going up, they will have to pass some of these costs on to consumers
Things would not be as cheap
Companies will have to pass up opportunities too
When they can see the opportunities but cannot get the workers, many companies will not be able to expand
And yet because some foreign workers will still be coming in
There will be Singaporeans who will feel that Singapore is changing too fast
and will resent having to compete with non-Singaporeans
So, whichever option we choose, it will involve some pain
But I believe that I am doing what Singapore needs and what best safeguards your interest
If I did not believe that, I would not be doing it
It is my responsibility to make this decision, to make this judgement and then to act on your behalf
And having acted on your behalf, to account to you for the results
and for the reasons why I decided the way I did
I think I owe it to you. You have elected me
This is my duty, I cannot shirk it
These principles have brought us here
Multi-racialism, self-reliance and mutual support, keeping faith between the government and people
These principles have made us special
They are not so easy to do
Easy to say, not so easy to do
Very few countries have got this right but by and large, we have got it right
And Singapore has to stay special because if we are just a dull little spot on the map, a smudge,
we are going to count for nothing
We have to be a shining red dot
If we are soft and flabby, we are going to be eaten up
We have to be rugged, we have to have that steel in us
If we are divided, whether along racial lines or class lines, we cannot survive
We have to stand as one united people, we have to progress together
How do we stay special?
First, we have to be alive to our external environment
That is a fundamental reality for a “little red dot”
We will always be a small country in Southeast Asia
This is an exciting place to be, but also a rather dangerous place to live
I have not spoken much about the external affairs in recent rallies
because we have been so focused on domestic issues
But I think I have spoken too little because big things are happening around us and they are bound to affect us
and unless we keep track of events and stay on top of developments, we may be overwhelmed
We have good relations with our neighbours, much better than 50 years ago
and our neighbours have done well and we have prospered with them
But it may not always be like this
Even in the next 10 years, we cannot be sure
Certainly, in the next 50 years, nobody can rule out instability, tension, or even war in Asia
Take Malaysia, our closest neighbour, our very close partner
We watch what is happening in Malaysia very closely
What are the Malaysians worried about?
I can tell you what they are worried about
They worry about ISIS and terrorism
Bcause Malaysian citizens are becoming radicalised, going to Syria and Iraq to fight
including members of their armed forces going to become terrorists
Some have already gone, dozens are there
When they come back, they will bring back violence, the know-how and the extremist ideas
This year alone, Malaysian authorities have arrested nearly 100 citizens suspected of links with ISIS
That is one thing they worry about which we should worry about
They worry about racial and religious tensions, about society being divided along racial lines
They have had incidents recently like the riot in Low Yat Plaza, between Chinese and Malays
which has prompted soul searching
If they have racial problems, it will affect us across the border
They worry about money politics
1MDB is in the news every day
and Prime Minister Najib has just set up a national panel to develop laws on “political funding with integrity”
because everybody knows this is the problem
These are Malaysia’s problems
Fortunately we are a different country, having separated from Malaysia 50 years ago
But our two societies and our two economies remain very closely intertwined
So their problems can easily become our problems
And if Malaysia is troubled, unstable or divided, it will affect our economy, our society and our security too
And the closer we work with them, the more we are concerned that things go well for them
Indonesia is also important to us
It is the biggest country in Southeast Asia, it sets the tone for the whole region
When Indonesia is stable, all its neighbours benefit
If Indonesia is in a state of flux, Southeast Asia will be affected, as it was during Confrontation
We have enjoyed good relations with Indonesia for many years
With President Suharto since 1970s, then with President SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) over the last decade
and now I look forward to continuing these good relations with President Jokowi
But Indonesia is a big and complex country and there are different views within Indonesia about its neighbours
And one common Indonesian view about Singapore
is that we are a small neighbour enjoying undeserved success at their expense
I told you in my Chinese speech just now of one Indonesian official who explained this mindset to us
but I give you another example here
On our National Day, just recently on the 9th of August
One Indonesian newspaper published an overview of the relationship between them and us
And they quoted a senior Indonesian politician, what he said about the haze
He said, “I would only consider apologising for the haze if Singapore and Malaysia are thankful
for the oxygen from Indonesian forests for 11 months each year”
So you know where you stand and please know your place in the world
Do not get uppity
This may not reflect the Indonesian Government’s view, but we have to take note of it
It is a deep seated mindset
That a little red dot red dot should know its place in the world
and this mindset will not disappear for a long time
I once met a group of Indonesian journalists
We invite them to our National Day to understand us and to write about us
So they asked me the usual questions which Indonesian journalists ask us about
Smuggling, about money laundering, about sand, about us taking advantage and so on, I gave them explanations
At the end of it all, they were persuaded, then they said to me
“Do you feel discouraged that you keep on explaining and at the end we keep writing the same thing?”
