SINGAPORE - National Day will be an extra special one this year for 71 people who became Singapore citizens on Saturday (Aug 5).
They were presented with their new identity cards and citizenship certificates at a national citizenship ceremony organised by Tanjong Pagar GRC.
Among them was Ms Zhou Ang, 25, a doctor at the National University Hospital who moved to Singapore from China with her parents when she was three years old.
She said: "I went to local schools and all my friends treated me as a Singaporean. In fact, I used to think that I was a Singaporean until I went on overseas school trips and had to use a different immigration lane at the airport.
"Becoming a citizen was a natural process for me. It's been a long time coming."
The ceremony was held at the 50th floor of the Pinnacle@Duxton.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, in a speech at the event, said: "To be a Singaporean is not a matter of ancestry per se. To be a Singaporean is a choice. It is also a pledge.
"It may be easy to call ourselves Singaporeans when our economy is strong, our defence is secure, our society is cohesive and our leadership and systems are progressive. But let us remind ourselves that this may not always be so."
He urged the new citizens to defend Singapore's way of life "beyond race, language and religion, regardless of social and economic background".
At the ceremony, the new citizens sang the National Anthem and recited the pledge.
Another new citizen, Mr Teyu Che Chern, 43, the chief executive of Singapore-based brokerage Philip Futures, said: "In school, I sang the National Anthem, but this is the first time I'm singing the anthem as a Singaporean. It's a very special feeling."
Mr Teyu moved from the town of Pekan Nanas in Johor to Singapore in 1981, when he was seven, to go to school here. His wife and four children are Singaporeans.
Becoming a Singapore citizen was "a matter of when", he said.
"Singapore is a place where I have lived for more than 30 years. It was already my home," he added.