August 08, 2019
National Day Message by Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education, at the National Day Observance Ceremony in Primary Schools
Dear Principals, Teachers, Staff and Students:
1. On this National Day, I thought I would ask a basic question: What makes us a nation?
2. For a start, it is when we can sit as equals with other countries, and fly our flag at international events. It is when the Singapore flag is displayed at regional and international meetings. It is also when our athletes raise our flag high during the opening ceremonies of global sporting events, or when Majulah Singapura was played after Joseph Schooling and Yip Pin Xiu won gold medals for Singapore.
3. We are also a nation when our people work together to defend our country. Every Singaporean is doing our part in Total Defence, whether in terms of military, civil, economic, social, digital or psychological defence, because we know no one else will defend Singapore except us.
4. We are a nation when we live united as a people, putting aside our differences while appreciating our diversity, and extending a helping hand to those less fortunate than us.
5. We are a nation when we become uniquely recognisable, just as we can easily identify a Singaporean when we are overseas. It may be in the way we dress, talk, and carry ourselves. But more importantly, it is when we share common values and dreams for our future.
6. At 54, Singapore is a young country and a work in progress. But with each generation, we mature and grow stronger. So look around you: this is what a nation looks like, and we can make it even better.
7. Happy National Day!
MR ONG YE KUNG
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION