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Chinese New Year Message 2017 by PM Lee Hsien Loong

Chinese New Year Message 2017 by PM Lee Hsien Loong

PM Lee Hsien Loong | 27 January 2017

In his Chinese New Year Message 2017, PM Lee Hsien Loong highlights the importance of family and loved ones, and urges all Singaporeans to approach the year of the Rooster with renewed determination, vigour and hope, to build a future together.

 

My fellow Singaporeans

Lunar New Year is a special and joyous time of celebration. Tonight, across Singapore, Chinese families are enjoying reunion dinners with loved ones. In the coming days, we will visit one another’s homes to exchange New Year greetings. Over delectable snacks and yusheng, we will catch up with family and friends, especially those we have not seen for a while. Many non-Chinese too join the festivities, visiting Chinese friends and enjoying the holiday.

Even as the years go by and the world changes, we keep alive these traditions, handed down to us through the generations. They remind us of what is truly important in life. What matters is not what we have, but whom we have beside us on life’s journey.

New Year is also a time for thanksgiving and reflection. We give thanks for the blessings big and small that we experienced this year, whether it is an extra red packet for a new addition to the family, or Ah Boy coming home to reunion dinner with a shaved head, or Uncle’s new job.

We also take a longer look back, to remind ourselves how far our nation has come and what we owe to earlier generations. Recently I made pre-New Year visits to the wet markets in Teck Ghee, meeting residents and catching up with the stallholders, many of whom I have known for years. (http://bit.ly/2iZ5Mj7) We remark to each other that we are all 老了 – growing old. When we first went to Ang Mo Kio in the early 1980s, it was a brand new town, and we were young adults, starting out on life’s journey. Now, our children have grown up and we are proud of them. They are striking out on their own, starting their own families, enjoying many more opportunities than their parents. The days are long, but the years are short.

Teck Ghee Hongbao Giveaway and Market Visit on 21 Jan 2017 (MCI Photo by Terence Tan)
Visiting stall owners in Teck Ghee wet market before Chinese New Year. (MCI Photo by Terence Tan)

While we reminisce, we also look forward, to plan ahead and envision what we will do this year. Because each New Year is renewal. Many of us have spent the last few days “spring-cleaning” – sweeping away bad luck to ready our homes for good luck. This emphasis on renewal is even sharper in this year of the Rooster, whose crowing signals a fresh dawn.

For young couples, renewal means making a serious life decision to start a family and have children. The Government is doing all we can to help families do this. We have substantially expanded preschool, childcare and infant care places. We are providing more affordable and good kindergartens. We are shortening waiting times for HDB flats, so couples can set up home and start families sooner. I hope that the New Year bring with it the lusty cries of many more new-born babies!

One important area of renewal for us all is the economy. In Singapore, we have always grown by renewing ourselves, taking our economy in fresh directions, opening new markets and fields of business. That is how we have stayed relevant to the world, vibrant and prosperous. That is what we must do again now, at this moment when there is such uncertainty in the global environment.

The Committee for the Future Economy (CFE), led by Heng Swee Keat and Iswaran, has been working on this for the past year. It will deliver its report soon, setting out strategies for growth in the next 10 to 15 years. It will identify new and promising industries and sectors, and plans to ensure that our children and grandchildren will enjoy many opportunities when they enter the workforce. The Budget will follow up with concrete measures to implement the CFE proposals. The Budget will also respond to our more immediate economic needs. Last year growth was sluggish, although it picked up towards the end of the year. I hope the pickup will continue through this year.

Economic restructuring is hard work for both businesses and workers. We know this from experience. It is not easy for workers to learn new ways to do things or to switch jobs. Neither is it easy for businesses to change the way they work, or develop innovative products and new markets. But we have to persevere with upgrading, because it is the only way to improve the lives of Singaporeans.

I am confident we can succeed. We have done it before, and we have the wherewithal to do it again. Here in Singapore, we tackle our challenges together. Government, businesses and workers all play their part, coming together to plan ahead, support one another and seize new opportunities. This is how our children and their children can dream bigger dreams than us, and live better lives than ours.

It has been so for every generation. Two weeks ago, I presented an Edusave Merit Bursary to 9-year old Adam Zafran. When I met his father, Aziz bin Ahmad, I had a wonderful surprise. Aziz had brought an old photo of me presenting him a Bursary Award in 1986, 31 years ago! (http://bit.ly/2k7CkJO) The bursary helped Aziz and his family back then. Now he is doing well, and his son is following in his footsteps, studying hard and doing well in school. There are many more stories like this one. Together, they make up our Singapore story, each generation works hard to build a better Singapore for our children.

Edusave and Teck Ghee CCC Bursary Awards 2017 (MCI Photo by Chwee)
With Aziz bin Ahmad and his family at the Edusave and Teck Ghee CCC Bursary Awards 2017. (MCI Photo by Chwee)

The New Year is about our future. Ultimately, it is the future of our children and our loved ones that drives us to give of our best. Let us approach this year of the Rooster with renewed determination, vigour and hope, to build our future together.

I wish all Singaporeans a Very Happy Lunar New Year!

祝大家 鸡年大吉 , 万事如意 !

Let us approach this year of the Rooster with renewed determination, vigour and hope.

PM Lee

. . . . . . 