I said no, I am not discouraged at all, I am quite used to it
But I think that’s the fundamental reality and it is not going to change for a very long time to come
We also have to watch relations between the major powers in the region
We are friends with all the major powers, with America, with China, with Japan – all three
And people are amazed that we can be friends with all three and they ask how this is possible
Well, we tell them it's just good luck
but partly, it’s also because of adroit diplomacy, because we have good officers in the MFA
But we have been lucky, we have been lucky that the big powers have been at peace with one another
And so we don’t have to choose sides, with one against the other
But will it be so easy to maintain this happy state of affairs in future?
Will the stars always be so neatly aligned?
What if the relations among the powers sour or hot up?
There could be a miscalculation, there could be a mishap
There could be a misunderstanding
If American and Chinese airplanes collide over the South China Sea
Or Japanese and Chinese ships clash near the Diaoyu Dao or the Senkaku Islands
Then tensions will go up, countries will press us to take sides
You are either with us, or against us. Which are you?
We will have to decide which are we
It’s not so easy to decide and these are imponderables and risks which we have to be aware of
and which Mr Lee Kuan Yew was very concerned that Singaporeans may not be adequately aware of
and wanted to speak about, even into his extreme old age
It was that important to him
It is in fact that important to us
We have been able to maintain our security, and our standing in the world
because we have a strong SAF so others do not fool around with us
Because our economy is successful, so others find it worthwhile to cooperate with us
Because we have good diplomats and good leaders
who talk sense, command respect and can defend our interests abroad
These are important advantages for a small country
which does not have aircraft carriers to go sailing around, keeping the peace and keeping ourselves safe
And we must keep these advantages to sail through the next 50 years safely
Let me just give you two examples of how having good ministers can advance our interests abroad, out of many
Take Minister Vivian – Vivian Balakrishnan
Minister for Environment, Water Resources
Last year, he attended the UN Climate Change Conference which was held in Peru, in Lima, in December
Vivian led the Singapore delegation but he did not just represent Singapore
He was appointed one of two Friends of the Chair
The other Friend of the Chair was Norway
And the role of the Friend of the Chair is to be an honest broker
To work behind the scenes to bridge the gaps between the different countries
To help put together a deal that countries could agree upon
So it is an important low-key job
They chose Vivian and Vivian was effective. Why?
Because he was competent and he mastered a very complicated brief
Every time he briefs Cabinet, we have to spend time reading the paper understanding the subject
all over again and asking Vivian what does all this mean?
But it his job to know and to explain and to analyse how we can protect our interests and not be disadvantaged
But he also was supported by a strong and cohesive team of Singapore officials
Different ministries, each knowing their job
but able to work together across the ministries and take a national perspective
So they could staff him, they could work out alternatives, they could propose compromises
they could tweak the language, they can go and chat up different groups
and find out what different groups are thinking
That was Team Singapore at work
They actually should wear red T-shirts at such meetings
Vivian and Team Singapore helped the Lima conference to reach a successful outcome
They had to overrun, I think they went on for another 36 hours
but in the end there was a positive agreement
and in the process, the agreement also protected and advanced Singapore’s interests
That’s one example
I give you another example. These are all far away from defence
So people understand that even apart from armed forces
We have to be on our guard and know how to work with others to advance our interest
This next example is Lim Swee Say
Swee Say attends the ILO Conference in Geneva every year. International Labour Organisation
He used to go as Secretary-General of NTUC, now he goes as Minister for Manpower
This year he went in June
The Director-General of ILO hosted the conference dinner, so dinner is meant to talk shop
And at dinner many of the Labour Ministers shared the problems they faced in their countries
all facing similar problems
Slow job growth, youth unemployment, stagnating wages, widening income gaps
It was a very miserable dinner
So Swee Say is never one for a miserable dinner
He decided to turn the discussion around and to focus on solutions and not problems
and he did it, the way only Swee Say knows how to do it
He started by acknowledging we all face the same 3 “D” challenges, D for delta
What’s D? Jobs Deficit, Skills Deficit, Quality Deficit, so three D’s
So everybody nodded, says yes
Then he said, we all want the same three "F" opportunities – future
Jobs of the future, skills of the future, career of the future
Everybody smiled
Then he concluded that the solution was to strengthen the three "P"s – Partnership between the partners
Partners: Government, unions and employers
And he shared about Singapore’s unique tripartite approach and sold a little bit of “koyok” for us
So when Swee Say had finished
the mood in the room had lifted and everyone was discussing solutions and not moping
And the Director-General rounded up the discussion and proposed three cheers for Singapore
We must maintain this quality of leaders and strengthen our economy and our defence
in order to hold our own with the outside world, to work with others to advance our interests
and to protect ourselves when the external environment becomes troubled or hostile
The next thing we must do to continue being special
is to keep on improving our education, not just in schools, but also life-long learning
Because education enables our people to be self-reliant
Because our workers and students must stay ahead of globalisation and technology
Last year, I explained SkillsFuture
