S’pore needs both financial and ‘social’ reserves to thrive: President Tony Tan

S’pore needs both financial and ‘social’ reserves to thrive: President Tony Tan
President Tony Tan Keng Yam (C) speaking at the second Fullerton-SJI Lecture Series today (Nov 5). Photo: Leong Wai Kit
Published: 10:45 PM, November 5, 2013
Updated: 3:00 PM, November 6, 2013

SINGAPORE — For the Republic to continue developing and thriving as a nation, it not only needs financial reserves but also “social reserves”, said President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

He was speaking today (Nov 5) at the second Fullerton-SJI Lecture Series.

He said that Singapore’s financial reserves, comprising fiscal surpluses accumulated over the years, are akin to savings in the bank and drawn on in emergencies. “Social reserves,” he said, define who Singaporeans are as a nation and are drawn upon for resilience and stability in any crisis.

Dr Tan, a former student at St Patrick’s School and St Joseph’s Institution (SJI), said: “The financial reserves are like the piggy bank of a family and social reserves are the bonds which unite the family.

“The social reserves of a nation are the intangible ties that bind us to one another. Just this year, we saw a good example of this during the haze period. Singaporeans looked out for one another,” he said.

Another way that Singaporeans can contribute towards the nation’s social reserves is by caring for the people around them, added Dr Tan.

He said: “Last year, I expanded the President’s Challenge beyond fund-raising to also promote volunteerism and social entrepreneurship.

“I hope that the President’s Challenge will contribute towards stronger social reserves by encouraging our people to do what we can…no matter how big or small, and to look out for one another, especially the needy.”

The lecture series brings together former SJI students who have made significant contributions to Singapore. The aim is for them to share their success stories with secondary school and tertiary students, as well as some members of the business community.

Past speakers include Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, singer-songwriter Dick Lee and Makansutra founder KF Seetoh.