PM Lee Hsien Loong at Bukit Timah 60th anniversary celebration
PM Lee Hsien Loong at Bukit Timah 60th anniversary celebration on 28 November 2015. PM Lee spoke in Chinese and English.
后来，人口增加了。选区渐渐划分，多了其他选区。所以现在保留一个Holland-Bukit Timah 选区。但是，还是６０大寿，大家生日快乐!
所以，环境改变了，人民生活改变了，但是我们还记得以前的新加坡，还得珍惜今天的新加坡，还得争取明天的新加坡。武吉知马是一个马来名字，但是对华文文化界来说，武吉知马这四个字也具有一定的意义。对多年前不少教育工作者、写作爱好者在这一带居住、雅聚，为社区营造了浓厚的文化气息。跟许多其它社区不同的是，武吉知马民众俱乐部旗下有一个锡山文艺中心。锡山是什么呢？锡山原来是武吉知马的华文名字。因为 “Bukit Timah”, “Timah”是 “锡”，所以是 “锡山”。所以这里有锡山文艺中心。
Friends and residents, I am very happy to be here today for the 60th anniversary of Bukit Timah. It’s an old constituency, older than Singapore, and I’ve celebrated quite a number of birthdays with Bukit Timah. On the 40th year, which is quite a long time ago, with Wong Kai Yuen, the 50th year, with Wong Kai Yuen also, the 55th year, I think with Mdm Yu-Foo, and now, the 60th year, with Sim Ann. I hope to be able to come back again.
You might wonder why Bukit Timah is celebrating its 60th anniversary when it is only SG50, and I explained in my Chinese speech just now, it’s because Bukit Timah was first formed as a constituency for the 1955 Legislative Assembly elections. Before Singapore became independent, before we achieved self-government, we had the first Legislative Assembly elections, and Bukit Timah was one of the constituencies. In fact it was one of the four constituencies contested by a PAP candidate – it was Mr Lim Chin Siong, who later went over to the Barisan Sosialis. But in 1955 he stood as a PAP candidate, and he was elected for Bukit Timah and represented Bukit Timah in the Legislative Assembly.
At that time Bukit Timah was huge, it included much of the western part of Singapore – Choa Chu Kang, Lim Chu Kang, Jurong, Boon Lay. Because it was a huge area, but not so dense a population. Kampongs, vegetable farms, pig farms, fruit gardens, and a rural population. If you look back at it, the image is tranquil, beautiful, and bucolic – a marvellous old place under the palm trees – but it was a tough life. Very hard, poor, and not many opportunities for the people. And hence, the desperation of the people for a better life.
And we’ve delivered that better life for the residents of Bukit Timah. Year by year, the landscape has changed, life has changed. Instead of farms, we now have private housing, HDB housing. The factories have gone to Jurong and Toh Guan, and now, where the factories used to be you’ve now got very nice HDB flats and condos, and the boundaries have shrunk, but the population has grown, and now we’re part of Holland-Bukit Timah GRC. Home to 15,000 households and 42,000 residents.
And we’re continuing to improve and upgrade. The last time I was here, maybe 10 years ago, the residents, particularly the shopkeepers in Beauty World, were asking me desperately, “How about getting an MRT line?” And all I could say was, “akan datang”. But we worked at it, and we started building the line. I’m very happy to tell you that on the 26th of December, on Boxing Day in a month’s time, we will be opening the Downtown Line 2, and I hope to take a ride from Beauty World down to Marina.
Just as we are upgrading our infrastructure, our facilities, the community is also nurturing its sense of identity and gotong royong spirit with many initiatives. The Bukit Timah Wildlife Network was formed to educate and discourage littering in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Please don’t feed the monkeys, or the wild boars! They have enough to eat already.
The Bukit Timah Eldercare Project, which is a partnership between the grassroots, St Luke’s ElderCare and Cogent Holdings, so that we can install motion-sensing devices in the homes of elderly residents. If they fall down, or are ill and can’t get up, people will know and help can come.
And in the arts, where we will be launching three books today done by the community – a children’s book, photo album, and a collection of Chinese essays, put together by the 锡山文艺中心, your own Chinese literary club.
All this is only possible because the residents come together. The grassroots leaders have done their part, the MPs and advisers have provided their guidance and leadership, and worked hard raising funds and making things happen, and working with the Government to improve Bukit Timah. And I hope we will continue to do this, so that every time we celebrate 5 years, 10 years, and onwards, each time we have some reason to be happy, something new to look back on with pride, and something new to look forward to with confidence.
So thank you very much and happy birthday!
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