National Day Rally 2011 (Chinese)

PM Lee Hsien Loong | 14 August 2011
 

国庆群众大会 2011

各位亲爱的同胞,大家晚上好。

     我们在五月初举行了大选。我和我的团队得到人民重新的委托,必将竭尽所能为大家服务。我们已经开始处理各种短期和长期的问题。

     过去五年,许多新加坡人的生活都遇到了困难。我们经历了很严峻的国际经济风暴,经济大起大落。政府在处理危机时,以大局为重,以整体利益为先。我们采取了大刀阔斧的、果断的措施。结果,我们稳定了经济,保住了工作,经济取得强劲的回弹。不过大刀阔斧的措施,有它负面的影响,可能为人民带来适应的问题。而且,我们无法完全兼顾每家每户所面对的困难。因此,一些人觉得生活压力有增无减。

   这有如乘坐飞机一样。我们偶尔会遇上恶劣的天气,机师必须当机立断,迅速改变飞行的方向、高度或速度。机师虽然尽了全力,但是飞机难免会受到冲击,引起震动,令乘客感到不安,甚至可能有点头昏。现在,这场风暴过去了,飞机恢复平稳飞行了。可是,好景不长,我们又可能遇上强风、气流。欧洲和美国的债务问题令人担心,经济前景不明朗。我们应该扣好安全带,以防备另一场风暴,做好心理准备。

政府将尽力为人民遮风挡雨,并且还在处理一些有待解决的问题,包括住屋、交通和外国人涌入的各种问题。我们没有立竿见影的方案,因为这些是复杂的问题,需要一些时间处理,希望大家能够谅解。

政府的政策向来把新加坡人的利益放在第一位。政策的出发点都是好的,都是为了改善人民的生活。然而,一些政策的好处是间接的,或者需要一些时日才看得比较明显。在短期内,这些政策给人的感觉或许是:未见其利,先见其弊。一个明显的例子是有关外来人才、外国学生和外劳的问题。

我在去年的群众大会上详细地解释了这个政策,我想人们理智上明白这个政策长远的好处。但是,他们在工作场所、学校里,或者在公共场所,直接感受到拥挤和压力,因此心理上就产生了抗拒感。

     政府必须谨慎地处理这个棘手的问题,我们希望找到折中的解决方案。今晚,我要从另外一个角度解释这个问题。

     让我先从我国大学接受外国学生的问题谈起。有些人批评我们接受外国大学生,并且提供奖学金给一部分的外国学生。《联合早报》的一些读者不久前就热烈讨论这个课题。其中有一位读者说,政府这样做“太过火了”;另外一位读者也问:“难道家花不比野花香?”

     我理解这些读者不满意的原因。但是,我希望他们能从更宽阔的角度看待这个问题。我国大学的首要职责是栽培本地的人才。我们虽然招收优秀的外国学生,但是这并没有剥夺本地学生升学,进入大学的机会。实际上,考进大学的新加坡学生逐年增加,每年都有增无减。外国学生所获得的奖学金是有附带条件的。他们在毕业之后,必须依据合约留在新加坡工作几年,为我们的经济做出贡献。我们的记录显示,多数外国学生都履行了合约。长远来说,如果这些外国学生在新加坡留下来,那会加强我们人才的阵容。如果过了一段时间,他们回到自己的国家,他们可以成为我们的人脉网络,帮助我们建立广泛的国际联系,拓展我们的商贸机会。而这样的个人联系,这样的关系在中国尤其重要。

     我们知道优秀的外国学生给本地的学生带来竞争的压力。可是,竞争不完全是一件坏事。因为它有助提高本地学生的水平,并且拓展我们的国际视野,使我们认识到“天外有天,人外有人”。

