It is a tradition that the Prime Minister of Singapore gives a National Day Rally (NDR) Speech shortly after August 9, Singapore’s National Day. This year, as usual, my family was looking forward to it.
To be honest, I was never interested in long speeches from people who run countries as they tend to be the same old, same old. (Many speeches are just a token to get some brownie points and votes in the next election. In other countries, it is a matter of someone saying, “I tell you so”…)
However, things changed a few years back. My family was having our weekend dinner and the TV was broadcasting the speech. My little gals in primary school were totally drawn to that interesting speech! An excellent speaker is able to convey his/her message, regardless of complexity, in a down to earth manner. Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, the Singapore Prime Minister showcased this quality.
This year, the NDR speech was great and our running teammate, Ashley Liew, was mentioned in the speech as he demonstrated first class sportsmanship in the 2015 SEA Games marathon event. He made his native land proud beyond the podium. I always refer to him as the ‘Big Boy’ as his dad is closer to me in age than he is, and I know it takes a big heart to be a great national level distance runner.
If I have to summarize the spirit of the 2015 speech, it was all about ‘pragmatism’.
My colleague, oncologist Dr. Kong Hwai-Loong, has been sharing his excellent photography skills on social media. This morning he showed a colorful public housing estate, which is only 5 minutes-walk from where my family lives. Sadly, that beautiful but older housing estate is going to be torn down to make way for a new highway. One of his overseas friends, judging from the name, asked how the lives of the residents would be affected. Hwai-Loong simply said, “They will be relocated appropriately. We have a successful public housing (policy) in Singapore, and the people here are largely pragmatic, sensible and nation-loving :)” Hwai-Loong was spot on!
IMHO, the three qualities: Pragmatic, Sensible and Nation-Loving are gems. I can’t really think of too many places and people befit to claim that.
Dr. Kong went on to comment that those are ‘some of the precious reasons’ why foreign talents choose to relocate to Singapore.
My family has had an overwhelming level of positive experiences in Singapore (yes, there are negative ones but these are at a statistically insignificant level!). Dr. Kong is no average clinician. He is in a class of his own. We are honored to be among numerous excellent clinicians in our work environment at Mt Elizabeth Hospital.
My family is in Singapore not because we are foreign talents. My family is here because of the local talents in Singapore.