Monday, 6 October 2014

PM Lee delivers keynote speech @ NUSS lecture

PM Lee speaks at NUSS 60th anniversary lecture
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks at the University Cultural Centre to mark the National University of Singapore Society's (NUSS) 60th anniversary, Oct 3, 2014. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tonight (Oct 3) gave a speech at the University Cultural Centre to mark the National University of Singapore Society's (NUSS) 60th anniversary.

Mr Lee first congratulated NUSS on its anniversary, before offering his thoughts on the topic Singapore in Transition - the Next Phase. He spoke on three points on Singapore’s future: To keep looking outwards while focussing on domestic challenges, balancing being both good-hearted and hard-headed, and finally understanding our past to be assured of our future.

He shares three points on the theme, Singapore in Transition - the Next Phase

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Have a heart, but use head too: PM
Joseph Schooling and his father Colin are Eurasians born in Singapore, but the swimmer has been labelled as "foreign talent" by critics

He was born in Singapore, as was his father. He did Singapore proud, winning a gold medal at the Asian Games for the country. And yet, for some netizens, the looks of this Eurasian prodigy were more eye-catching than his achievements.

They derisively dubbed swimmer Joseph Schooling an "ang moh" (a Hokkien term for "Caucasian") and a foreign talent.

Citing this example, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last night touched on the dangerous anti-immigrant sentiment that appears to have gripped some Singaporeans.


Be good-hearted and hard-headed in tackling issues: PM Lee

While being good-hearted, Singapore cannot shy away from being hard-headed, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today (Oct 3).

This is because the Republic needs growth and prosperity in order to be good-hearted, he said. Without resources, good intentions mean nothing, said Mr Lee, and growing the economy is the only way people can have a good life.

“A rich society is not necessarily a happy society, but impoverished societies are seldom happy,” he said. “We must not go pell-mell for growth regardless of social, human or environmental costs, nor are we doing so. But I worry when people say we can afford to take it easy on growth because we’re ok, and talk airily about more

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Singapore must be both "good-hearted and hard-headed" as it faces transition: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has singled out three principles that will help Singapore keep its momentum and purpose as it enters a phase of transition.

Mr Lee spoke on Friday evening (Oct 3) to an audience of some 1,500 at the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) Lecture that marked the society's 60th anniversary.The audience included students, NUSS members, NUS advisors and senior management, as well as some foreign dignitaries.

In a wide-ranging and hard-hitting speech entitled "Singapore in Transition - the Next Phase", Mr Lee said that the country is at an inflexion point and is in the process of changing gears and pace.



S’pore must not shy away from being hard-headed: PM
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks on Singapore in Transition – The Next Phase, a theme that takes on special significance as Singapore celebrates 50 years of nation-building next year, Oct 3, 2014. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong

While the Government of late has been lauded by people for “showing more heart rather than head”, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday that Singapore must not shy away from hard-headed policies when it comes to tackling challenges such as retirement adequacy, healthcare financing, immigration and the inflow of foreign workers.

“We must never be hard-hearted, but we must never shy away from being hard-headed,” he said.

Delivering a speech at the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) 60th Anniversary Lecture yesterday, Mr Lee spoke at length on the hot-button issue of population policy as an example of where both the heart and the head are needed


Documentary on S’pore exiles a ‘self-serving personal account’, says PM
Communists should not be allowed to present an account of themselves through a film that glosses over facts, he says

In the wake of the Media Development Authority’s (MDA) decision not to allow for local distribution or exhibition a documentary about the lives of Singapore exiles, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was yesterday asked about conditions under which the more controversial parts of Singapore’s past could be discussed normally.

Responding to the question from political analyst Gillian Koh following Mr Lee’s speech at the National University of Singapore Society 60th Anniversary Lecture, Mr Lee called the Communist insurgency that began in 1949 a violent struggle that should be seen within the historical context.


He said the Communists had cast their armed struggle for power as a quest for democracy, and that this was a matter of historical record that is not seriously disputed, except by some academics. “Why should we allow them, through a movie, to present an account of themselves not of documentary history objectively presented, but that is a self-serving personal account, conveniently inaccurate in places, glossing over inconvenient facts and others, which will sully the honour and reputation of the security people and the brave men and women who fought the Communists all those many years in order to create today’s Singapore?”