     不过,我们会重视民众的反映,并且检讨这个政策实际的效果。我们将尽量做到取其利,去其弊。我们必须维持开放的政策,但是适度地控制外国学生的数目。我们也将更加照顾本地学生。我们将增加大学学额,让更多本地学生受惠。我们最近还增添了新加坡科技学院(SIT)和新加坡科技设计大学(SUTD),给本地学生提供更多升学的机会和渠道。机会比较多,途径和选择也增加了。这意味着,更大比例的新加坡学生将有机会升上大学。我们向来的承诺是,没有人会因为经济问题上不了大学。因此,新加坡学生将增加,而政府也将提供更多奖助学金给本地学生。同时,我们将尽力维持我国大学的特色:既要发扬开放兼容的精神,又要保留我们特有的学习风气,以加强大学和我国社会的联系。这些是新加坡的大学,所以必须有新加坡的风气,新加坡的传统,新加坡的价值观。这些不是欧美的大学,不是印度的大学,不是中国北京或者上海的大学,是新加坡的大学。

    除了外国大学生之外,政府也很关注外劳和移民的问题。我们已经放慢外劳流入的速度,以缓冲对本地工人的冲击。我们也提高了申请公民权和永久居留权的条件,确保新移民具备更高的素质,更能够为新加坡作出贡献。这些是实际和有价值、有必要的调整。

     不过,我们应该自我警惕,不要走向极端,变成排外,把所有的外国人都拒在门外。我们开放和自信的态度,使我们成功地吸引了大量的外来投资。对高端企业来说,人才是他们最关键的竞争的优势。让我举一个例子:我们成功争取到美国科技企业微软(Microsoft)和谷歌(Google)在新加坡设立区域营业中心,但是美中不足的是,它们把高端的研发中心设立在一些中国和印度的城市,而不是设立在新加坡。理由很简单,因为这两个国家人才比较多,人才成本也很低。所以,我们必须适度引进外来人才,加强我们整体的人才阵容,这样才能吸引更多高端的投资。此外,我们也应该注意削减外劳所带来的负面的影响:因为削减外劳将削弱经济的活力和增长的速度,导致企业面对人工短缺的问题。因此,政府必须很谨慎地权衡得失,以免对经济造成太大的冲击。我们必须关注中小型企业的处境,因为他们所承受的冲击可能是最大的。他们最依靠外来劳工,如果我们抓得太紧,本地小老板将面对问题。所以,政府将帮助它们改变营业方式,以节省人力,以及适应新的经济环境。

   除了外劳和移民,新加坡人关注的另一个课题是我们个人生活的保障。近年来,经济起落不定,削弱了人民的安全感。他们担心失去工作,生活失去依靠。而年纪较大的人则可能为退休后的生活操心。政府也很注意这个问题,并且将加强社会安全网。

     我们同样关注年轻一代和年长一辈的需要。政府要好好栽培年轻的一代,因为年轻人是国家的希望。但是我们也尽量帮助年长一辈解决生活上的问题,借以感激他们对国家的贡献,这就是饮水思源的体现。年轻人生长于网络时代,很熟悉互联网上一切新鲜的事。相比之下,老年人可能觉得落伍了,被时代抛在后头,还要到联络所学习电脑,向年轻人学。不过,年长者有的是知识和经验,更亲身经历了我国社会巨大的变迁,所以他们的经验,他们的判断力,他们的理智是有价值的。我希望年轻一代能够虚心地向年长一辈学习。俗语说:不听老人言,吃亏在眼前。这话是有道理的。年长者的生活智慧,能够让我们少犯一点错误,少走一点冤枉路。

     政府多年来采取了很多具体的措施帮助年长的新加坡人,譬如在分享财政盈余的时候,我们让老年人享有更多的分红,以及公积金填补和保健储蓄的填补。我们在各组屋区开展的电梯翻新计划,为无数老年人提供了很大的方便。

     在未来的几年,政府将加紧处理老年人的医药保健问题。我国人口迅速老化,老弱病人的数目逐渐增加。如果老年人不幸患上老人痴呆症,或者长期卧病在床,那将为他们的家庭带来非常沉重的经济负担,并且不止是经济负担,而且是一种长期的精神压力。我看过一些家庭长期照顾患病长辈,真的是不容易。政府将为这些家庭提供更多的援助。对低收入家庭,我们将通过保健基金,那就是Medifund,为在家疗养的长期病患者提供更多的津贴,譬如资助他们进行康复治疗等等。我们也将扩大护理和康复服务,帮助疗养院增加病床和扩充服务。政府需要制定周详的计划,因为这不只是增加津贴的问题。这是一个很复杂的、敏感的社会问题。

