5 remarkable facts about National Day Rally 2014

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’ at National Day Rally (NDR) in ITE College Central. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAO BIN
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’ at National Day Rally (NDR) in ITE College Central. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAO BIN

1. PM Lee Hsien Loong didn’t wear red or pink.

He wore blue, or rather, teal.

The shirt came from local shirtmaker CYC.

Some tweets to the hashtag #ndrsg remarked on the choice of colour.

It was by no means the first time PM Lee wore blue, so those wondering if there was a subliminal message to Workers’ Party fans can scrub that thought out.

PM Lee chose blue, or shades of it, in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2011.

2. Jurong is going to be the new Marina.

Exciting plans are in store for the Jurong Lake and Jurong Gateway area.

A new lakeside garden will be developed, joining the existing Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden and Jurong Lake Park.

There are plans for lakeside and parkside residential developments fringing the new garden.

More commercial developments will come up.

A new Science Centre will pop up.

And most of all, the High Speed Rail from Kuala Lumpur may well terminate in the Jurong Lake area.

PM Lee has told Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak he thinks the high speed train can have its Singapore terminus in the Jurong Lake area.

3. The Lease Buyback scheme will be extended to four-room flats.

Now, it’s an option only for those who own three-room and smaller flats.

The extension means over half of Housing Board (HDB) flat owners stand to have this option when they retire.

They can sell back the last decades of their HDB flat leases to the government, and get a lump sum, plus monthly cash payments.

A flat of $450,000, with 35 years of lease sold back to the government, nets a family $27,500 in a lump sum, and $900 cash a month.

4. PM Lee turned interviewer.

He was so taken with Keppel Offshore and Marine, he went down to do a group interview with three of their employees.

All three are folk who started with ITE certificates or poly diplomas who climbed the career ladder in Keppel.

He screened snippets of the video interviews in his National Day Rally speech. His point was that you don’t need a degree to do well at work in Singapore.

As a journalist who’s conducted many interviews (including with PM himself), I can say he did a good job. He established rapport and asked questions that elicited candid and open responses.

We know this PM can take selfies and he snaps good photos. He even showed some of them off at the NDR.

Now, we know he can also do interviews.

5. PM Lee sang.

He sang one line from a Chinese xinyao song, on dreams.

Okay, it was just one line.

Okay, while he can make it as a new media journalist, he may not make it as a singer.

But at least the man tried.