PM Lee answers questions on Tan Pin Pin film on political exiles

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong replies to a question during the Question-and-Answer session moderated by Professor Tommy Koh, after speaking on Singapore in Transition – The Next Phase, at the NUSS 60th Anniversary Lecture held in the University Cultural Centre, Oct 3, 2014. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong

After his speech at the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) Lecture today (Oct 3) Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong answered questions from the audience. Here are excerpts from his responses to questions about the Hong Kong protests and the film, To Singapore, with Love, directed by film-maker Tan Pin Pin.

Question on the conditions under which some of the more difficult, controversial points of history can be discussed more normally, so that there can be a common base from which to build a sense of “historical consciousness” and spring board for the future.

Mr Lee’s response: I think there is no hindrance to discussing the past in a normal way. People express, recount their memories, they write their memoirs. Historians research the archives, they write their thesis, they propound revisionist views of history, others rebut them. Academic fratricide is normal. I mean that is the way, hopefully, knowledge progresses; at least in the sciences, sometimes social sciences. I think what we are dealing with in To Singapore with love is not that. What is that issue in To Singapore, with Love — you’ve got to see it within a historical context. And the historical context was the communist insurgency, in fact an armed insurrection, in which thousands of people were killed. And the movie essentially is about some of these people involved

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PM: No further sharp curbs on foreign workers
Recent figures show that their numbers are right about where the government wants them, he says at NUS lecture

THE worst may be over for companies squeezed in recent years by the tightened policy on foreign workers.

"I do not expect any further drastic measures to tighten foreign worker numbers," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday evening.

Speaking at the 60th Anniversary Lecture of the National University of Singapore Society at the University Cultural Centre in Kent Ridge, he said the latest manpower numbers indicated that foreign worker growth had eased to a more sustainable level - "and is about where we want it to be".


Singapore doesn’t plan to curb inflow of foreign labour

Singapore's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong says no further measures will be need to curb foreign labour inflows, October 4, 2014. — Reuters picSINGAPORE, Oct 4 — Singapore probably won’t need more measures to restrain the inflow of foreign workers as a further tightening could deter overseas companies from setting up business in the city, prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said

The pace of increase for foreign workers has slowed and the country’s economic restructuring is under way, Lee said in a speech yesterday. A drop in investment by overseas companies may also hurt job opportunities for the city’s citizens, Lee said.

The latest “numbers do show that the foreign worker growth has slowed to a more sustainable level, and is about where we want it to be,” Lee said. “I do not expect any further measures to tighten foreign worker numbers further.”


PM Lee on the dangerous anti-immigrant sentiment among some Singaporeans
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong touched on the dangerous anti-immigrant sentiment that appears to have gripped some Singaporeans, during his speech at the National University of Singapore Society on Friday night. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Citing this example, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday touched on the dangerous anti-immigrant sentiment that appears to have gripped some Singaporeans.

If allowed to go unchallenged, it could end up harming Singapore's economy and reputation, he pointed out. "We see tendencies... to blame everything that happens in Singapore on foreigners and blame all foreigners for anything bad that any one non-Singaporean does," he said.

Singapore must avoid going down this road, Mr Lee added.


LEE HSIEN LOONG: DO NOT BLAME EVERYTHING BAD ON FOREIGN TALENT

At a public lecture organized by the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) yesterday (3 Oct), PM Lee said to make Singapore valuable to the world requires an approach that’s both good-hearted and hard-headed.

And an important example of where both heart and head is needed is in the nation’s population policy. It requires both heart and head to be balanced, he said.

Mr Lee assured Singaporeans that the Government is paying attention to both the emotional and practical aspects of this, giving weight to how comfortable people are with the pace of immigration and and encouraging those newly-arrived to adapt to Singapore society.


'Navel-gazing' poses risks for Singapore, says PM Lee

Thailand has a new prime minister after military chief Prayuth Chan-ocha seized power. But many Singaporeans would be hard pressed to name him. Similarly, the extremist group ISIS has been terrorising the world with its beheadings. But how many can say what ISIS stands for? (The abbreviation stands for "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria".)

In noting this, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said it showed people were not reading the news and were too caught up with immediate concerns.

This posed dangers, he added, as we would not know what is happening outside of Singapore and we would not be prepared to respond to the changes taking place.


PM calls on S'pore to look outwards and to the future

Against the backdrop of major world events, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last night warned Singaporeans against the dangers of being overly absorbed with internal issues to the detriment of preparing for the future.

Urging them not to give in to "navel-gazing", he laid out three principles that have helped the country succeed and which would help it maintain its momentum.