which provides Singaporeans with opportunities to develop to their full potential
whatever their starting point may be
Since then, we have made some progress
For example, we have a SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn Programme
It gives fresh ITE and Polytechnic graduates a head-start in their careers
They can earn a full-time salary, at the same time learn new skills and then upgrade to higher jobs
We have created the SkillsFuture Credit so every Singaporean aged 25 and above
will have initially $500 of credit in the account to spend on training programmes throughout life
and from time to time, we will top up that credit
Tonight, I will tell you about another thing we are doing, which has to do with SIT
The Singapore Institute of Technology
SIT provides applied-learning pathways for students who prefer more hands-on learning
SIT awards its own degrees; it also awards degrees in collaboration with respected overseas partners
For example, TUM – the Technical University of Munich or CIA, the Culinary Institute of America
It teaches you to cook, not to spy
Or DigiPen Institute of Technology
One of the top institutions for animation, computer engineering and game design
SIT is expanding its intake so it can take in more poly students, more mature students
This year, 2,000 students already
In five years’ time by 2020, 3,500 students
I visited SIT a few months ago at their campus at Dover Road
I met their students and staff, they were keen about their future
Passionate about what they were doing
And the students relished the opportunities for internships
to apply what they have learnt and to show off their skills
And one such student is Chen Zhangkai, who is 27
Zhangkai is a late bloomer
When he was young, he played truant, he got into fights, he was streamed into EM3, almost failed his PSLE
So he took a longer path than usual
From PSLE he went to Normal Technical (stream), then to ITE, then to Nanyang Polytechnic, then to SIT
Step by step, persevering, overcoming setbacks, climbing up
Last year, Zhangkai graduated from SIT with a DigiPen degree
His final year project and portfolio were good
and a director of an animation studio came, saw it, was impressed
offered him an internship and after that offered him a job
So Zhangkai has now landed himself a dream job as an animator
Well done Zhangkai
SkillsFuture will produce more success stories like Zhangkai
There are always opportunities no matter where you are to upgrade and do better
SIT’s main campus is at Dover Road with branch campuses in all the polytechnics
So we will bring all these branch campuses together and build one new centralised campus for SIT
And the new campus will be in Punggol
Across the road from SIT, we will build a creative industry cluster, in fact, on both sides of SIT
JTC will do this and bring creative industries to come to be next to SIT and to be integrated with SIT
So that students can easily go from classroom to workplace, apply what they learn
Companies can easily go to SIT and get help if they need some new idea or some problem solved
SIT will also be integrated into Punggol Downtown, and HDB's upcoming Northshore District
And the community will share SIT’s facilities: the classrooms, the workshops, the multi-purpose hall
So, we have talked about Punggol 21, we have Punggol 21 Plus. With SIT, it will be Punggol 21 A-Plus
Here is how the SIT campus will look like
SIT in the middle and you can see the industry buildings on both sides
If you zoom in and take a closer look, you can see the University on one side
The industries on the other and linked bridges joining them up, so people can go back and forth
This will come
It is a long-term effort and the Chinese saying says “十年树木,百年树人”
Ten years to grow a tree, one hundred years to nurture a person
When we go into SkillsFuture, this is our mindset
We are planting for the long term; planting seeds now to bear fruit many years from now
Of course, we also will be planting real trees on the SIT campus
and when they are grown, many years from now, I hope the campus will look something like this
and Punggol 21 residents will be happy
While SkillsFuture creates more opportunities for Singaporeans,
we will continue to make sure that no one is left behind
There is an African saying which says
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
For the last 50 years, we have gone together and we have gone far
And that is what we must do for the next 50 years
HDB housing is one important way we make sure that we go together
We started the HDB home ownership programme in the 1960s and it has been a tremendous success
Today, more than 90 per cent of HDB households own their flats
We are a nation of home-owners and we have achieved something unique for our people
Home ownership and no ghettos or slums anywhere in Singapore
There is a true story about an IMF economist who visited Singapore, Indian economist, his name is Sudip
And he stayed at the Fairmont. Fairmont Hotel, high up, looked out, saw the beautiful city
He said, “Can’t be. I want to find out how big this nice area around the hotel is.”
So he decided he would get down, walk in one direction until he reached a not-so-nice area
Turn round, come back, then he will know Singapore is like so many other cities in the world, with rough areas
So Sudip came down, walked and walked and walked and walked, he never reached a rough area
After two hours, he gave up and came back, astonished and impressed that Singapore had no rough area
In Boston, I did the same experiment from Harvard, half an hour, I got there
And it is not unique; every city is like that except Singapore
In Singapore, no matter where you are, you live in a good neighbourhood
You have good homes, you have parks, you have waterways
You can feel safe and secure, you can go jogging in the middle of the night, even if you are a young lady; safe
This must always be the reality for all Singaporeans
HDB flats will always be affordable and accessible to all
In the last five years, we have made big moves in housing
We have stabilised BTO prices, we have launched 100,000 HDB flats equal to four Clementi towns
We have shortened the queues for flats
so most first-timers can now choose their flat in a non-mature estate on their first try
Some of them say, “Please don’t give me the flats so fast, I’m not ready to collect my keys yet.”
