PM Lee on dark clouds &, more importantly, their silver linings

You’ve probably seen those headlines anticipating a difficult 2023.

But do remember Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s New Year’s Message in the months to come.

“Even the darkest of clouds have silver linings, but only for those bold enough to seize opportunities,” he wrote on Dec 31.

After all, we all did weather the storm that was the darkest days of the pandemic — and emerged stronger for it.

This by being able to swing things a big step towards normal in a resilient, sustainable fashion. We also gained the know-how on how to prepare for future health crises (please remember to take your vaccine boosters).

Plus, so many of our fellow Singaporeans stepped up during the pandemic storm to help keep the nation going.

There was financial assistance too, to offset the GST hike, with more help coming this year.

Our infrastructure’s stronger too. Both physically, with more flats and MRT lines built, and socially with s377A struck off and the institution of marriage strengthened.

Back: Changi Airport and MICE

Changi Airport’s important for us economically and socially. It’s our nation’s main travel connection to the world and its opportunities.   

“I made several overseas trips recently and was happy to see Changi Airport buzzing with life. