I am quite touched by the speech PM Lee gave during National Day Rally. To be honest, I caught the first few minutes on television but then got bored and decided to stop watching. But tonight my parents were talking about how Singaporeans have praised PM Lee for his good speech and so I went to check it out online. You can read it here.
Halfway through reading the speech, I was quite jaded and didn’t read anything new that I have not read before. The troubles we face; foreign migrants, housing and transport issues that gives rise to the people’s unhappiness. And how he reassures us that the various ministries are looking in to the issues and are doing their best to find solutions.
The speech only started to be interesting when he provided tangible solutions. Such as raising the income ceiling for HDB and EC to $10,000 and $12,000 respectively and increasing the number of BTO houses for the coming year to keep HDB “available and affordable” for all.
And pertaining to the people’s complaints about the lack of a degree education placing in Singapore, the government have responded by increasing the placements for locals to an additional of 2000 a year, which is supposedly a whole cohort for SMU. This is a good move, but alas a belated one. I can attest to the number of my friends who had to move on to a private university with exorbitant prices and they will have to bear the burden of their education debt for a good few longer years than those who could enjoy local university education. I weep for my friends, but yet I rejoice for the cohorts that will get to enjoy these new measures.
I believe the reason why Singaporeans are particularly touched and impressed with PM Lee’s speech is because he represents the government in showing genuine sincerity of implementing positive changes to our country after hearing (finally, I may add) our cries and as well reassuring us repeatedly that Singaporeans are priority and will be given priority in important matters such as housing, education and healthcare. It is not an easy task that the government has to undertake and though they may not have done the best of job in recent years and had a few slip ups here and there, they show genuine passion to do things even better now and onwards.
PM Lee ended the speech with many quotes and stories taken from inspirational Singaporeans and how they represent the Singapore spirit. Singaporeans that may come from a disadvantaged background but persists on and is rewarded by their hard-work.
From PM Lee’s NDR speech, I have come to realize that to be a good and admirable leader, one has to remind the people of the storms they have braved and made it through together and it is the same strong spirit that can bring them through the tough times ahead. The failures of the past are also there as a lesson for us to learn and to move on from. There is no point in blame shifting but to provide effective solutions with a positive attitude. And most of all, he is also to remind and inspire the people of their strength, the attitude, spirit and direction he wants them to move forward in.
I may have my fair share of complaints about the government sometimes (especially when suffering on public transport during peak hours!) and I still believe that the people must and should always be on the alert and give constructive and timely feedback to the government. But I am also very grateful to God and the various ministers and public servants that have toiled long and hard to keep our country, the clean, green and efficient city-state that I will always be (and hopefully increasingly) proud to call home. 🙂
I <3 Singapore!