Friday, 9 August 2013

What does this National Day mean?


Celebrating National Day in a different way this Aug 9

Thinking of another way to spend your Aug 9 national holiday?

Singaporeans looking to do something different this National Day might want to check out a celebration happening at Hong Lim Park

The three-hour long event, organised by, will be held from 4-7 pm. It will feature bloggers and speakers like Tan Jee Say, Dr Ang Yong Guan, Ravi Philemon,and Leong Sze Hian. They will discuss topics like the Singaporean identity, National Service, migration and other current issues.

Homage will be paid to the late President Ong Teng Cheong

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Singapore flag

On Saturday, a series of National Day Dinners were held across the island and attended by key members of the PAP. Each had similar things to say about what the government is going to focus on going forward.

DPM Teo spoke to attendees at SengKang, while DPM Tharman addressed the residents of Bukit Batok. Over on the West Coast, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office S Iswaran gave a speech and Dr Vivan Balakrishnan spoke at Senja-Cashew.

They had cited feedback from the Our Singapore Conversation sessions as useful in forming government policies. Over 46 000 Singaporeans had participated in the sessions since the beginning of the sessions last year. The key areas that were discussed by the different Ministers were Housing, Education, Healthcare and Transport.


National Day Message 2013

Today Singapore stands tall internationally. Many countries admire us. Developed countries and emerging economies want to pick up ideas from us. Every citizen gains from our strong Singapore brand - our workers enjoy a premium in wages, and our people studying and working abroad are welcomed and respected.

At the same time, other countries are rapidly progressing and catching up. We must stay ahead of the competition, and maintain our standing in the world.

To succeed under changed circumstances, we must adapt our basic approach to nation building. We must strike a new balance between the roles of the individual, the community and the State.

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PM Lee National Day Message: another lip service moment

Snub in Tanjung Pagar GRC: even here in the constituency of Lee Kuan Yew, few are excited about National Day to fly the flag

I’m grateful to PM Lee. His National Day Message once again confirms that his belief in the value of lip service remains unshaken. I’ve said it many times before that nothing excites him more than making hollow promises.

For instance, now he says he wants to build a fair and just society. This again proves that the National Pledge to build a democratic, equal and just society is a farce and a sham. What has PM Lee been doing since he assumed office in 2004? Busy fixing the opposition? We all behave according to our core values and beliefs. The ruling PAP’s core values and beliefs are revolved around emasculating the political opposition, groupthink, being self-serving and repression.

In that it’s been consistent.

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Home Team should ‘reflect on what went wrong’: DPM Teo

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Monday that the Home Team should “reflect on what went wrong” when officers fall short of “high standards”. (AFP file photo)
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has urged the Home Team to “reflect on what went wrong” and “work together as one” to put things right when individual officers fall short of “high standards”

DPM Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs, was speaking at the Home Team National Day Observance Ceremony on Monday, where 109 Home Team officers were honoured for their contributions to Singapore’s safety and security.

DPM Teo added that those who have done wrong will be “taken to task”, regardless of their position or seniority

His comments come after the integrity of the Home Team was called into question following the recent high-profile Kovan murder case, where a police officer, Staff Sergeant Iskandar bin Rahmat, was charged with killing a father and a son. In the same month, a prison officer was found guilty of causing the death of an inmate through negligence

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More govt help for elderly's outpatient and hospital costs soon: Tharman

More govt help for elderly's outpatient and hospital costs soon: Tharman
Mr Tharman was speaking at a carnival in Taman Jurong on Sunday

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said the government will soon make announcements on more help for older Singaporeans with their hospital and outpatient costs.

He reiterated a call he made on Saturday night when he said Singapore must look after its senior citizens, who worked hard to build the country.

He added: "We will do more to help the older Singaporeans, especially for healthcare costs -- hospital, polyclinic, nursing homes, all the aspects of healthcare costs."