     我们应该从其他国家经验吸取教训。最近,美国《纽约时报》有这么的一篇报道。报道说,人民向来的印象是:养老院是西方社会特有的现象,讲究孝道的亚洲人不会把老弱的父母送到养老院去的。但是近年来,中国各大城市都出现了许许多多的养老院。这是全新的现象,说明中国人口正在老化,家庭结构正在改变。显然的,时代不同了,传统的家庭价值观也渐渐淡薄了。新加坡也可能面对同样的问题。因此,我们必须很谨慎地处理援助年老病人的政策,避免导致人们推卸责任,将父母遗弃到医院或者疗养院去。

     所以,我们必须制定一套应付人口老化的全盘方案。我们在几年前成立了一个部长级委员会负责寻找对策。委员会在林文兴先生领导下,已经做了不少工作。最近,颜金勇部长接替林文兴出任委员会主席,委员会将更深入探讨人口老化的问题,然后制定具体的方案。

     让我举一个实际的例子。我们正在马林百列推行一项照顾老人的实验性计划,这是吴作栋资政特别关注的一个项目。我们将通过这个计划,确定该区老年人的需要,然后设法改善基础设施、政策和机制,使老年人能够生活得更自在,也使他们的家庭生活更温馨。多个政府部门配合这项计划,展开了一项大规模的调查,以了解马林百列区老年人的需要。然后,我们将研究如何更好的照顾这些老年人,更好的替他们解决生活上的困难。我鼓励公众人士和团体踊跃参加这项计划:提出建议,参与行动,落实所有可行的建议。如果这些建议和构想能够付诸实现,证明有效,我们将把它推广到其他社区,使新加坡每一个老年人都能够受惠。

     政府是人民的公仆。我们的职责是尽心尽力为人民解决各种问题。这个是部门的责任,也是我们公务员的责任。政府对公务员的要求是,你们应该不断改善服务,灵活处理人民的要求,充分考虑个别人士的情况,避免照章行事。然而,我希望人民谅解的是,公务员不可能有求必应。他们必须秉公办事,对所有人民一视同仁。最近几个月,一些前线公务员向我反映,一些公众人士与他们接触的时候,语气很重,态度相当强硬。这样的案例虽然只佔少数,但是好像有增加的趋势。让我举个实际例子,这是不久前发生的:有一位人士到某个政府医院求医,他要求医生配一种药给他。医生研究了他的病情,检查了他的身体之后,好意地告诉他:“你不需要这种药。”不料,这名病人勃然大怒,高声大骂医生,连粗话都用上了;他还说,要告医生一状!

     请大家想一想,如果你是这位医生的话,你应该怎样回应这样的要求?你可以选择息事宁人,但是这将违背职业道德,对这位病人有害无益。我们要求医生,甚至其他公务员具备专业精神,保持客观和公正。如果他们不能接受公众的要求,应该客气地和清楚地向对方解释。与此同时,我也希望大家到医院求医,或者到政府部门办事的时候,能够和公务员以礼相待,互相尊重,心平气和地互相磋商,这对解决问题很有帮助。因为不管是医生或者公务员,他们的用意都是尽量帮助你解决问题。

     长远来说,我希望政府和人民之间能够建立起良好的互动关系。政府将尽力为各种民生问题寻找最好的解决办法,然而,我希望人民也能够自动自发,并且向政府提建议,出主意。我们的社会已经越来越成熟,政府不应该凡事都管,连猫和狗这一类的事都要管。几个星期前,人们就讨论了“部长抓猫”的事。一位早报读者说,许文远部长还有更重要的事要办,不应该为抓猫的事烦恼。我想这位读者说得有理。但是,我最近在德义区接见民众的时候,也不得不亲自处理一件抓狗的事。我接见了一位居民,一名年轻的女士,她偶然碰见一只野狗,非常喜欢,可惜家里没地方,没办法领养。后来这只狗被当局抓走了,她马上展开救狗行动,因为当局说,三天之内如果找不到狗主,就把这只狗人道毁灭。所以她要求我帮她写信,要求农粮与兽医局给这只狗多几天的时间。我听了之后感到同情,所以帮她写了一封信。后来,我听说这只狗及时被人领养,这个救狗行动因此大告成功。