But we are going to do three more things in housing
First, for the higher-end households
We will make more Singaporeans eligible to buy HDB flats and ECs (Executive Condominiums)
Currently, there is an income ceiling for HDB flats and ECs
HDB flats – ceiling $10,000
ECs – ceiling $12,000
We last raised this four years ago
Since then, incomes have gone up further
and also since then we have cleared the first-timer backlog queuing up for HDB flats
So, we have the possibility now to raise the income ceiling and bring more people into the eligibility net
What shall we do?
For HDB flats, we will go from $10,000 to $12,000
For ECs, we will go from $12,000 to $14,000
This way, more households can buy HDB flats and ECs
Secondly, we will help middle and lower-income households who are buying their first home, first-timers
We will make HDB flats more affordable for them
We have a complicated system of HDB grants
If you are buying a house, you know the details but the gist of it is
There are weighted towards those who earn less
So the less you earn, the more generous our grants
The more you earn, you may still be eligible for an HDB flat but I think you can pay for a bit more of it yourself
So we will enhance our grants which help the lower and middle-income households buy flats
The way we do that is we have the Special CPF Housing Grant which is called the SHG
Special CPF Housing Grant
We will extend the SHG to cover more households
Right now, the SHG has an income ceiling, which is $6,500, and that is half of all households
And we will raise this ceiling to $8,500 so that two thirds of households will qualify for the SHG
We will also increase the amount of the SHG
because currently the maximum amount is $20,000 and we will double that to $40,000
So what does this mean?
For a median household, one just about middle-income
buying a flat previously they would have received $10,000 of SHG
Now they will receive $30,000 of SHG – three times as much
The third thing we will do is to help those in rental flats, to help them to own their flat
With the home ownership programme, almost all Singaporeans have been able to buy their homes
but there are a few who still cannot afford to do that or have not been able to hold onto their flats
So, for those who have not bought the flat ever before
Minister Khaw Boon Wan recently restructured the two-room flat and the Studio Apartment schemes
And after the restructuring, I think that will help
It is more flexible, it will be easier for people to buy their first flat, a two-room flat
Also now that we are doubling the maximum SHG, which I just told you about
That will make two-room flats even more affordable
How much more affordable?
Last time when I was an HDB agent, I told you that if you earn $1,000 a month, you can buy a two-room flat
Now with these latest changes, even if you earn below $1,000
but you are holding a stable job and you contribute to CPF regularly
You can still afford to have a two-room flat
Come to your housing agent at your MPS (Meet-the-People Session) and we will work out the details
There is another group of rental tenants who are more difficult to help, more tricky to help
and these are the ones who have bought a flat before, but sold it and are now back in a rental unit
They have already benefitted from previous HDB subsidies
So the Government cannot just give them another grant to buy another flat
Otherwise there’s no end and it would not be fair to others
So these households find it particularly difficult to afford another flat
Also these households often have many different problems
Jobs, relationships, children’s education, sometimes drugs
and their housing problem is a result of their other problems
It’s not a house being an issue but because their lives are not in order
So the house is a consequence of the mess
I am very concerned about the future of this group
because without help, they may be permanently out of reach of getting a flat of their own
And they will be trapped in poverty and their children will be affected
And you perpetuate the cycle into the next generation
So we have studied this problem at length
I think there is a way we can help these families to start afresh and to own their homes again
And we have got a scheme to do this which we will call the Fresh Start Housing Scheme
What will a Fresh Start Housing Scheme do?
