President Halimah Yacob’s 2020 New Year message bore striking similarities to remarks Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his presumptive successor Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat made as they welcomed the new year.
All three leaders spoke about the fragility of social cohesion during the New Year period.
In his official 2020 New Year Message, PM Lee touched on how the state of the world is fraught with uncertainty and how Singapore must continue to be “open and connected to the world”.
Asserting that globalisation has benefitted Singapore and that the nation cannot survive by turning inwards like other societies that are increasingly hostile towards globalisation, PM Lee indicated that the state of the world is “fraught with uncertainty”.
Citing frictions between the US and China as well as tensions in nations like Hong Kong, Chile and France, the PM said:
“Despite economic growth, their peoples feel anxious, discouraged and upset. They worry about basic needs like housing and jobs. They are angry that the fruits of growth have not been shared equitably, and income gaps are widening.
“Consequently, large parts of their populations have lost faith in their economic and political systems, and are pessimistic about the future. This is fuelling nativism and chauvinism, and sectarian strife. Everywhere globalisation seems to be in retreat.
“Singaporeans too are worried about the state of the world, and we also have our own domestic concerns. But we must resist the temptation to turn inwards. Instead, we must stay open and connected to the world.
“Globalisation has benefitted Singapore enormously. A Singapore turned inwards cannot survive. We are in a better position than most countries, because for decades we have toiled to improve our people’s lives. And we continue to make steady progress, year after year.”
Mr Heng used the same “open and connected to the world” phrase in a Facebook post published on 1 Jan. He said: “The global economy has slowed significantly. As the rapid advancements in technology continue to drive changes across all sectors of our economy and across the world, we must continue to transform and innovate our economy.
“We must stay relevant and useful, develop deep capabilities, stay open and connected to the rest of the world.”
These sentiments resounded in President Halimah’s New Year message, as well. The President cautioned that Singapore’s harmonious state of affairs should not be taken for granted amid increasing religious and racial tensions around the world.
She said: “We live in harmony despite the increasing religious and racial tensions in many parts of the world. As people withdraw into their own identities, political populism rears its ugly head to drive bigger wedges between them.
“We cannot take our social cohesion for granted, as we have seen how fragile it can be if it’s not nurtured and cultivated on a sustainable basis.” /TISG
We are approaching the end of 2019 and will welcome 2020 soon. It has been another productive and eventful one. I wish all Singaporeans a peaceful and prosperous new year ahead!The video was recorded at the well located at the Istana. For more information on the well, you can check out my Facebook post on the well shared earlier. – https://www.facebook.com/halimahyacob/posts/2866366446729772
Posted by Halimah Yacob on Thursday, 26 December 2019