Four defining moments in 2015 spur confidence in Singapore's future: PM Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted four incidents over the past year that would help spur the country forward, in his New Year message.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted four incidents over the past year that would help spur the country forward, in his New Year message. PHOTO: MCI

SINGAPORE - Singapore's journey into the next lap is set to be challenging, but four defining moments in the past 12 months have demonstrated that Singaporeans will come together for one another to take the country forward, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday.

In a New Year message that departed from the usual focus on the economy, Mr Lee reflected on how the memorable moments showed what a determined and united people can achieve.

"They showed the world - and ourselves - what a determined and united people can do; why Singapore is a shining red dot...But most of all, these were moments when we came together, and took responsibility for one another.

 

"We wept, we sang, we celebrated, we bonded together, and emerged stronger as one united people," he said.

As SG50 ends, and the next chapter of the Singapore Story begins, Singaporeans should be prepared for a world very different from that of the pioneers 50 years ago, he said.

With globalisation, there are greater opportunities, but also fiercer competition. And while the country has more resources, people also have higher aspirations.

"We cannot expect an easy journey ahead. But the journey can be every bit as exciting as the first 50 years, he said adding that Singaporeans will be there for one another come what may. "We will celebrate our successes together, because we know we can only succeed together."

Here are the four moments that stood out for PM Lee:

1. Passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew


PHOTO: PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE

"The first was on 29 March, when we sent off our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Singaporeans lined the streets to bid him a final farewell. The rain was pouring. As the gun carriage left Parliament House, people shouted his name. I was deeply moved to see everyone's faces - drenched, grieving, but not downcast. We were one people, grateful for what our pioneers had achieved, resolved to take Singapore further forward."

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2. SG50 Celebrations


PHOTO: PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE

"The second moment was the weekend of 4 July. Over three days, I attended five events - an SG50 Catholic mass; the Jubilee Day of Prayer organised by Protestant churches; a Harmony in Diversity concert organised by the Taoist Federation and New Creation Church; and two iftars - one in Al-Ansar Mosque, and another organised by Jalan Kayu grassroots organisations as part of a Racial Harmony Night. Together, the events reflected the diversity of our society, our racial and religious harmony, and the Singapore identity which we have built over the past 50 years."

3. National Day Parade Celebrations


PHOTO: PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE

"My third moment was on 9 August, when we celebrated our Golden Jubilee at the Padang. It was not just the scale of the mobile column and flypast, but the Singapore story told through the lives of ordinary Singaporeans past and present. That is why when our pioneer soldiers marched past, we gave them our loudest cheer.

Our schoolchildren in LED costumes put up an energetic and spectacular performance to end the show on a high note. They reminded me why we are building Singapore and gave me confidence that they can chase their own rainbows and take Singapore higher and further."

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4. General Election


PHOTO: PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG

"The fourth moment was on 11 September, the polling day of the General Election. Which direction would Singapore go? Which team would we choose to lead us forward?

As the results came in, I felt gratified and happy that voters had delivered a big win for Singapore. We were united in our desire to secure our shared future, to achieve the best for Singapore. As I joined our supporters at Toa Payoh Stadium that night, I took a photo of a supporter who had brought her baby along to share this historic moment. It encapsulated what the election was about - our people and our future."

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