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Tharman on tipping the balance towards the old

Very Special Group
Provisions must be made to care for our elderly (Photo by Shawn Danker)

More ways to help the elderly pay their medical bills may be announced soon. That’s the news in this morning’s TODAY and ZB if a speech yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shamugaratnam is anything to go by.

The speech was given during a National Day celebration at Taman Jurong, where Mr Tharman is also MP. Interestingly, ST either didn’t cover the event, or thought the announcement too premature to report on.

To be fair it’s not much of an announcement. According to TODAY, Mr Tharman said that these measures would target reducing healthcare costs in “all aspects”– including hospitalisation, outpatient, and nursing home bills. But beyond that there were few details to go on. Political watchers speculated that details would come on Aug 18, during the National Day Rally.

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Help build a Singapore you can be proud of: Manpower Minister

Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin calls on Singaporeans to build a nation they can be proud of. (Yahoo! file photo)
Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin has called on Singaporeans from all walks of life to help build a Singapore they can be proud of

"No one writes our stories but ourselves. We also choose the lenses through which we view our world and our lives," said the Minister, who is also Senior Minister of State for National Development.

"No society is perfect, including ours. However, I see a lot of heart and soul in our people. In all of you here," he said in a National Day Observance speech to fellow colleagues, friends and family at the MOM Services Centre on Monday afternoon.

The Minister was referencing two recent letters by readers that were sent in and published on Yahoo! Singapore.

Inclusive growth strategies depend on stakeholders: Heng Swee Keat

As Singapore paves a new way forward through inclusive growth, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said executing these strategies also depend on two important stakeholders -- the government and the people.

In carrying out these strategies, the government will need to have foresight, be nimble and take on a multi-faceted role

Mr Heng said the government must work with businesses to restructure the economy, and must intervene in areas such as healthcare and housing to achieve socially desirable outcomes.

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One People, one Nation

It is not easy to love one’s country so as to die for it these days. People are so well-travelled. And people have more options these days. Perhaps it is because our generations had it too comfortable. Thanks to those who had gone before. Kids are given pretty toys, pretty clothes, pretty food and virtually pretty everything at their whims, at any given day, without knowing the true value of hard work and sacrifice.

We fear for a generation who knows about Singapore but could not stand up for justice and equality. We fear we have lost our past and forgotten how to be thankful in our progress.  We fear that peace comes in a form of indifference.

I don’t know what is patrioism. But I think, if we can help our children put others first, we might make a better people. And together we might say “One people, one nation, one Singapore.”

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BN Special: A rally to celebrate National Day?

National day party
Poster for the National Day party (Image from website)

Mr Gilbert Goh of is organising yet another event at Hong Lim Park, this time on National Day, Aug 9. The organisers hope that the “event will bring together thousands of Singaporeans who want to celebrate the occasion with us together as one nation and have nowhere to go as the NDP celebration is limited to only the few thousands with tickets.” Excellent! A place to celebrate if I can’t secure a ticket!

Organisers said that the event is not a protest but an occasion for all Singaporeans to gather and celebrate the birthday of the nation. That is good to know.

Then again, I read that the organisers also say they hope to “gather back the thousands who came for our two historical events on 16th Feb and 1st May”. Hmm… those two events are to protest against Population White Paper and to raise concerns about the treatment of Singapore workers on the occasion of May Day. So this is to be a gathering of ex-protestors to celebrate National Day?

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A different National Day

It is 4 days to Singapore’s 48th National Day. Unlike other years, however, this year’s occasion seems to be different. There is a palpable sense of … disinterest among Singaporeans. A walk around the neighbourhood and observations made elsewhere around Singapore show that fewer households have put up the national flag this year. Of course, this does not mean that Singaporeans do not feel anything for the country – but it does raise the question of whether they indeed do.