     无论是“部长抓猫”,还是“总理救狗”,我们都有责任处理人民关心的大事和小事。但是,我希望大家体谅的是,有些问题,有些纠纷,政府未必管得了,也未必做得好。在未来,我希望政府能够少管一点事,人民多办一点事。一般民众的主动性越强,社会的应变能力就越强,使我们更有信心应付国际竞争,克服各种艰难和各种挑战。

     让我总结今晚的谈话。政府将检讨各项民生政策,以减少这些政策的负面的问题。不过,我希望人民也能关注更长远的问题,并且注意外界形势对新加坡的影响。为了维持长久的竞争优势,我们必须不断提高教育水平和生产力,也必须全力保持社会和谐与政治稳定。这些是基本的因素,必须做得好,我们才能处理这些眼前的燃眉之急,才能维持长远的、正确的方向,向前迈进。我们应该照顾各个年龄层、各个社群的需要,确保人人都能分享国家进步的成果,同时顺应时代的变迁,更新治国的方式,使人民更有参与感,更明了我们前进的方向。

     这些都是长远的目标,需要精心的计划,周详的组织和人民通力的合作。无论如何,我们的前景是光明的。让我们上下一心,一起克服困难,将这些计划一一落实,让我们的前途更美好。谢谢各位。

. . . . .

PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG’S NATIONAL DAY RALLY 2011 (ENGLISH TEXT OF SPEECH IN MANDARIN), SUNDAY, 14 AUGUST 2011, AT UNIVERISTY CULTURAL CENTRE, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE

1.        Just held GE in May

a.        My team and I won a new mandate, and will do our best to serve the people

b.        Dealing with pressing concerns and long term issues

2.        These last 5 years, Singaporeans faced problems in their lives

a.        We faced economic turbulence from the global financial crisis

b.        Government focused on overall health of the economy

c.        We took bold, decisive steps

d.        Stabilised the economy, saved jobs, and the economy rebounded

e.        But side effect is that Singaporeans may have had difficulties adjusting to the new situations

f.          We also could not address every single issue that each family faced

g.        Some Singaporeans felt neglected, that their lives had not improved, and instead that pressure had increased

3.        Analogy – flying in an airplane

a.        Encountered turbulence

b.        Pilot acted decisively, increasing thrust and changing direction

c.        Pilot done his best, but some shaking and discomfort to passengers could not be avoided

d.        Now storm past, and plane returning to original flight plan

e.        However, good weather seldom lasts. There may be turbulence ahead

f.          The situation in Europe and the US is worrisome. We should fasten our seat belts in case the economy suddenly deteriorates

4.        The Government tried to shield Singaporeans from the storm, but some problems remain to be resolved

a.        Including housing, transport and immigration issues

b.        There are no immediate solutions as these are complex issues, and it will take some time to solve. Hope for people’s understanding

5.        Government has always put Singaporeans first in its policies

a.        Starting point of policies always good, to improve lives of our people

b.        But some policies bring indirect benefits, or only after some time

c.        In the short term, people may see the negative impact but not the benefits

6.        One example is the policy to bring in foreign talent, students and workers

a.        I explained our policy in detail last year

b.        People logically accept that policy brings long term benefits

c.        But in workplaces, schools and public places, when they feel the crowding and pressures, so emotionally there is a reaction

7.        Government must handle this matter carefully

a.        Our objective is to find a balanced approach

b.        I will adopt a different angle to explain this again tonight

8.        Start with issue of Singapore universities taking in foreign students

a.        Some Singaporeans question policy of taking in foreign students, and giving some of them scholarships

b.        ZB recently carried a few letters discussing the issue

c.        One reader said the government had “gone too far”. Another asked: “Are wild flowers more fragnant than home flowers?”

