The Singapore spirit will help nation to overcome challenging times: PM Lee

The Singapore spirit will help nation to overcome challenging times: PM Lee
PM Lee Hsien Loong delivering his New Year's Message. Photo: MCI
Published: 7:00 PM, December 31, 2016
Updated: 7:03 PM, December 31, 2016

SINGAPORE – Despite the challenging and uncertain times ahead, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he is confident that the country can overcome them, due to the Singaporean spirit and resilience.

“In this past year, I have met many Singaporeans who have proven that we can achieve anything we set our hearts on,” said Mr Lee in his New Year message on Saturday (Dec 31). 

“Whatever the challenges, I am confident that Singapore will pull through, because of the spirit and resilience of our people,” he added. 

For one, there are Singaporeans who are actively pursuing lifelong learning, such as occupational therapist Adelene Teck who is studying for a degree at the Singapore Institute of Technology after spending 20 years in the industry. 

“Her fellow students are all much younger than her, but she is undeterred, and making progress alongside them!” said Mr Lee.

Then, there are others such as entrepreneur Muhd Shamir, who launched his own technology start-up at the JTC Launchpad @Block 71 after working as a molecular biologist for seven years. 

The Singaporean athletes have also showed how dreams can be achieved. 

Pointing to Olympic gold-medalist Joseph Schooling, Mr Lee said the swimmer showed Singaporeans “how big, improbable dreams can come true with faith and determination”. 

“It was not easy, but he put in the hard work,” the Prime Minister added. 

Schooling had carried the hopes of all Singaporeans as he walked out to the pool in Rio, Brazil on Aug 13 (Singapore time) in the men’s 100m butterfly event. A month later, Paralympians Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh did the same. Yip struck double gold and broke two world records while Goh won a bronze medal, noted Mr Lee.

“They dared to dream, and were determined to make their dreams come true.”

He added: “They proved, in Joseph’s words, that ‘even people from the smallest countries in the world can do extraordinary things’.”

The Prime Minister also paid tribute to the “everyday heroes who quietly do their best, day-in and day-out”.

Volunteer Lalithama Nair, for instance, conducts free gardening programmes for children and mentors teenagers to care for the environment. 

Others, such as Pioneer Generation Ambassadors Koh Ting Beow, Satyabhama Karunakaran and Azizah, go door-to-door to explain government schemes to senior citizens, on top of befriending them and “selflessly offering their help and support”. 

“Their sustained, collective efforts help to make a strong and cohesive society,” said Mr Lee.

The Singapore story, he added, “is the story of ordinary Singaporeans doing extraordinary things together”.

“It is the story of one united people, regardless of race, language and religion, carving out our place in the sun. With this enduring spirit, we will make Singapore a better and happier home for ourselves and for our next generation,” he added.