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SG50 – We've Come a Long Way!

SG50 – We've Come a Long Way!

It was with pride as I took in the beautiful night view of our skyline. We have indeed come a long way. It’s by no mean feat that we have turned 50 and we can’t rest on our laurels if we want to celebrate SG100. 

Once upon a time, I used to cringe when I heard Singlish. After living in Germany for a year, listening to German or German accented English every single day, I was actually delighted when I caught Singlish being spoken in a foreign country. Ah! My fellow countrymen, I beamed. The familiarity and the longing (to my surprise) for this unique language made me want to go home. 

I knew, at that moment, that there’s no other place that I would call home. It’s through living in other countries that I realized how lucky I was, to be born a Singaporean. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s home. 

The National Day Message which was read by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, summed up the hardships and struggles our forefathers have been through. It totally resonates with me. Thank you our forefathers and I’ll endeavor to forge on and aspire to make a difference in the lives of the people around me. 

A reminder to myself, lest I forget. Here’s the transcript of PM Lee’s National Day Message 2015. 

National Day Message 2015

My Fellow Singaporeans

50 years ago, on this very night, Singapore was on the eve of a momentous change. The Cabinet had already signed the Separation Agreement. The Government Printers were busy printing the Separation Agreement and the Proclamation of Independence in a special Government Gazette. The Commissioner of Police and the Commander of the army units had been told by the Malaysian Government to take orders from the new government the next day. But all this happened in strict secrecy. Our forefathers went to bed oblivious of what was about to happen, still for the time being citizens of Malaysia.

Then morning came. The 9th of August 1965. Our world changed. At 10 a.m., a radio announcer read the Proclamation. Singapore had left Malaysia and would “forever be a sovereign, democratic and independent nation”. The Republic of Singapore was born.
People were apprehensive. No one knew if we could make it on our own. Our economy was not yet viable, much less vibrant. We had practically no resources, and no independent armed forces. Around noon on that first day, Mr Lee Kuan Yew gave a press conference on TV. He broke down halfway, unable to contain his emotions. It was, he said, “a moment of anguish”.

But that moment of anguish turned into a lifetime of determination to forge a path for this island nation. At the end of the press conference, Mr Lee made a promise to Singaporeans. He said: “We are going to be a multi-racial nation in Singapore. We will set an example. This is not a Malay nation; this is not a Chinese nation; this is not an Indian nation. Everyone will have his place, equal: language, culture, religion.”

From that break, we began building a nation. And what a journey it has been. It started with the first generation of leaders convincing our pioneer generation that Singapore could succeed as a sovereign country. Together, leaders and the people – the lions and the lion-hearted – fought with unwavering determination to secure our foundations. After them, younger generations picked up the baton and took Singapore further.

Year after year, Singapore progressed. Along the way we overcame many problems – the British withdrawal in 1971, the Oil Crisis in 1973, SARS, the Asian Financial Crisis, and then the Global Financial Crisis. We grew our economy and created jobs, built homes, schools, hospitals and parks. We built a nation.

Year after year, we have kept the promises that Mr Lee Kuan Yew made on the 9th of August 1965: that we will be “one united people, regardless of race, language or religion”; that we will always have a bright future ahead of us.

Therefore on our 50th birthday, we have ample reason to celebrate.

Let us celebrate 50 years of peace and security, underwritten by the blood and sweat of generations of NSmen.

Let us celebrate how we turned vulnerabilities into strengths. How a struggling economy with no domestic market made the world our market and created jobs for our people. How without any domestic hinterland, we made PSA and Changi Airport the best in the world. How from being utterly dependent on Johor for water, we turned the whole island into one catchment area, and developed NEWater. 

How while we had no natural resources, we educated every Singaporean and created opportunities for their talents to thrive. We have proven that together, we are greater than the sum of our parts.

Most of all let us celebrate how we journeyed from Third World to First, as one united people, leaving no one behind. Every citizen has benefitted from Singapore’s progress. Life has improved for all – for Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians; for blue collar as well as white collar workers; for HDB as well as condominium dwellers. We are a nation of home owners. Everyone has opportunities to improve themselves. Everyone can look forward to a brighter future.

At 50 years, as we stand at a high base camp, we look back and marvel how far we have come. We are grateful to those who made it happen.

From this base camp, we can also look forward to new peaks ahead. The journey ahead is uncharted. But we must press on, because we aspire to do better for ourselves and our children.

We know that we will get there, because we will always be there for one another. We are stronger as one people. For example, we instinctively gather to lift a truck to save someone trapped underneath. Even if the music fails, we go on singing the National Anthem with gusto. We are proud of our past and confident of our future. Together we believe in Singapore; together we belong to Singapore; together, we are Singapore.

I am speaking to you from Victoria Concert Hall, a place that holds special significance in Singapore’s history. In 1954, this was called the Victoria Memorial Hall. It was here that Mr Lee Kuan Yew launched the People’s Action Party, and inaugurated the long struggle for a fair and just society. It was here in 1958 that “Majulah Singapura” was first performed. It was at the Padang nearby, after independence, that we held our National Day Parades, and sang “Majulah Singapura” together as a nation.

50 years on, on our Golden Jubilee, we will gather again at the Padang. We will sing “Majulah Singapura” proudly, and recite the National Pledge. We will rejoice in the success of our last five decades, and commit ourselves anew to work together as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build Singapore, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity, and progress for our nation.

Happy 50th National Day!

Lee Kuan Yew – A Giant Among Men

Lee Kuan Yew – A Giant Among Men

I just couldn’t help it. Press releases from the PMO has prepared the nation for the inevitable. But when the news was finally released, tears started rolling down my cheeks. Although I deeply respect and admire the man, I’ve only seen him on tv, not even up close and personal. Yet, the sense of loss and sadness is overwhelming. For, without him, our little Singapore with no natural resources would not be known. 