2017年总理新春献词

亲爱的同胞:

农历新年是阖家同欢共庆、共享天伦的重要节日。今天是大年除夕,全家老少都会聚在一起吃团圆饭,话家常。新年期间,大家也会互相拜年,互换柑桔,为彼此献上美好祝福。大家一起共享美味的糕点、佳肴和捞鱼生,庆祝过年。对于久违的至亲,大家更是珍惜相聚的时光,了解彼此的近况。此外,新加坡是个多元种族的社会,农历新年期间,非华族同胞也会到华族朋友家拜年,大家一起沉浸在节日的喜悦中。

尽管物换星移,世事多变,我们也要致力传承发扬这些优良传统文化与习俗,让它们代代相传。这些习俗都在提醒我们,人生中最重要的不是拥有物质享受,而是一路上拥有家人的陪伴和支持。

在新的一年里,我们也应该反思过去,并且感恩惜福。无论是家里增添了新成员、还是刚入伍的孩子回家一起吃团圆饭、或者是至亲找到了新工作,这些喜事所带来的小确幸都值得我们珍惜。

庆祝新年之际,我们也铭记先辈们过去为国家建设所做出的贡献。没有他们的努力和付出,新加坡就不会有今天的成就。最近,趁农历新年即将来临,我走访了德义区内的湿巴刹和熟食中心,向摊主和顾客们打招呼问好。他们当中,有好几位是相识多年的老朋友。大家见面时都开玩笑地说彼此都老了。我还记得八十年代初期,我到宏茂桥为选民服务时,宏茂桥还是一个新镇。当时,我和这些摊主、居民一样,都还是年轻人,美好人生才刚刚开始。光阴似箭,如今,我们的孩子都已长大成人,一些则已成家立业,大家都为孩子们感到自豪。我很欣慰,年轻一代比他们父母那一代享有更多的机遇,能够发挥所长,闯出自己的一片天。

在回顾过去的同时,我们也必须展望未来,未雨绸缪,以应付来年的挑战。所谓除旧迎新,相信大家这几天应该都忙着大扫除,把过去一年的厄运通通去掉,亮丽地迎接崭新一年的到来。鸡啼声象征一日之始,更是具有万象更新的意义。

对于年轻夫妇来说,生儿育女是迈向人生另一阶段的一项重大决定。政府正尽全力帮助更多年轻夫妇抚育孩子,享受为人父母的喜悦。我们不但增加了学前教育和托儿服务的名额,也设立了更多大家所负担得起的优质幼儿园。政府也缩短了新组屋的等候时间,让申请新组屋的年轻夫妇能更快拿到新房子,更早组织家庭。我希望新的一年会迎来更多新生宝宝,听到更多鸡宝宝响亮的啼哭声,为新加坡这个大家庭增添更多欢乐!

而政府鸡年的重点任务是更新我国经济的发展模式,以顺应世界的发展趋势。为了取得持续增长,我们致力寻求新机遇和开发新的市场和经济领域。因为只有这样,新加坡才能够一直在全世界占有一席之地,并维持经济繁荣。由于目前的全球环境不明朗,因此我们现在更需要努力确保我国经济能够与时并进。

去年成立的新加坡未来经济委员会(Committee on the Future Economy),在王瑞杰部长和易华仁部长领导下,过去一年都在探讨我国经济的未来方向。未来经济委员会将在不久后发表建议报告书,公布新加坡可采取哪些策略,确保在接下来的10到15年能继续取得经济增长。委员会也将找出具有发展潜能以及新的领域,并且制定计划,确保我们的子子孙孙在未来踏入职场时,都享有众多机会实现理想。二月下旬,王瑞杰部长也会发表财政预算案声明。届时,他将宣布相关的具体措施来落实未来经济委员会的建议。预算案也会针对短期的经济需求推出相应的政策。尽管我国去年的经济增长缓慢,不过到了去年年底,我国的经济表现已有所提升。我希望在新的一年里,我国会持续取得良好的经济增长。

从过往的经验来看,经济转型对企业和工友来说是一项艰巨的工作,需要付出很大的努力才能取得成功。要工友们学习新的技能和新的工作方式,或者转换跑道绝非易事。企业在改变运作方式、开发创新产品和新市场方面也会面对各种挑战,不容易办到。但是,我们还是必须坚持不懈推进这项工作,因为只有落实经济转型的目标,我们才能提升国人的生活,共创更美好的未来。

这些年来,政府与人民携手克服了种种挑战。因此,我有信心,只要政府、企业和人民齐心协力、互相扶持,大家为将来做好准备及抓紧机遇,我们这一次也必定能够成功转型。这样才能让我们的子子孙孙拥有更远大的抱负,日子过得比我们更好。

一直以来,我们都是齐心团结共创未来,使新加坡人的生活一代比一代好。两个星期前,我出席了德义区的一场教育储蓄奖颁奖礼。在会上,同一名九岁的助学金得主阿当扎弗兰(Adam Zafran)及他的家人交流时,我也获得了意外的惊喜。他的父亲阿兹(Aziz bin Ahmad)拿出了一张1986年他从我手中接过助学金时我们的合照!那已是31年前的事了!当年的那份助学金,减轻了阿兹和他家人的负担。阿兹现在事业有成,而他的儿子也和他一样,勤奋努力,学业成绩优异。阿兹的故事,也发生在许许多多国人的身上。每一代国人都努力把新加坡打造成更美好的家园,为下一代创造更光明的未来。这就是我们的新加坡故事。

而让家人一直过着幸福的生活,也推动着我们不断向前进步。一元复始,让我们满怀信心、冲劲和希望迎接新的一年,为我们的至亲和下一代,携手共创更美好的未来。

谨祝大家鸡年大吉、万事如意、新年快乐!