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