9.        I understand their unhappiness

a.        But we must see this issue from a broader perspective

b.        Our universities’ primary objective is to nurture local talent

c.        Even though we attract outstanding foreign students, these do not come at the expense of opportunities for Singaporean students. In fact, more Singaporeans are entering our universities

d.        Scholarships for foreign students come with conditions. After graduation, these foreign students have to work in Singapore and contribute to our economy. Record shows most foreign scholars serve out their bonds

e.        In the long-run, these foreign students can be part of our regional network and help us build trade and business ties, especially to China

10.     We understand that foreign students bring more competition and pressure to local students

a.        But competition is not necessarily bad

b.        It raises standards of local students, expands their horizons, and lets them understand that there are talented people in other parts of the world too

11.     Nevertheless, we are taking feedback seriously, and will review our policies

a.        Retain the benefits while removing the negative effects

i.          Stay open

ii.        But control foreign student numbers

b.        We will also continue to give priority to Singa­porean students

i.          We will expand university places so more Singaporeans can enter university each year

ii.        We are building the Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Technology and Design, to give Singapore students more opportunities and routes to advance

iii.       This will allow more Singaporeans to enter university

iv.       Government’s commitment: No Singa­porean will be unable to attend university due to financial difficulties

v.        With the increased number of university places, Government will give more scholarships and bursaries to local students

c.        We will maintain the unique character of our universities: open culture, but with a local context and strong links to Singapore society

12.     Besides foreign students, Government also tackling foreign workers and immigration issues

a.        We are slowing the inflows, to reduce the impact on local workers

b.        We have tightened criteria on PRs and citizenship

i.          This ensures that new immigrants are of high quality and can make strong contributions to Singapore

c.        These are practical and necessary adjustments

13.     But we should not move to the extreme, turn xenophobic and reject all non-Singaporeans

a.        Our openness and confidence has allowed us to successfully attract foreign investments

b.        To high-end enterprises, talent is their most critical competitive advantage

i.          e.g. Microsoft and Google have set up regional operations in Singapore, but their high-end research centres are in China and India, because they have more talent than we do

ii.        Hence we need to bring in a certain number of foreign talent, to reinforce our local talent and attract high quality investments

c.        Hence we should be aware of the implications of reducing the number of foreign workers

i.          Our economic growth will slow

ii.        Companies will face labour shortages

d.        Hence Government must take a balanced approach in case we worsen the problem

i.          We will help our SMEs cope and reduce their reliance on manpower and adjust to a new economic environment

14.     Another concern is with our social safety nets

a.        In recent years, with the volatile economy, Singaporeans feeling less secure

b.        They worry about losing their jobs and falling on hard times

c.        They worry if they will have enough for their old age

d.        Government will enhance our social safety nets

15.     We pay attention to the needs of both older and young Singaporeans

a.        We nurture and engage our youths, because they represent the future of Singapore.

b.        But we will also take care of our elderly to thank them for their contributions to Singapore

c.        Youths belong to Internet age, and are familiar with all new things in the cyber world. By comparison, seniors seem to have fallen behind

d.        But seniors have knowledge and experience, having lived through country’s dramatic transformation and development

e.        Hope the younger generation will learn from our elderly

i.          Idiom: Ignore the advice of the old to your peril

ii.        Accumulated wisdom of our seniors can help us make fewer mistakes and take fewer wrong routes

16.     Government has taken concrete measure to improve the lives of our seniors

a.        For surplus sharing, our seniors receive more benefits and CPF top-ups

b.        Lift upgrading has make life more convenient for many seniors

17.     We are focusing on addressing healthcare concerns for seniors

a.        Our population is ageing rapidly

b.        e.g. those with dementia or who have become bedridden can be a heavy burden for their families

c.        I have seen families struggling to care for elderly parents

d.        The Government will do more to help them

e.        For lower-income households, we will provide more Medifund support, e.g. to go for rehabilitation or other elderly care services

f.          We also need to increase capacity and support for nursing homes

g.        Government will develop a comprehensive plan, as it involves more than government subsidies