It will help second-timer rental households own a two-room flat
The flat will have a shorter lease
The flat will have stricter resale conditions that can make it more affordable
and also may maximise the chances of people holding on to it and not just flipping it
But it’s not just providing a flat
It’s also supporting the family with counsellors, to guide them to solve their problems holistically, all aspects
Jobs, school, drugs, family relationships, planning for the future, saving for the future
The family has to play its part, and show that they are putting their lives in order
determined to get back on their feet, committed to putting their children through school
Then if they show that and with all these extra arrangements
I think we can justify providing a grant for them
a Fresh Start Housing Grant
to help them pay their flat
So it is not without conditions
You have to do your part
But you do your part, we help you, you have a second chance
And over time, with guidance, with help, through this Scheme you can own your own homes again
You have something to work towards, aspire to and achieve, for yourself, for your children
It’s a major initiative, it will take us some time to work out
But I think it is important because it shows our philosophy
That in Singapore, we will help you but you must help yourself and we do not want anybody to be left behind
Finally, we have to manage our population issues well
Because whether our population is young or old, growing or shrinking
That determines how our society, our outlook, our confidence will be
I will speak about two groups tonight, the seniors and the families and babies
Let me start with the seniors
The elderly will always have a place in Singapore
We honour them because they brought us here, they brought us up
and they will always have something to contribute to Singapore
That is why we made the Pioneer Generation Package (PGP)
to express our gratitude to the pioneers who contributed so much to building today’s Singapore
Having made the package, we made an extra effort
We sent PG Ambassadors to every home, to visit pioneers at home, chat with them
understand their needs and explain to them how they can personally benefit from the PGP
And in the process of talking to them, we learnt many heart-warming stories
and we collected them all in a nice book which we launched last month
It’s titled, “Their Past: A Present for Our Future”
Quite a clever title
Lots of interesting stories in the book
One in particular is about two friends - Mr Mutu Sammy, and Mr Ching Chong Kwi
Mr Mutu Sammy is 69 years old, Mr Ching is 81 years old
They have been neighbours and close friends for ten years
Mutu lost his leg long ago in a traffic accident
Mr Ching who is 81 years old takes care of Mutu
Looks after his plants, changes light bulbs for him, drives him to medical check-ups
Mr Ching speaks Mandarin, Mutu speaks English, and they talk to each other in Malay
That’s the Kampong Spirit for you
Mutu and Mr Ching told our Ambassadors that they are very happy with the PG Package and the PG Card
because Mutu benefits directly from it
There is a PG Disability Assistance Scheme and he qualifies and he gets $100 a month
And when he visits the Specialist Outpatient Clinic, the net amount he has to pay is just $12
And of course both are happy to be honoured and to be recognised
We are grateful to all our Pioneers
And I think at SG50 NDR, we should say again, thank you, pioneers of Singapore
The senior citizens, I know what you are thinking, who are not quite as old as the PG
You are also very much on our minds
So when we did the PG Package, we also did a special package of Medisave top-ups
for those who are slightly younger, did not quite qualify, like me
But I think what many seniors really want is not a package but to age well
Gan Kim Yong leads the Ministerial Committee on Ageing
He will announce an Action Plan soon
which we hope will make Singapore a model for successful ageing, handling this problem
Let me give you just one sneak peek from his plan tonight
Many people who are in their 60s want to work longer
They say, “If I sit at home and do nothing, I will go ga-ga
Furthermore, my wife will tell me to go and do something about it"
So we raised the re-employment age to 65 three years ago
And the unions and workers were very happy
I think the employers have accepted it, they are adjusting to it and starting to benefit from it
It’s still too early to judge but so far, it seems to be working well
From the workers’ point of view, 65 may be too early to stop work
Workers want us to raise the re-employment age
and they want to keep working for as long as they are healthy
I hear this every time I attend a union function
I reply “Yes, I agree fully
We will do it, we have choose a right time to do it
because we want to make sure that the employers have the practical arrangements
and you can make a contribution at your company and it will not be a burden to the company"
Otherwise it’s not sustainable
But we have been working at this problem
The tripartite partners have been discussing this
and I am happy to tell you that they have reached an agreement
And the agreement is that we will pass legislation to raise the re-employment age from 65 to 67
We will do it by 2017, in other words after the coming election
Now, let me talk about families and babies
We discuss these as policies and what should we do, rules, incentives but at the root of this is not policy
It is people, families and their children
Our families are what make life meaningful for many of us
and our children are what will ensure that Singapore will have a future
In fact, our children are the reason why we want Singapore to have a future, for them
And so we decided on a baby Jubilee Gift for SG50 babies
And you can see some of the things down here – a box, the strap, some T-shirts, and some other diaper holders
I am glad to hear from Grace Fu that we have given out almost 20,000 SG50 packets this year
including one to Tin Pei Ling
When I go around and see parents with the red sling, I will ask them
“Ah, SG50 baby. Congratulations! How many months old?”
And then, “When is the next one coming?”
In fact, I have been trying to find a family which has two Jubilee babies. It is possible
And finally I came across one
Introducing Charlotte on the left and Colette, on the right, twins born three weeks ago
I hope couples continue to have many babies after SG50, but I know it is a serious decision
It is hard work and a lifelong commitment
You sacrifice your time, your sleep, you have to buy milk powder, diapers, and parenting goes on for many years
well after your children have supposedly grown up
Having a child is a major responsibility, but we will help you
because every Singapore child is precious to us because each one is a member of our Singapore family
So when I speak about families at the National Day Rally, I always try to do something
to make it easier for parents to have babies
Not just practical help, but also signals to change mindsets and attitudes
and, therefore, encourage people gradually to change behaviour
For example, making workplaces more family-friendly or getting fathers to do their share of parental duties
If you look at the numbers, last year’s numbers seem promising
This is the graph of the babies born every year since 2000
2000 was a bumper year
41,600, Dragon Year
The next Dragon Year there is a bit of a blip
But what encourages me is that this year 2014, not a Dragon Year, but almost as big as a dragon
If you look back, it is almost 10 years since we have had that many babies in one year
So it is not bad and I expect that this year, we will have about the same number as 2014
On National Day this year, we had a record number of babies born – 129 9th August babies
These are statistics, but what I see directly when I go around confirms this
Because nowadays I often see families who have lots of kids
and they are proud and happy that they have many children
and they tell me that they have many children
On the Jubilee weekend, I met the Goh family at the new Ci Yuan Hawker Centre
I went to see the hawker food, but I got a bonus, I saw some babies as well
I started off noticing this SG50 baby
then I counted the sister one, brother one, another brother, one, two, three, four, five kids in one Goh family
Father was not there. I said where’s the father?
Father queuing up for food
So talked to the father, he works in the SAF, mother is a homemaker and they are enjoying family life
It is good!
So I think this is a good time to give our families and babies efforts an extra push
We will push in four ways
First, we will help couples who live closer to their parents
In the old days, we used to have extended families and everybody would be under one roof
It can be complicated, but it is also a strength
Now, people live in nuclear families
But many couples still want to stay with their parents or near their parents
Or parents often would want to stay with or near their married children
so that the grandparents can enjoy their grandkids
and the adult children can help to look after the old folks as they age
HDB already has various schemes to support this
We have relooked at the HDB incentives and we will repackage them and re-launch them more generously
And we will introduce what we call a Proximity Housing Grant
What is the Proximity Housing Grant?
It is for every Singaporean household, whether first-timer or not, you will be eligible
and you can get it when you buy a resale flat with your parents or near your parents
or you buy a resale flat with your married children or near your married children
You can get the Proximity Housing Grant once
But MND will work out the details and we will announce them soon
Secondly, we will enhance the Baby Bonus
We will increase the amount of the Bonus
to help cover a little bit more of the child-raising costs during the child’s infancy
and I think that will help because I hear mothers telling me that milk powder is expensive
Well, if that is so, this will be a little bit of assistance
Also, the Baby Bonus is presently just for the first four children, so we will now give it to every child
This will provide support to parents
More support to parents with larger families
and also reflects our attitude that every child is valued in Singapore
Thirdly, Medisave
In Singapore, when a new baby is born, you do not just get the birth certificate
You also get the CPF Medisave account
And the account comes with some money from the Government
to help cover your MediShield premiums and vaccinations and other expenses
at least for the first few years
And this is called the Medisave grant for newborns
So we will increase the Medisave grant for newborns
We will make it enough to cover MediShield Life premiums until you are 21 years old
and also help with other healthcare expenses such as recommended vaccinations
Because until 21, really the burden is on your parents
After 21, we presume you will be looking after yourself
And this will give your parents greater peace of mind
Fourthly, paternity leave
Fathers play a very important role in bringing up children
You have to do your part
If it is just the mother’s responsibility to care for and raise your children
I think the mother will decide enough is enough
Right now, fathers get one week of paternity leave
I think fathers can do more, so we will add one more week of paternity leave
Making two weeks
Do not go and play golf, please use it to take care of your kid
The Government will pay for this one extra week
We will implement this, but the companies have to agree to give the leave
So we will not force the companies for a start, we will implement this on a voluntary basis
to give the companies, to give employers time to adjust
And then after a few years, we will look at the position again
Of course, the public service, the civil service, will volunteer straightaway
So to all the public officers who may be watching tonight, you have no excuse
The Baby Bonus, the Medisave grant and the Paternity leave changes
will apply with effect from the 1st of January, the 1st of January 2015
Because this is a Jubilee year, I think we should give all the Jubilee babies this little hongbao
Grace Fu will tell you lots of details soon
and I hope they will all be happy details
and they will help many more couples to experience the joys of parenthood
For Singapore to continue to do well, we must have that resolve to defend this land
We must have that will to make Singapore endure and to prevail
and we must stand as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion
After 50 years, this faith, this sense of togetherness and purpose is stronger than before
The Singapore spirit ignites when we celebrate our successes together
When our athletes made us proud at the SEA Games
like Shanti Pereira who won our first sprint gold in 42 years
Or Ashley Liew, the marathon runner
After the other runners took a wrong turn
He slowed down and waited for them to catch up and showed sportsmanship and class
The Singapore spirit shines when we help one another in times of need
When we were beset by severe haze in 2013
Many people came forward to distribute masks and help the less able
When a man was run over by a truck recently
people rushed forward to push the truck, lift it up and help the man out
After a bomb exploded in Bangkok last week
Singaporeans living in Bangkok contacted the embassy to offer help
Our spirit shone brightest when Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away
Hundreds of thousands lined up, day and night to pay their respects
at Parliament House and at many community tribute sites
Mr Lee’s passing brought out so much in us
People queued patiently, they let children and seniors through
Businesses provided free chairs and refreshments to those queuing up
Volunteers helped out, distributing umbrellas, food, drinks
And when the gun carriage carried Mr Lee on his final journey
from Parliament House to the UCC, the University Cultural Centre
Tens of thousands lined the streets
And then it started to rain
What would we do?