My grandma, who brought me up, is a staunch admirer of Lee Kuan Yew. She’s a widow who has lived through WWII and has single-handedly brought up my then 3 yo father and 18 mo Uncle when my grandfather passed away. “Without LKY, we would still be living in mud huts, suffering in the hands of the abominable Lim Yew Hock and we have to grease every single person’s palm with money!” Then she would tell me all the stories. I grew up in awe of the man. 

I watched him on television, listened to his speeches, the ones that world leaders tuned in at the same time. There was much pride in us. 

You are the reason, why we can hold our heads high up among the super nations. 

Because of him,

We walk in peace, unmolested in the wee hours of the night. 

We are able to go to work with the peace of minds, that our families are safe at home. 

Women like us can receive an education which puts us on par with the men and we can equally contribute to the good of the society for education comes with power. 

We live in a beautiful environment with clean water and first class health care. 

We are connected globally on cyberspace, where many ingrates are able to bitch about him. We remain up to date with the global news for knowledge brings wisdom. 

Although he is gone, but his legacy lives on. We see his footprints all over Singapore, in every single tree (we have a lot of trees!), in every single person. He’s touched our lives. 

Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Although I don’t know you personally, but you feel like a grandfather to me. You have given us your life and we must make sure that we carry on and pass the torch to the future generations. 

I will tell my children that you are our founding father, and without you, there won’t be us. 


Damn! I’m turning into a weeping bunch of emotions as I’m writing this. And I’m never like this! 

From the great man : live a life with no regrets!

People of Singapore

People of Singapore

People of Singapore – One Face at a Time.

How apt. I stumbled upon this blog when it was cross linked to one of my news tweets.

It’s a blog chronicling the lives of the people who are living in Singapore, from all walks of life.

Ignore all the happiness reports, boring people reports, wealth reports and other trashy reports out there that people like to quote, especially on the social media. This is the real Singapore. These are the people in flesh, forging their lives in Singapore. Real living people define Singapore, not absurd statistical figures from skewed reports that people take as gospel truth.

Ignore even the xenophobic, whiny, social media posts of the minority who make such a racquet that they are assumed to be the majority. (Empty vessels make the most noise. Sorry. Can’t resist taking a jibe at them. Losers!!)

This is the real Singapore, with a face and a heart.

People of Singapore – One Face at a Time.


Photo at the courtesy of The People of Singapore website.

Best Joke I’ve Read in a Loooong While

Best Joke I’ve Read in a Loooong While

Hahaha. This must be the best joke I’ve read in a really loooong while that I MUST share it with everyone.

Best Joke of the Decade!

The author of the article is obviously trying to make up his mind whether he’s trying to compliment or discredit Singapore. I dare say that he’s probably still 2 minds about it while he’s writing it.

It’s an honor to know that our little “Pacific Isle” warranted such attention. I hope he isn’t mixing us up with one of the Pacific Islands. He should have brushed up on his geography. This brings me back to people I’ve come across during my backpacking trips. Many Americans and Europeans I’ve met thought Singapore was either 1. Part of China 2. Part of Malaysia. They were speaking with a knowing, patronizing air. Well, Singapore is an island in the Pacific Ocean. Let’s just give him the benefit of the doubt. After all he’s a tabloid writer and not a geography teacher!!

But critics say the sparkling lights and glass facades mask a reality of government control and social suppression

Gosh! You’ve no idea how suppressed I’m feeling, writing this blog. Pssst… I’m writing this under my blanket on my bed! Don’t tell anyone!! So are the rest of the contributors to “The Temasek Review”, “the online citizen” and the whathaveyous.. Oh wait! They may be writing in the privacies of their toilet cubicles!!

Male homosexuality is illegal, a gathering of five or more people requires an official permit and outstaying a visa can result in three strokes of the cane

Hmmm… I wonder how the pink dot movement became so open when male homosexuality is illegal?? I wonder if the author has any concrete number on the number of male homosexuals who have been found guilty and punished in Singapore?! Ahhh his maths must be hovering around the same standard as his geography.

Every time we hold a karaoke session with more than 5 people we had to apply for a permit from the government. :). Just kidding. No wonder our favourite pastime is playing mahjong!!

And does the UK welcome people with open arms when they overstay their visas? Maybe they do, giving them 3 kisses instead of 3 strokes of caning. I need to read up on the uk immigration law. Thank goodness I’m not a professional journalist!!

Pornography and littering both carry hefty fines while the unauthorised use of a wifi internet connection is considered hacking and can end in jail

And what’s wrong with fining these people? You litter you pay or you jolly well eat up your rubbish?? Besides how are we going to pay for the cleaners?? Sigh. I guess if he doesn’t quote the most serious term of any crime the news is not sensational enough. Of course go to jail lah!!! Most serious one Mah!!!! Aiyo don’t they send people to jail in other parts of the world for ANYTHING?!

I, for one, welcome the chewing gum ban. I’ve remembered countless times when chewing gums had ruined my favourite dresses or shoes. And seriously does anyone die from not being able to chew gum?! Duh! Get a life!! And I can’t understand why everyone is so fixated on this ban?! Do they own shares in Wrigley’s??

But I kind of like the photos. Good enough for the Singapore Tourism Board. Nice photography there!! And of course check out the comments. There are so many comments contradicting the views of the writer that they have to close the thread. Sigh. Talk about the “freedom of speech and expression”. Double standard rule here.

If you are feeling bored on a Sunday afternoon and are dying for a joke, it makes a good read.