National Day Message from Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, at the National Day Observance Ceremony in Primary, Secondary Schools and Junior Colleges/Centralised Institute on Thursday, 6 August 2015

Published Date: 06 August 2015 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Principals, Teachers and Students

1. It is with great excitement that we celebrate SG50, our 50th year of independence. What a 50 years it has been! Our pioneer leaders brought us through our rocky early years and we have progressed to a bustling city in a garden - a dynamic nation that has earned global admiration.

2. The theme for our National Day Parade this year is Majulah Singapura, the name of our national anthem. The first two lines of our anthem read: “Mari kita rakyat Singapura / Sama-sama menuju bahagia”. In English, it means “Come, fellow Singaporeans / Let us progress towards happiness together.” We started out with few resources, but we worked together to build a home. When there were no sports facilities in our schools in the early years, pioneer teachers drew the lines themselves in the car park, for students to play badminton. Others used pegs and strings to lay out a running track on the school field. Our housing developers had to build 14,000 flats in 1 year. Our planners had to create job opportunities, while our engineers had to find solutions for clean water for a growing population.

3. Every aspect of the Singapore we see today - good health care, the ability to do business, walk safely on the streets, enjoy sports and recreation - came about because of the determination of our pioneer generation.

4. The next two lines of our anthem - “Cita-cita kita yang mulia / Berjaya Singapura” - mean “May our noble aspirations bring Singapore success”. Just as our pioneers brought success to Singapore, Singaporeans today continue to strive hard and make sacrifices to achieve great things for their families and our country. Our SEA Games athletes did us proud by achieving a record haul of 84 golds, and breaking 25 games and 29 national records. Many had to juggle heavy commitments along with intense training, but they gave their all. Thousands of volunteers also played a key part, many working tirelessly behind the scenes to host this highly memorable 28th SEA Games for our friends in the region.

5. And it is this show of unity that shows us what it means to be Singaporean. “Marilah kita bersatu” (“Come, let us unite”). We value our multi-cultural society, our diversity. And we are united as a people. Some of us have seen the video taken when the sound stopped at the Singapore Sports Hub after the SEA Games Women’s (4x200) Freestyle Relay. Instead of stopping because there was no music, the audience sang our National Anthem with even more gusto and pride. “Semua kita berseru” - “Let our voices soar as one”.

6. And we continue to hear our voices soar as one, again and again this year. Many of you performed together at the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the SEA Games or at Youth Celebrate! Some of you will be performing at the upcoming National Day Parade. When you perform for your country, you bring joy to your families and friends, and you show just how much you have achieved in sports, arts, and your uniformed groups. We saw your resilience, your enthusiasm, your teamwork. When you work as one to turn dreams into reality, you break new ground and create shared memories for our community.

7. This year, you received your Building My SG building block sets. With them, you built your visions of the future of Singapore. After you leave school, you will go on to build our future Singapore for real. There is no blueprint to follow. It is up to our ingenuity and hard work to continue Singapore’s success. Together, we can build something bigger and better than any of us can achieve alone. Together, looking after one another, we can build a place that we love and are proud to protect and call our home.

8. Mr Lee Kuan Yew, our founding Prime Minister, once said this in a speech: “… let me tell you the sky has turned brighter. There’s a glorious rainbow that beckons those with the spirit of adventure. And there are rich findings at the end of the rainbow. To the young and to the not-so-old, I say, look at that horizon, follow that rainbow, go ride it.” You are the generation of the future — I hope you will pursue your rainbows with courage, with determination, with strength. And as one united people, we shall build a home that is greater, stronger, and even more beautiful than it is now.

9. Onward Singapore - Majulah Singapura!

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