Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong broke down while speaking about the sacrifices pioneer Singaporeans have made as he introduced the “Merdeka Generation Package” during the National Day Rally 2018 that is ongoing now.
Speaking about how Singaporeans endured so many struggles as Singapore fought for independence and after it was liberated, PM Lee kept repeating “Merdeka!” before he played a video of his father Lee Kuan Yew rallying the people in 1959, telling them that the nation is beginning a new chapter in its history.
“Most memorable is his call to action, captured in this clip. You’ve seen it, you’ve heard it but it’s still electrifying,” PM Lee said before he played a clip of his father leading the people with the word “Merdeka!” – the Malay word for liberation.
As the clip ends, PM Lee calls the group born in the 1950s as the “Merdeka Generation” before asserting “There are 500,000 of the Merdeka Generation today and I am proud to be one of them” as the crowd at the National Day Rally goes wild with applause.
This is when PM Lee tears as he speaks of the upheavals the Merdeka Generation faced, and becomes more emotional as he asserts that the Merdeka Generation knew what was at stake as they saw their parents toil for the nation.
Sharing that those in the Merdeka Generation answered the call of duty and worked together for a better tomorrow, PM Lee acknowledged that while the Merdeka Generation were better off than the Pioneer Generation, they are still not as well off as those who came after them.
To help the Merdeka Generation, most of whom are in their 60s, PM Lee revealed that he is building a Merdeka Generation Package to help meet the healthcare expenses of those born in the 1950s.
PM Lee further revealed that the benefits for the Merdeka Generation will not be as large as those given to the Pioneer Generation because the pioneers “had much less advantage in life” but promised it will go “some way” in relieving their burden when it comes to healthcare.
Adding that the Package is launched to show the Government’s appreciation to the Merdeka Generation, PM Lee said that more details will be unveiled next year.