Monday, 19 August 2013

PM's National Day Rally Speech

PM Lee moved to tears touches hearts

PM Lee at National Day Rally 2013

We know he as a leader needs vision.  What we also saw were his passion and emotion. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong broke down as he spoke of math maven Dr Yeo Sze Ling, who overcame her blindness and became an  A*star researcher.

“Sze Ling proves that you can do well if you try hard, no matter what your circumstances, and that is also how we can contribute back to society, to keep the system fair for all,” PM Lee said and broke down in tears during his National Day Rally speech.

He recovered swiftly to speak about his plans for Singapore. But that moment will linger in memory. We saw the Prime Minister moved to tears. It showed how strongly he feels about fighting adversity, succeeding in life and giving back to society.

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National Day Rally 2013

SINGAPORE will move decisively to shield citizens from the harsh effects of global change, an ageing society and rising inequality, with a new approach to government policy.

After decades of what others have called "tough love", Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced big shifts to:
- Extend help to middle-income households to buy Housing Board flats, and to owners of two-room flats ready to upgrade.
- Widen safety nets to everyone, regardless of age, to deal with health-care costs; and
- Ensure that every child gets the best shot at developing his potential to the maximum, while removing some of the stress in the education system.

Mr Lee delivered his 10th National Day Rally (NDR) speech and chose to hold it at the Institute of Technical Education's new Ang Mo Kio campus for a serious purpose: "To underscore my longstanding commitment to investing in every person, every Singaporean to his full potential, but also to signal a change, to emphasise that this is not the usual NDR."


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PM Lee outlines new way forward in National Day Rally 2013 speech

PM began his English speech recapping the OurSGConversation ( process. He said the OSC has been a very meaningful exercise. "We have listened to one another and created a firmer, shared basis to discuss and plan our future."

PM said that to achieve our aspirations, we need to take into account the world around us. He knows Singaporeans feel uncertain and anxious - technology and globalisation are widening income gaps, our population is ageing, and Singaporeans are worried about the cost of living, public transport, and other day-to-day problems. PM said: I understand your concerns, and I promise you - you will not be facing these challenges alone because we are all in it together.

We will find a new way to thrive in this new environment.

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A changing trend

HALFWAY to the next election, the Prime Minister has made his biggest effort to address the unhappiness of Singaporeans over the rising costs of public housing and healthcare.

Together with immigration and jobs, which he left out, these two subjects are among the most pressing problems that have hammered the popularity of Lee Hsien Loong’s ruling party.

The government’s failure to resolve them had forced the Prime Minister to apologise to his people in 2011 with a promise to do better. Last week, Lee made an attempt to fulfil his pledge with mixed results

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PM Lee tears during emotional National Day Rally with 'heart'

PM Lee's speech at this year's National Day Rally was described as "heartwarming" and focused.
Yahoo! Newsroom/Yahoo! Photo - PM Lee's speech at this year's National Day Rally was described as "heartwarming" and focused

Light-hearted and encouraging – that's the reaction of many Singaporeans to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech on Sunday night.

“I think it was a well thought-out speech with a right amount of heart and it was very focused on Singaporeans,” said businessman Ronald Lim, 56.

“PM Lee touched on issues that resounded with people of different ages and my takeaway is that I feel more informed about what we are facing.”

PM Lee's NDR promise: Every Singapore family who is working can afford …
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PM Lee's NDR2013 speech bold and necessary, say analysts

A day after the Prime Minister laid out a new way forward for Singapore, economists and politicians praised the shift for being a bold and necessary move in rebalancing the relationship between the State and the Singaporean.

But while Mr Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally (NDR) speech hit the right notes, the specific policy changes he announced drew a mixed reaction.

Some felt they were incremental rather than radical. Others said they were sparse on the numbers and details, leaving them guessing how much of an impact the changes would make and who would foot the bill of say, the new MediShield Life health insurance scheme. 

National Day Rally speech was a "game-changer", says Shanmugam

Speaking to reporters, he said that the recently concluded Our Singapore Conversation process, which highlighted Singaporeans' aspirations, helped to crystallise the ideas.

Mr Shanmugam said: "It's a history-making speech, it's an epochal speech. It's a game-changer because the path that we have travelled up to now is one path and the path that we are going to travel on is going to be a very different path. 

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Singapore’s strains

t is almost 50 years since Singapore was expelled from its shortlived federation with Malaysia and began its inspiring ascent from the developing to the developed world. Two years ago, its economy overtook the US in gross domestic product per head, an incredible accomplishment in a country with few natural resources, which once depended on hostile neighbours even for its water.