Everyone stayed put
It was like the 1968 National Day Parade when it poured on the parade after it had formed up
The funeral procession started on time into the pouring rain
I was deeply moved to see the crowds stand their ground, paying their last respects to Mr Lee
Teardrops and raindrops fell together
For all of us, this was a historic moment shared as one Singapore family
We were mourning Mr Lee’s passing but also affirming what he stood for and celebrating what he had achieved
That day, something changed in us
Our shared moment of sorrow bonded us
Now we do not have to struggle to find words to define the Singapore spirit or to say what being Singaporean is
Now we know that we are Singaporean
Fifty years ago, our challenges seemed insurmountable
As a small country, we could easily have flickered and faded into the darkness of history
But our pioneers were made of stern stuff, they were galvanized
Many born elsewhere but deciding to make Singapore their home and their lifelong passion
They dug in their heels and built a nation together
Fifty years on, our challenges are still formidable but they are far from insurmountable
Those people who feel daunted and think Singapore’s best days are behind us, they are wrong
Our best days will always be ahead of us
Provided we continue to have a strong team, a team of lions and the lion-hearted, leaders and the people
We have had such a good team so far
Started with Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his colleagues, together with the pioneer generation
who built Singapore and made sure that Singapore would thrive beyond them
They handed over to Mr Goh Chok Tong and the second generation of Singaporeans 25 years ago now
Our generation inherited Singapore from them
and together, we took Singapore further forward to reach SG50
In the last ten years, we have written perhaps, another chapter of the Singapore story
If you have been following my National Day Rallies, you will know what we have done together
We said we would build more beautiful homes that Singaporeans could afford
and we did
This is Punggol 21
This is the view from Dawson
I think it is taken from the air terrace, I went up to take a look
The city rejuvenated
We have continued the Kampong spirit
During Ramadan, our neighbours break fast together along HDB corridors
And all over the island, volunteers have beautified our shared spaces with Communities in Bloom
We said we would strengthen our safety nets
and we did
We introduced Workfare, Silver Support, ComCare
We built new hospitals
Ng Teng Fong Hospital has opened since my last Rally
Community hospitals have also opened - this is Ren Ci
and Yishun Community Hospital will soon be ready
We have made healthcare more accessible and affordable
We have CHAS, the blue card and the orange card
And we have the PG Card
With MediShield Life, Singaporeans have lifelong healthcare coverage
We helped each other too
Going door-to-door delivering milk powder and food to needy families
Seniors have kept active, exercising to stay fit and healthy as they age
And if you think these exercises are not quite challenging enough
You can try to do these exercises
We said we would create more pathways for children to chase rainbows
and we did
We built Northlight and Assumption Pathway for students who fail their PSLE
because we believe in our young and we will never give up on them
We built the School of the Arts, the Sports School, the School of Science and Technology
to cater to varied talents
We built first class campuses for our ITE Colleges, including ITE College Central, where we are now
We built new universities
Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)
Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)
UniSIM
If they were not first class institutions
Cheng Long (Jackie Chan) would not have given us these beautiful old Chinese buildings to be part of SUTD
But we are special and we will keep it so
We said that we would transform our city
and we did
Changi Airport is upgrading, Project Jewel, T4 and T5 are coming up
The Gardens by the Bay are an iconic and popular attraction
We have beautiful park connectors and ABC waterways, like Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
I took Prime Minister Tony Abbott there, the Australian PM
to show him how Singaporeans live and the natural environment that we all enjoy
I think it is worth showing off Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
Our volunteers have been active too
Preserving nature and heritage on Pulau Ubin, keeping our rivers clean
We said we would transform Marina Bay
and we did
This was Marina Bay in 2005 with Marina South still empty land
And at my rally that year, I promised you that by our Jubilee year, Marina Bay would be special
And this is Marina Bay today
We did this together
We had a vision, we believed in it, and together, we realised our dreams
In the last ten years, we built on what we inherited
We put brick on brick, we climbed step by step
We kept Singapore special, delivered results for Singaporeans
How did we do that?
