Date Published: 03 Aug 2012
Dear fellow Singaporeans and Friends of Singapore
1. Good evening. I am happy to be here, to have the privilege of celebrating Singapore’s 47th National Day with you all. National Day is an important day because it is one day when all Singaporeans gather together to celebrate a common cause for all of us, regardless of race, religion, gender and age. It is a time for us to celebrate the peace and prosperity we enjoyed and acknowledge our achievements as a nation. In the case here, it is a day for Singaporeans to be reunited with one another in Seoul and to be connected with us from Singapore. I hope that it will also be an occasion to cure your home sickness by catching up with Singaporean friends, enjoying some of the Singaporean food and keuh-kuehs brought over from Singapore, and practising Singlish amongst friends.
2. Recently, I read a media feature about how Singaporeans could be easily identified when they travel as tourists overseas. Some of the distinguishing features are our love for shopping, the Singlish that we speak, and our kiasu tendencies. That maybe the case and we often laugh at ourselves –how shopping and eating are our national pastime. On a more serious note, Singaporeans and Singaporean companies are often known for reliability, competence, trust-worthiness, and a high standard for quality and safety. We deliver what we promise and are trusted. This Singapore branding is invaluable and has helped many Singaporeans and Singapore companies land job and business deals in many parts of the world. As our community in Korea, I urge each and every one of you to be the ambassadors of Singapore and help uphold the Singapore brand here.
3. With globalisation, the branding of Singapore is becoming ever important. Our karma is to live with our lack of resources including water and land. Our strategy is to keep a strategy of openness to investment and trade and be a liveable and vibrant city of choice in Asia. We are a hub, a shining red-dot, connected to the rest of the world. You are part of our connection to the rest of the world. There are now more than 190,000 Singaporeans, who are like you, spread across the world. The Overseas Singaporean diaspora is rich in its diversity of experiences, knowledge and networks. You add to the rich fabric of our nation and contribute much to our Singapore brand. It is important for us to remain engaged with one another. We want you to stay connected with one another and with Singapore, to know what is happening back home. A vibrant and connected Overseas Singaporean community around the world, with strong linkages to the family and friends in Singapore, will be an asset to the country.
4. I understand that the number of Singaporeans in Korea is not huge, yet this evening’s turnout is very heartening. It is a good reflection of the bonding of the Singaporean community here. I was told that it is an active community with frequent gatherings including mountain hiking and pot-luck makan sessions. These are good opportunities for you to keep in touch with one another and to remain connected to Singapore. The Singapore Club Seoul has certainly done a good job in helping to forge a closely-knit community here.
5. Besides being our linkages to the world, you are also our ambassadors to South Koreans. Singapore and Korea enjoy excellent relations. Both countries work closely together to promote peace, growth and development in the region. Korea is also an important economic partner for Singapore. Our trade and investments with Korea have increased over the years. The Singaporean community here also plays an important role in deepening the already excellent ties between Singapore and Korea. You serve as the bridge to enhance and promote mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of our two countries.
6. Over at the Singapore Pavilion at the Yeosu Expo, we have also brought a little part of Singapore into Korea. I was told that a number of you will be joining us for our National Day Celebration at the Yeosu Expo on 5 August. I look forward to seeing you there.
7. Lastly, I wish all of you here a very enjoyable evening. Together, we can all celebrate our love for the country, for our country that is 47 years old. Although it is not very long, it has definitely come a long way and there are many reasons for us to be happy and proud of our country, Singapore. Thank you.