"MM Lee urges Singaporeans to stand united - CAN 11 February 2011
SINGAPORE : Singaporeans have been reminded to stand united regardless of race, language or religion.
Speaking at the annual Tanjong Pagar Lunar New Year dinner on Friday, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew emphasised that as long as Singapore continues to give everyone equal opportunities, the country will do well.
Minister Mentor Lee said 2010 was a splendid year, with the economy growing 14.7 per cent - thanks to several factors.
Mr Lee said Singapore's tourism sector received a boost from Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands, while the manufacturing sector grew some 30 per cent last year compared to 2009.
He added that the Trade and Industry Ministry's forecast of a 4 to 6 per cent growth for this year is not bad for a mature economy like Singapore.
Mr Lee said: "To keep this going at this stage, we need several things. First, stability and confidence of investors. Stability means everybody is satisfied and acts like a good reasonable citizen, he owns his own home, he has got a good job, his children are going to good schools, polytechnics, universities, ITE.
"All races are given equal treatment, all use the English language, it is a common platform, nobody gets an advantage and it is also the language which has enabled us to connect to the world and get investments in." "
Absolutely true for any nation or any place in the world if people want to work on prosperity. That they need to have harmony and stability. The Chinese government knows that with 1st hand traumatic experiences when you have 1.3B people going at each others!
Lessons for me are:
1. to run a nation, the fundamental principles MUST be set right and kept to it religiously and jealously. Singapore's use of English as the common language is a success for international survival and keeping peace among the races;
2. as a nation, Singapore is still at the 'economical fulfillment' stage. We are good at this and have done well. There were twists and turns for sure as we moved from a manufacturing base of MNCs around the world to focusing on Services and some niche and specialized manufacturing activities. e.g. pharmaceutical, biomedical, oil refinery, rigs and ships building (surprisingly strong still), etc;
3. on the non-economical side, we are still a way to go. MM Lee himself gave up by saying that he will not see gracefulness in Singapore in his lifetime. This is so. Education to get good examination results would not change his resignation. Anyway, it is always harder to measure non-economic indicators for the health of a nation.
May MM Lee live a healthy, happy and peaceful Year of the Rabbit.