Mr Lee and his team planned beyond their terms, beyond their lifetimes
They nurtured the next generation of leaders and the next generation of Singaporeans
They taught their successors to do the same
and this is what my team and I have sought to do for the last ten years
We have served you to the best of our ability, you have got to know us well
We have walked this SG50 journey together with you
My team and I take very seriously our responsibility to make sure that Singapore lasts beyond us
My core team are already in our late 50s and 60s
We will not be around forever and we must have the next team ready in the wings
The nucleus is there – brought in at the last elections and earlier
They have taken charge of important programmes like Our Singapore Conversation, like SG50
as well as different ministries, including difficult ones
They have connected with Singaporeans young and old
and participated fully in the major decisions which we have made
But we need to reinforce them, to round out the team
to give Singapore the best possible chance of succeeding into the future
And that is what I need to do in the next election
Singapore is at a turning point
We have just completed 50 successful years
Now we are starting out on our next 50 years of nationhood
Soon, I will be calling elections to ask for your mandate
to take Singapore into this next phase of our nation-building
And this election will be critical
You will be deciding who is governing Singapore for the next five years
But much more than that, you will be choosing the team who will be working with you for the next 15 to 20 years
You will be setting the direction for Singapore for the next 50 years
You will be determining the future for Singapore
What will this future be?
Will Singapore become an ordinary country, with intractable problems, slow or even negative growth
Overspending, heavy burdens for our children, gridlocked government, unable to act?
So many examples around the world
Or will Singapore always stay special for our children?
A multi-racial society strengthened by diversity, not splintered by divisions
A rugged society where everyone strives to do his best, but looks out for his fellow men
A people who live up to our song “One People, One Nation, One Singapore”
If you are proud of what we have achieved together
If you support what we want to do ahead, the future that we are building
then please support me, please support my team
Because my team and I cannot do anything just by ourselves
We have to do it with you in order to do it for you
In fact, we have to do it together in order to do it for all of us, to do a good job for Singapore
so that we can keep Singapore special for many years to come
Another 50 years
Can I be sure that Singapore will still be doing well, still be special come SG100?
Nobody can be sure
Nobody can promise that we will all live happily ever after
We all have our hopes and fears, our views and our guesses
One opinion that I know everybody would have liked to know
was Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s
He is gone now, but some friends did ask him this question not too long ago
In his old age, a group of friends would regularly take Mr Lee out for meals
The conversation would flow
and Mr Lee would get a chance to see a different bit of the Singapore that he had built
The last time they had dinner together was in January this year, shortly before he was taken to hospital
After Mr Lee died, one of the friends wrote to me, describing what happened
Let me read her letter
As it was the start of 2015, we talked at length about the celebrations for SG50
We took turns to encourage Mr Lee to attend as many SG50 events as possible
Actually, we hoped he would be there for the SG50 National Day Parade
Mr Lee listened to our exhortations, but stopped short of saying yes to our suggestions
At each of our gatherings, it had become a tradition to ask Mr Lee
“Will there be a Singapore many years from now?”
Once, Mr Lee said “Maybe”
On another, Mr Lee said
“Yes, if there is no corruption”
This was classic Mr Lee
Ever believing in Singapore
Yet ever cognisant that there will always work to be done, that we should never take things for granted
Continuing with our tradition and in the spirit of SG50
that evening we asked him
“Will there be a Singapore 50 years from now?”
Mr Lee’s answer took us all by surprise
That evening, for the first time, Mr Lee said
“Of course there will be… even better!”
Mr Lee did not make it to the SG50 NDP
But we were happy to have three surviving ministers who signed the Separation Agreement at the Parade
Encik Othman Wok, who is here with us this evening
and Mr Ong Pang Boon and Mr Jek Yeun Thong
They sat in a place of honour, next to Mr Lee’s chair
When we watched the video tribute to Mr Lee, we were all moved
We could sense his spirit with us, and in us
Mr Lee would have been proud of what he had built, if he had seen the NDP
Now, he is no longer here
We are on our own, but we are ready
Our resolve to defend ourselves is unquestioned
Our spirit and confidence is robust
Our unity and identity as a people has never been stronger
At the NDP, we showed the world what stuff Singapore is made of
For me, there were two special moments in a memorable parade
One was when Kit Chan sang “Home”
She sang beautifully, she always does
But what most amazed me was the singing from the crowd
All round the Padang, we could hear our voices lustily singing
“This is home, truly”
And never before have we done that
The second moment was after the parade
The last item, the kids were in bright LED costumes, putting on an energetic and spectacular performance
I went down to the Padang afterwards to meet them
They were in high spirits
Their faces shone with excitement and hope
I thought to myself, these are the faces of the future of Singapore
50 years from now, SG100
They will be about 60 years old, still vigorous with many more active years ahead of them
I hope they will be back at the Padang celebrating again, remembering SG50
Congratulating one another on how much they have done and how far they have come
and looking at more young, radiant faces of children and many grandchildren
and singing "Majulah Singapura!"
Thank you very much
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National Day Rally 2015 English Speech

5653 Folder Collection
JACK JHOU published on September 10, 2015
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  1. UrbanDictionary 俚語字典整合查詢。一般字典查詢不到你滿意的解譯,不妨使用「俚語字典」,或許會讓你有滿意的答案喔