Chinese New Year Message 2020 by PM Lee Hsien Loong

SM Lee Hsien Loong | 24 January 2020

In his Chinese New Year Message 2020, PM Lee Hsien Loong spoke about how, despite some anxiety around the world, there was still much to be thankful for in the Year of the Rat.


Chinese New Year this year comes amidst anxiety around the world. The headlines are sobering: floods in Jakarta, drought in Thailand, bushfires in Australia, turbulence in the Middle East, protests in Hong Kong and France, and the new coronavirus in China. We wish these societies well as they heal and recover. We also give thanks that Singapore enjoys peace and stability that lets us to gather, as we do every year, to celebrate Chinese New Year in the warm company of friends and family.

Our families are the most important people in our lives. They are the first ones whom we share good news with. When times are hard, we turn for comfort and support to our parents, spouses, siblings, and later our children. Even if our extended families do not all live together, most of us still keep close ties with uncles and aunts, cousins and nephews, and of course grandparents and grandchildren.

Strong families make for a strong nation. Singapore should be a society where families are celebrated and supported, especially young families starting out. Many recent initiatives have this aim in mind. Thus we are increasing preschool subsidies to lighten the financial load of raising a child, promoting flexible work arrangements to support parents and caregivers, and introducing full subject-based banding in secondary schools, to reduce stress on students and parents. In Singapore, as long as you work hard, you can be confident of a better life for yourselves and your children.

I hope these moves will encourage more young couples to start new families, or add to their growing families. Choosing a life partner or having a child is a deeply personal decision. But from my own experience, there is no greater joy than hearing the laughter of our children and grandchildren, especially on festive occasions like Chinese New Year.

Unfortunately, this year, I will miss my usual New Year’s Eve reunion dinner, as I shall be on my way home from Davos. One of the highlights of my trip is the chance to celebrate Chinese New Year with the Singaporean community in Zurich. I look forward to seeing familiar faces and hearing familiar accents, thousands of miles away from home. No matter where in the world we may be, there is something special and heart-warming that bonds Singaporeans together, and a special place in our hearts for Singapore.

While I am away, I have also been closely tracking our preparations against the new coronavirus from Wuhan. We have just had our first cases in Singapore. This was to be expected, given the high volume of international travel here. But we are well prepared, because we have been gearing up for such a situation ever since we dealt with SARS in 2003. MOH has now activated plans to counter the spread of the virus, which so far does not appear to be as deadly as SARs was. Singaporeans should be calm but watchful as we implement measures to keep everybody safe and healthy.

Let us also remember those making personal sacrifices to keep our city humming during the public holiday: law enforcement personnel, hospital staff, cleaners, transport, port and airport workers, and many others. Many of our Malay, Indian and Eurasian friends will be working, covering for their Chinese colleagues. We owe them our thanks.

The Year of the Rat begins a new cycle of the Chinese zodiac. We look forward to the opportunity to refresh ourselves and start anew. Let us learn something from the proverbial nimbleness, creativity and wit of the rat. These qualities will help us to overcome future challenges, and build a better Singapore for ourselves and our children.

I wish all Singaporeans a very happy and healthy Chinese New Year.

2020 年总理新春献词

农历新年将至,本地华族家庭喜迎鼠年。但放眼全球,世界局势却 令不少人感到不安。雅加达豪雨成灾、泰国干旱情况严重、澳大利亚林火 延烧、中东地区波澜再起、香港和法国示威不断、中国则出现引发武汉肺 炎的新型冠状病毒。这些国家和地区正面对严峻挑战,让我们祝愿他们, 早日走出困境,渡过难关。同时,这些新闻头条也提醒我们,每逢农历新 年和家人及亲友团聚时,要格外珍惜眼前的和平与稳定。

的确,在这个纷纷扰扰的世界里,家人是我们生活的重心也是最坚 强的后盾。当喜事降临时,我们会在第一时间和他们分享喜悦。在遇到挫 折时,我们更需要父母、伴侣、兄弟姐妹和子女的鼓励和安慰。即便不住 在同个屋檐下,我们多数也会和爷爷奶奶、外公外婆,叔叔舅舅、姑姑阿 姨、堂表兄弟姐妹、侄儿女、外甥男女、儿孙等相聚,保持紧密联系。

正所谓“天下之本在国、国之本在家、家之本在身”,家庭是国家重 要的基石。因此,我们致力让新加坡成为亲家庭的社会,竭尽所能帮助年 轻一代成家,养儿育女。政府近期推出的许多措施都朝这个目标前进,包 括增加学前教育津贴,减轻养育孩子的经济负担,同时也鼓励雇主推行灵 活工作制,为需要照顾儿女或父母的员工提供更多支持。我们也在中学试 行科目编班制,以减少学生和家长所面对的压力。因此在新加坡,只要你 勤奋工作,就能让自己和家人生活得更好。

我希望这些举措能鼓励更多年轻男女组织家庭,多生孩子。当然, 选择和谁共度一生,以及婚后要不要生育,始终都是个人的选择。但以我 个人的经验来说,在农历新年这样的佳节时刻,能够和全家大小团聚共享 天伦,是最幸福美满的事了。

不巧的是,这个除夕夜,我还在从达沃斯回国的途中,赶不及和家 人一起吃年夜饭。所幸的是,我此行到瑞士出席世界经济论坛峰会的其中 一个亮点,就是有机会和旅居苏黎世的国人提前庆祝农历新年。每次出远 门,我总是期待能在异乡看见熟悉的面孔,听到熟悉的口音。无论大家是 在世界的哪一个角落,总会有一种特殊而温暖的力量将新加坡人凝聚在一 起,让我们心系家园。

我在国外期间一直密切留意本地预防武汉肺炎的准备工作。我国刚 出现首起确诊病例。我们有大量国际访客,这是意料之中的。不过我们已 做好应对措施,因为在 2003 年抗衡沙斯疫情后,我们就对类似情况做好 准备。卫生部目前已启动预防武汉肺炎扩散的措施。目前为止,这个病毒 看来不像沙斯那样致命。在我们落实各项措施,保护大家安全和健康的当 儿,国人应保持冷静,同时要维持警惕。

希望大家也不要忘了那些在新年期间照常上班的同胞。他们包括执 法人员、医疗人员、清洁工人以及维持公共交通系统、海港和机场运作的 工作人员等等。他们牺牲了和亲友相聚同欢的时光,以确保我国仍能如常 运作。我们身边也有许多马来族、印族和欧亚裔同事会在这段时间为华族 同事代班。我们要衷心感谢他们的帮忙。

在和亲友欢聚时,希望大家也为需要关怀的人送出温暖。请为他们 敞开大门,邀请他们到家中感受过节的气氛。我们都是新加坡这个大家庭 的一员,而家人就是要同甘共苦,相互扶持。

今年是金鼠年,鼠是十二生肖之首,代表着新的起点。因此,我们 要把握机会,让自己焕然一新,在新的一年里有一个好的开始。希望大家 也可以像老鼠一样机灵聪慧、善于应变,无论未来面对什么难题,我们都 能迎刃而解,为自己和下一代建设更美好的新加坡。