These are: Looking outwards and staying plugged in to the world; staying true to good-hearted policies while not shying away from hard-headed realities; and taking heart from the past to embrace the future with confidence.


Keep looking outwards while dealing with domestic challenges: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today (Oct 3) urged Singaporeans to “look outwards even as we deal with challenges at home”.

With so much focus on urgent issues in Singapore, Mr Lee said he feared that Singaporeans are not paying enough attention to what is happening outside of 

“We are absorbed in our daily lives, leaving little time and energy to track less immediate concerns,” he said, listing three reasons why it is important to have a broader view. Among them, he noted that it “sets our own issues in perspective”.


Pay attention to what’s happening outside of Singapore: PM Lee
Yahoo Newsroom - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong giving his address at NUSS Lecture Series. (Yahoo Singapore)

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday that Singaporeans should also look outwards at what is happening globally to get a better perspective on issues.

Speaking before the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) for the celebration of the group’s 60th anniversary, he said, ”I fear that Singaporeans are not paying enough attention to what’s happening outside of Singapore, as more people are getting their news not from reading newspapers or watching the television news…but from one another or through the social media.”

Lee believes that it is important to have a more global view because, it “sets own issues in perspective”.


S’poreans urged to keep close eye on pulse of global events
PM Lee says Republic should also adopt broader view when tackling domestic issues

With the region in a state of flux and the disruptions globalisation and technology could pose, Singaporeans can ill afford to be caught up in the here and now, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

Adopting a broader view when it comes to domestic issues should be the way because other countries are facing similar issues Singapore is dealing with and tips can be gleaned from how they tackle these problems, he said.

And even as the country’s focus is trained on the present, the “Singapore way” of keeping an eye on what lies ahead should be kept. But at the same time, Singaporeans need to understand the Republic’s past to remember hard-won lessons and appreciate the value of the nation’s achievements, as well as have confidence in the future, he added


'Beijing will be watching carefully': Singapore PM on Occupy Central
Lee Hsien Loong has voiced his opinion of the Occupy Central movement, saying it is best left up to Hong Kong to sort out and outside influences won't help

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has given his perspective on the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong and its implications for China and the region.

There will be issues that will come up from time to time, he said, and they have to be resolved by Hong Kong and China in a way which is in the interests of Hong Kong, doesn’t hurt the interests of China and is in accordance to the law. “These are peaceful demonstrations – that’s good. It’s not in Tiananmen, they are not in Zhongnanhai, that lowers the temperature,” he noted.

“But even then, it’s a difficult situation for the chief executive and his team to manage and I’m quite sure there’s a large team on the Chinese side in Beijing watching this very carefully … very, very carefully.”


Responsibility for resolving Hong Kong's issues lies with HK and Beijing, says PM Lee
An anti-occupy demonstrator (left) shouts at pro-occupy demonstrators (right) during an altercation in Mongkok late on Friday, Oct 3, 2014. It is the responsibility of Hong Kong and Beijing to make one country, two systems work, and if other parties get involved, it will not be helpful, said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a keynote speech on Friday night. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

It is the responsibility of Hong Kong and Beijing to make one country, two systems work, and if other parties get involved, it will not be helpful, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday night.

This was his response, at the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) Lecture, when asked by an audience member about the demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Mr Lee noted that the one country, two systems approach has "created areas for interpretation" since it is not easy to draw clear boundaries.


Hong Kong protests: Outside interference not helpful, says Singapore PM
A group of men wearing face masks beating up a man who had tried to stop them from removing barricades from a pro-democracy protest area in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong yesterday. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

THE responsibility falls on Hong Kong and Beijing to make "one country, two systems" work, and the involvement of other parties would complicate matters, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last night.

Replying to a question at a dialogue after his National University of Singapore Society lecture, Mr Lee said Hong Kong is in a very unique and delicate position.

"It's not a sovereign country, it's one country, two systems. It's never had elections all the years when the British had it as a colony," he said, responding to a member of the audience, who had asked about the stand-off between pro-democracy demonstrators and the Hong Kong government.


A look back at past NUSS lectures and key issues covered
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking a selfie with members of the audience after giving a speech at the National University of Singapore Society. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke at the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) lecture on Friday evening at the University Cultural Centre.

In his speech, he said that for Singapore to get ahead as it approaches its half-century mark, it should focus on three principles: look outwards, be good-hearted but hard-headed about policies and be confident of the future by remembering what it achieved in the past.

The lecture series and dialogue, which began in 1991, has seen several local politicians take the podium.