National Day Message by Mr Ng Chee Meng Acting Minister (Schools) for Education, at the National Day Observance Ceremony in Schools

Published Date: 08 August 2016 12:00 AM

News Speeches

For Primary Schools

1. This year, we celebrate our nation’s 51st birthday. It must have been a special feeling for the group of students who were the first to recite our National Pledge in August 1966. ‘We’ - such a short word, but yet so full of meaning.

2. Our forefathers came from different countries, spoke different languages, believed in different religions. Yet, they pledged to work hard, and work together, to build the Singapore we know. There were many challenges that Singapore faced in our early years. We had to build our own defence: Who would protect us, if we did not do it ourselves? How would we survive without natural resources and create jobs for people? There were many difficulties.

3. But we overcame them, and Singapore progressed. We celebrated our 50th birthday as a nation last year. Our pioneers showed us that no matter how uncertain or difficult life may be, we can succeed if we work together as one people. Today, we can continue to recite ‘We, the citizens’, because of the hard work of your parents and grandparents. They had committed to stay united as one people and have shown the way for us to do the same.

4. How can you play your part in building our Singapore of Tomorrow? In addition to doing your best in school work, there are many ‘Everyday Responsibilities’ you can get involved in to show your pride in our country. For example, you can help Keep Singapore Clean at home, in school and in our community. Last month, our Primary 5 students attended the National Education shows at the National Stadium. I saw how proudly they recited our pledge and sang our national anthem and national songs. The Stadium was left clean when they left. I am very proud that our Primary 5 students have set such a good example for all Singaporeans!

5. Think of ways you can make a difference to others - at home, in school and in our community. You have an important role to play in our Singapore story. Together, ‘We’ will Build our Singapore of Tomorrow – a Singapore we will all be proud of.

6. I wish all of you a Happy National Day.

For Secondary Schools / Junior Colleges / Centralised Institute

1. ‘We, the citizens of Singapore...’ It must have been a special feeling for the group of students, who first recited our National Pledge in August 1966. The first time they wholeheartedly declared themselves as citizens of Singapore! ‘We’ - such a short word, but yet so fraught with meaning.

2. Our forefathers came from different lands, spoke different languages, believed in different religions and were of different ethnicities. Yet, Singapore welcomed everyone and they became the pillars on which Singapore was built.

3. Many things threatened to pull us apart in our early years. We were struggling to establish our own Armed Forces, which became crucial when the British announced plans in 1968 to withdraw their military troops. We had many economic uncertainties. Would we have jobs? Would we have a future? Who would invest in a tiny island with no natural resources? How would we create jobs for a people with little education? There were many questions and few answers.

4. We overcame those early challenges and Singapore progressed. We celebrated our 50th birthday as a nation last year. We showed that Singaporeans had what it took to overcome the odds. We had never been prouder reciting our pledge and singing our anthem, never more moved in seeing how our pioneers worked hard and laid the foundations for us. If 50 years showed us something, it was that no matter how full of uncertainties life can be, we can do it – when we put our mind to it and work together towards our future.

5. Singapore is 51 years old this year. What will the future bring? There are still many uncertainties. The world is changing rapidly. Jobs will look very different in the years to come. Around the world and closer to home, terrorism and unpredictable weather and global markets are making us increasingly concerned for our safety and security. Today, just as in the past, we have many questions, and few ready answers.

6. How can we respond to these challenges? We must remain a tightly knit ‘We’, pledging everyday as ‘one united people, regardless of race, language, or religion’, to build a society guided by the principles ‘of justice and equality’, so that we may ‘achieve happiness, prosperity and progress’ for our nation.

7. All of you are part of the new generation of Singaporeans who will write the next chapter of our Singapore story. 'We' means working hard together for our families, our communities and for Singapore, just as our pioneers did. We have to use the opportunities in schools to learn and to grow. We have to pick up values, knowledge and skills needed for the future. We need to make friends and build deep and meaningful relationships with each other. In your own special way, use opportunities and learning activities in and out of the classrooms such as, Values in Action projects, CCAs, and student leadership programmes to make a difference in our community. You can play an important part in our Singapore story.

8. ‘We’, the citizens of Singapore have indeed come a long way. We are a nation strong and free, and we will continue to achieve great things as we work, hand-in-hand, to build our Singapore of Tomorrow.

9. I wish all of you a Happy National Day.

MR NG CHEE MENG
ACTING MINISTER (SCHOOLS) FOR EDUCATION

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