How community responds day after terrorist attack important: Chan Chun Sing

Minister Chan Chun Sing leading the recitation of the pledge during a National Day Observance ceremony at the People's Asscociation HQ.
Minister Chan Chun Sing leading the recitation of the pledge during a National Day Observance ceremony at the People's Asscociation HQ.PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Staff from the People's Association cheering at a National Day Observance ceremony.
Staff from the People's Association cheering at a National Day Observance ceremony.PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans' response in the aftermath of a terrorist attack is just as important as dealing with the attack itself, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing.

He stressed the importance of social unity in a brief speech on Wednesday (Aug 17) to 500 staff from the People's Association (PA) at a National Day observation ceremony at the PA's headquarters on King George's Avenue.

The need for people to stay as one people will be critical in the face of challenges such as terrorism, and a rich-poor divide amid an economic slowdown, said Mr Chan, who is deputy chairman of the PA.

"Most people just focus on the day itself. But while that is important, you also need to make sure that the day before and the day after is done well," he said.

"The day after is very important. When people come together and...pull together even tighter, that sends a very strong and powerful signal to the people who mean us harm: that even if you break our bones, if you shed our blood, tear our skin, we are not going to let you rob us of our normalcy," he added.

Even before such an attack, Singaporeans should not be distrustful of each other, said Mr Chan.

In his speech, he said that Singapore needs to do three things to survive: to defend itself, to earn a living, and to stay together as one.

Singaporeans' unity should never be taken for granted, he said. Neither should the ability of different communities with different fears and aspirations to bind together.

This is where the PA plays an important role in keeping its ear to the ground and bringing the community together, said Mr Chan.