H. Conclusion

 

H. Conclusion

  1. 315 Mr Deputy Speaker, Singapore has come a long way in our transformation. Life has not been perfect; we have stumbled and struggled, here and there. But all things told, we can be very proud of where we are today.
  2. 316 Remember we were once thought to be an improbable nation. We are a little red dot; a most unlikely country. We are the only city in the world with a military and foreign service. We are a diverse city in one of the most highly diverse regions in the world. We are the only city of this size that is also a country and a hub for the world.
  3. 317 Throughout our nation’s history, we have faced many crises.
    1. a. Our pioneers still remember what it was like during the Japanese Occupation. World War Two seems very distant to us. But for the survivors, the experiences left them with indelible lessons.
    2. b. There is an exhibition now at the National Museum marking the 80th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, with stories of those who lived through it. One of them is Madam Sim Soo Wee. She was just seven years old when she lost her parents during the Occupation. She still remembers vividly the hardships of war, and how she and the people around her persevered through the most difficult days. And she said: “I hope the younger generation will continue to stay united, and demonstrate the same fortitude and resilience in the face of their own tests”. (See Annex B-1.)
  4. 318 Indeed over the subsequent decades, we have confronted many other challenges
    1. a. We had the communist insurgency in the 50s
    2. b. We went through the tumultuous period of the 60s and early 70s, with racial riots, separation from Malaysia, and the sudden departure of the British
    3. c. Since then, we have had to deal with one crisis after another – economic recessions, 9/11 and terrorism, SARS, and the Global Financial Crisis
  5. 319 Through these crucibles of fire, we forged our Singapore spirit – a spirit that is resolute and indomitable; that never gives up, and never says die. Adversity has not weakened us. Instead, it has strengthened our steel, deepened our bonds, and brought us closer together as one united people.
  6. 320 And so it has been in the last two years tackling this pandemic. We have made many sacrifices, stood together, and measured up as one people
    1. a. I will never forget the contributions of our frontline warriors – how they displayed tremendous courage, valiantly took on personal risks to fight the virus, and went above and beyond the call of duty.
    2. b. I will always remember how different groups from the public and private sectors joined forces to set up the Community Care Facilities at the Expo in 2020, when we were overwhelmed with our first wave of infection. They worked hand in hand and, against all odds, got the facility up and running in a matter of days. Since then, we have launched many more “Singapore Together” projects, involving public-private partnerships and Alliances for Action. They remind us that we are stronger when we stand together.
    3. c. I was especially cheered by the responses of our youth throughout this pandemic. They have taken the restrictions in their stride, and found new ways to learn online, and to keep in touch with their friends. In these difficult times, many looked beyond their own circumstances to help others in need.
    4. d. I saw this same resilient spirit at the AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final football match last year. The Lions fought hard and gave it their all. Even though they lost the game in extra-time, many fans stayed on after the match, and applauded the team, proud of how they had persevered despite going down to eight men. At the end, the fans in the stadium stood at attention, and everyone started singing the National Anthem in unison spontaneously. It was an unforgettable moment.
  7. 321 I am sure all of us will have our own memories of how the Singapore spirit shone brilliantly in the darkest hours of the pandemic. Let us draw strength from these experiences, and continue to keep faith with one another.
  8. 322 Sir, the past was not fore-ordained. Neither is the future predestined. There will be unexpected problems ahead, as there were in the past. They have to be met, grappled with and resolved.
  9. 323 But looking back at what we have been through during these COVID-19 years, we have nothing to fear. We will always overcome. We will always prevail, so long as we continue to stand side by side in solidarity with one another, regardless of race, language, or religion.
  10. 324 We will chart a new way forward together. We will see through the pandemic today, and build a better Singapore tomorrow.
  11. 325 Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to move.