I recall earlier years when my block of flats, for example, was decked out in flags, and this was not because of any “coercion” by grassroots members. I know friends who personally went out to buy the flag to hang at their balcony. Besides, it was not only about hanging the flag which gave you the buzz that Singaporeans were excited by the nation’s birthday. It was also the chatter, the faces of the people you meet, the general atmosphere of the country

Recently Singapore was ranked the most pessimistic country in the world. It is no surprise, although one person tried to rubbish the findings by saying that there is a difference between the Eastern and Western idea of happiness. A hilarious suggestion, of course. But I digress.

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Whither the love for Singapore?

A lonely flag cries out for some real love
A lonely flag cries out for some real love

Singapore celebrates its National Day on 9 August this week and there is sadly no celebratory buzz in the air. Many have commented that there are hardly any Singapore flags displayed by Singaporeans at their homes.  Even those buntings hung along the road by the state look insipid this year no thanks to the staid and same old tired design of   using smiley multi-racial faces.

I will like to share my thoughts on why so few Singaporeans are hanging up the flag or feeling the celebratory mood.  I think it is because many are feeling angry with the Government and disconnected with the country. To want to display the flag voluntarily, one needs to be motivated by patriotism and real love for the country.

Patriotism and deep love of the country has to be built over time and through pride in what the country represents to us. It is not about the numerous skyscrapers and fancy cars nor is it about taking part in government organised grassroots events and doing what the G tells us to do. Neither is it about working at a frenetic pace in a crowded city state packed to the gills with millions of people.

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You have missed the point, Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister, your people meet with dismay the news that Leslie Chew has been charged with contempt of court for his political cartoons. At this moment, as the news spreads across the island, we citizens are acutely aware that there is little we could do to call you to a gentler response.

The people of our country, yours and mine, are worried for our future. As our young families struggle to meet the costs of their homes and their children’s education; as our best and brightest lose their jobs and their hope in our country and flee abroad; as our middle-aged approach their retirement with trepidation, and as more and more of our aged are reduced to begging or selling tissue paper to survive, we call out to your government with the means at our disposal. But you respond neither with compassion nor with respect but with the manacles of the law.

Many years ago, your father began the process of pruning our civic space. He took the televisions and newspapers under government control so that only the best of the news might be published. He restrained the universities and polytechnics so that awkward subjects might not be examined and students might be quelled. He deployed the Internal Security Act and tortured his opponents. And every so often he sued and bankrupted the politicians so as to remind us of the danger of speaking in our own behalf and that of our neighbours and friends.

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National Day

National Day
– TW and Jo’s Excellent Adventure: To fly a Flag
– Life is in the Small Things: NDP 2013 in the Park
– A Juggling Mom: Hope for our Nation. Hope for my Family
– Dominique’s Desk: Happy 48th Birthday Singapore
– Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Gilbert Goh shows up meritocracy S’pore style
– The Sun Shines on Singapore: National Day, Celebration not Protest
– wise mental king: The Hong Lim Park: a house divided by political notions
– Transitional Eternity: LHL’s mindset on tangibles
– Dewdrop Notes 露语: Mata Mata
– kennedicut : Another National Day Parade Draws to a Close
– Elaine: JN Summary – Performance at the Singapore National Day Parade 2013
– The Grand Moofti Speaks: Singapore’s NDP and the limits to integrating foreigner
– At Peace With Freedom: My theme for this ND: Thinking beyond ourselves
– Yee Jenn Jong: Many Stories, One Singapore – Happy 48th National Day
– The Independent – Singapore: Why Not a Party

– Living Investment: Being a Singaporean
– Breakfast Network: National Day Special: PM’s National Day message in Singlish
– flo mummy: National Day
– Sakura Haruka: Singapore National Day 2013 | National Day Parade Preview!
– A Happy Mum: It’s a special day
– Janeeeee’s Blog: Happy 48th Birthday Singapore!
– The Playful Parents: My Birthday Prayer for My Country
– Breakfast Network: National Day Special: Three poems for Singapore
– Iron Bowl: National Day Speech – Singapore
– Words of the Cze: Catullus
– Zit Seng’s Superwall: Happy 48th National Day

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Happy Birthday Singapore