for from Singapore
I would like to thank all of you for coming together today to celebrate my birthday. Some of you may be here for the fireworks, others for the parade and several others for the goodie bags. Some of you may not have been able to make it – you are probably enjoying your public holiday or holidaying on a beach. Whichever way you chose to remember and commemorate my birthday, I thank you....
.... for what matters to me most is the pride that you feel when you call yourself Singaporean. This pride is NOT about the economic success that you have had. It’s NOT about the skyscrapers, cars or landed properties. And neither is it about the Singapore passport. It is about the intangibles – the smells, tastes and the bonds. It is about the feeling in your heart when you say you are Singaporean.
I know some of you may choose to move to my siblings’ abode like Australia, United States or Canada. I hope you did not leave because you did not like my home. If you did, I would rather that you come back and help me fix up my place for you. If you left for other reasons, I just hope that you found the time that you spent here a good one. Oh yes, do say hi to my siblings as I don’t exactly get a chance to meet them.
I turn forty today and when all of you think back on the history of my life, I hope you will see beyond the economic growth, beyond the GDP, beyond the jobs and beyond the cash, car, condos, credit cards and country club membership. I hope you will look back on the community that you created in my house and value your social achievements as much as your economic successes.
Looking forward, I hope that all of you will break free from the bane of ‘racial harmony’. Don’t get me wrong… I hope that you will strive towards a day when terms like ‘racial harmony’ need not even be used because all of you will consider each other birds of a same feather – Singaporeans.
Lastly, I hope all your dreams come true for it is in your happiness, lies mine.
9 Aug 2005