Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers his 11th National Day Rally address tonight. He’ll be speaking at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central in Ang Mo Kio. The speeches, in Malay, Mandarin and English, will be broadcast live on television.
I’ll be watching, as I have watched the last 10.
Here are 11 reasons why.
1. It’s the most important political speech of the year.
2. What colour shirt will PM wear?
PM Lee often favours pink, red, and shades of it.
In 2010, he wore a fuchsia shirt that had a peek-a-boo collar with white and pink stripes. The Straits Times’ fashion weekly Urban remarked on it at that time: “This peek-a-boo collar design, say shirt specialists, is getting popular with men who want to stand out from the pack.”
Will PM Lee choose another shirt that stands out from the pack this year?
3. Who will be his special guests?
PM Lee often highlights people who have done amazing things, or people who have made it against the odds, in his speech.
Sometimes, he calls them out by name and they take a bow. That’s one of my favourite parts of the evening.
4. What techie stuff will he show off this year?
This is a geeky PM who made National Day Rally speeches multimedia and interactive.
In 2009, he had a 2 1/2 minute “fly-through” vista of Marina Bay. In 2011, he had video clips of Singapore-made Transformer Bumblebee.
Will Mr Lee surprise today? How about a stage presentation of a 3D printer?
5. What will PM say about CPF Life?
The annuity plan under the Central Provident Fund will undergo an overhaul. What exactly?
6. How can we monetise HDB flats for retirement?
Another big issue relating to retirement adequacy is expected to be dealt with. The Lease Buyback scheme hasn’t quite taken off.
Moves to encourage elderly couples to sell their Housing Board flats and get smaller ones have had slow take-up. What’s in store next?
7. Which demographic will get goodies this year?
Last year’s NDR saw the oldies get the generous Pioneer Generation Package of health subsidies. Previous years had young couples getting Baby Bonuses.
Which group will get the goodies this year?
8. Will there be teary moments?
Sometimes, PM Lee gets choked up with emotion when he speaks about Singapore.
9. Will there be many jokes?
10. Will this year’s NDR be a social media event?
He is setting aside seats for his social media fans this year. Will his 83,500 Twitter followers and the 400,000 folk who “like” his Facebook page turn the NDR into a tsunami of tweets and likes?
11. Most important of all: Will PM Lee take a group selfie with the crowd?
Imagine how long the monopod would have to be.