18.     We should learn from the experience of other countries

a.        New York Times article:

i.          Our impression has been that old folks’ home are a western phenomenon, as Asians will not send their parents to homes

ii.        But in recent years, old folks’ home are sprouting in many Chinese cities

iii.       This is a new phenomenon, indicating an ageing population and changing family values

iv.       Shows that as times change, traditional values change too

b.        Singapore may also face the same challenges

i.          We must carefully handle issue of providing more support to seniors

ii.        Avoid situation in which families give up responsibility, and dump their parents in hospitals or nursing homes

19.     We need comprehensive plans to prepare for an ageing population

a.        We formed a Ministerial Committee on Ageing several years ago

b.        Under Mr Lim Boon Heng, a lot of work had been done

c.        Mr Gan Kim Yong recently took over

d.        Committee will continue to study our ageing population, and develop plans and measures

20.     Example: Marine Parade Pilot on caring for elderly

a.        Plan to determine needs of seniors, and adapt infrastructure, systems, programmes, etc. to enable elderly Singaporeans to lead comfortable, meaningful lives

b.        Recently completed big-scale, multi-agency survey to understand the concerns and needs of seniors

c.        Next step to study how to take care of their needs and solve problems for them

d.        Encourage interested individuals and groups to suggest and try out ideas in the Marine Parade Pilot

e.        If the ideas work, then we can implement them more broadly

21.     Government is the servant of the people. Our responsibility is to help address our people’s concerns

a.        We encourage government departments to improve their services continuously, and handle problems flexibly, taking into account the specific circumstances of each case

b.        But I hope the public understands that public servants cannot say yes to everything; they must be firm and fair in carrying out their duties

c.        Recently, frontline officers tell me that members of the public whom they serve have become more harsh and uncompromising

d.        Such cases in the minority, but seem to be increasing

e.        Give an example:

i.          A patient who went to a  hospital for treatment demanded a type of medication

ii.        The doctor examined him, and advised him that he did not need the medication

iii.       The patient became very agitated, loudly scolding the doctor and hurling vulgarities. He even said he would complain against the doctor

22.     I ask you: what should the doctor do in this case?

a.        If he gives in to the patient’s demand in order to avoid trouble, it would go against professional ethics and may even harm the patient

b.        I want public servants to be professional, objective and fair

c.        If they cannot accede to a request, they should explain this clearly and courteously

23.     At the same time, when we see a doctor or deal with any public officer, there should be mutual courtesy and respect. We should discuss issues calmly. This would help to solve or mitigate the problem

24.     I hope that the Government and people can strengthen their relationship

a.        We will do our best to find solutions for various problems

b.        But hope Singaporeans can also be more proactive

c.        As our society matures, Government should not take charge of everything, such as cats and dogs

d.        Some weeks ago, people were discussing “Minister catching cats”. A ZB reader argued that Minister Khaw had other pressing priorities, and should not be worrying about catching cats

e.        I agree with this reader. However, I also had to personally help a resident handle an issue about dogs

i.          This resident had found the dog but could not adopt it. The dog had been caught, and she wanted me to stop the authorities from culling the dog

ii.        Fortunately, this story has a happy ending, as someone later adopted the dog

25.     Whether catching cats or saving dogs, Government will try our best to solve problems big and small

a.        But seek people’s understanding: some problems or disputes may not be best tackled by the Government

b.        Hope in future, the Government can do less, and Singa­poreans do more

c.        The more proactive Singaporeans are, the better Singapore would be in responding to unexpected situations

d.        Making our society more matured and flexible, and more confident against international competition

26.     Let me conclude

a.        Government reviewing our policies, reducing their negative effects

b.        But we also need to focus on long-term challenges, and external developments which may impact Singapore

c.        To raise our long term competitiveness, we need to improve our education and productivity

d.        And preserve social cohesion and political stability

i.          We must take care of different groups of Singaporeans, to ensure that all can benefit from our progress

ii.        We must change with the times, renew our governance, engage more participation by our citizens

27.     These are long-term goals

a.        Requires careful planning, good organisation and effort on the part of Singaporeans

b.        Future bright for us

c.        Let us stay cohesive, ride out the challenges and together implement our plans to build a better Singapore

. . . . .

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