Yet according to Goh Chok Tong, who was prime minister between 1990 and 2004, Singapore seems to be trapped in a midlife crisis. As the population ages, the economy is becoming increasingly reliant on foreign workers. A housing boom, fuelled in part by money that is flowing into the country’s expanding asset management industry, is contributing to a sharp rise in living costs. For the squeezed middle, who are struggling to step on to the housing ladder even as billionaires flaunt their wealth, rising inequality is beginning to chafe

These anxious times have lifted the fortunes of the opposition parties, which garnered almost 40 per cent of the vote in the most recent parliamentary elections and now pose the most serious threat to the People’s Action party since it took power in 1959. It has taken note. Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister, announced this week that spending on healthcare, social welfare and housing will be increased.

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Was NDR 2013 really a big shift?

During his National Day Rally speech on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong used the word "shift" seven times, often preceded by adjectives like "significant," and "major".

Besides the new direction the Government was taking, what struck me was that it really wanted Singaporeans to know that it was taking a new direction.

In the aftermath, some observers pointed out that the new policies in healthcare, housing and education were actually building on foundations set sometime back.

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PM Lee's National Day Rally Speech a step in right direction: AWARE

Women's rights group AWARE has said that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally Speech is a step in the right direction but more is needed to meet the core aspirations of Singaporeans.

In a statement, the group said it is heartened by the policy shifts outlined by Mr Lee, and it applauds the government's commitment to invest in every Singaporean. But the group said more can be done to improve social mobility and inclusiveness.

In healthcare, for example, AWARE has urged the government to adopt a "gender-sensitive lens" in the implementation of the policy.

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Full coverage

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Part 1: Singapore's NDR 2013 - A Good New Direction

It's often said that election is for the incumbent to lose, not the opposition to win. PM Lee may have raised the bar for themselves and the opposition alike. Incidentally, what I feared most did not materialise. The immediate thought that came to my mind was perhaps "The Divine/ God/ Heaven" had heard my concern and answered most of my wishes. Going forward, this is a good "new way forward". Hopefully, the momentum can be kept up. Nonetheless, it does not mean it would likely be a smooth path all the way.

Basically, some current core fourth generation members should have a safer and secured passage in the next GE but on the other hand some wards are likely to face stiff contests and competitions from the opposition camp. From the momentum of GE May 2011 and BE Jan 2013, the opposition camp should  be able to continue to make significant inroads in some marginal and less secured wards but major fourth generation leaders wards should be safe for now.

Policies wise, I believe significant strategic change has been recognised and embarked on.

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PM: MediShield to be revamped, premiums & Medisave rates to go up

At the National Day Rally today (18 Aug), PM Lee said that the Govt will improve healthcare financing to give all Singaporeans “more peace of mind”.

The current medical insurance scheme, MediShield, will be revamped to become MediShield Life, he said.

“The MediShield Life will not stop at 90. So don’t worry, it will cover old people. Secondly, MediShield Life will be universal. It will cover everybody, every Singaporean – old ones, young ones, those newly born.”

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National Day Rally

Education was one of the topic given a heavy focus by PM Lee in his National Day Rally Speech. 

Highlighting the importance of education, PM Lee said that the government will be contributing to the EduSave accounts of all children aged 7 to 16. This includes home schoolers, madrasah and those studying overseas.

Mr Lee highlighted that the school system needs to be recalibrated  to put more emphasis on actual learning rather than exam performance. In his speech about education, the PM kept emphasizing the need to have an open system: an open system which allows outstanding students to make it to the top and to open up the system to focus on more than just grades.


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ND Rally: 3 new mosques to be built in S'pore

Muslims can expect 18,000 more prayer spaces by 2016.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in his National Rally Speech on Sunday evening, said three new mosques will be built in Woodlands, Jurong West and Punggol.

Speaking in Malay, he said the newly expanded An Nur Mosque reflects the good progress of mosque upgrading and building programmes.

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Key points from National Day Rally 2013

Key points from National Day Rally 2013(©Channel NewsAsia )

As Singapore reaches a turning point, Mr Lee said the community and government must do more to support individuals.

It will provide core public services like housing, education and heathcare, and at the same time make three important shifts:

- do more to give every citizen a fair share in the nation's success,
- strengthen social safety nets,
- do more to keep paths upwards open to all.

It happened nearly half a century ago. Senior Lee, at the prime of his life then, shed tears in front of the camera after claiming we were "kicked out". In the last elections, we saw Lim Boon Heng doing the same, after he tried so hard to convince sceptics there was no group think in the PAP. Last night, junior Lee did the same at his NDP 2013 Rally Speech. Whew, what are these guys trying to show?

While the PM may have brought up some good points last night, like the need to make it less stressful in schools, I think some suggestions are really so whacky it becomes unbelievably silly. The suggestion to cover everyone under medishield with no option to opt out, and beyond the age of 90 at that, is really something to laugh about.

Yet, PM Lee had the cheek to show a sombre face, crying croco tears on national TV just like his dad nearly half a century ago

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