SINGAPORE - New citizens and Singaporeans alike should follow in the footsteps of the pioneer generation, who contributed to the country and built a common Singaporean identity, despite being from different races and cultures.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan had this message on Saturday, as they welcomed newcomers to Singapore at two separate National Citizenship ceremonies.
Both also called on new citizens to actively integrate into society. They suggested taking part in community and volunteering for a start.
PM Lee said Singaporeans can also play a part to help the newcomers feel welcome, by organising neighbourhood events or inviting them to meals at home.
Speaking at a ceremony at the Cheng San Community Club for 150 new Singaporeans of Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West, he said that changing citizenship was a major decision and was not one that was made lightly. They were not just weighing the costs and benefits but were also declaring that "this is where I belong".
As with this older generation of Singaporeans, whose children have grown up together in Singapore, new citizens now, too, will sink roots here, he said, adding that he hoped they would actively integrate into Singapore society.
At an earlier ceremony at the Republic Polytechnic for 194 new Singaporean citizens of Sembawang GRC, Mr Khaw said: "Our Singapore story is a story about individuals putting society above self, and coming together to collectively build an endearing home for all."
He added that Singapore's pioneers had also formed friendships across racial and religious lines, and forged a strong community spirit.
Mr Khaw urged the current generation of Singaporeans to continue to build on the legacy of Singapore's pioneers.
This weekend, similar ceremonies will be held across 14 GRCs, where about 3,150 new citizens will get their pink ICs and certificates of citizenship.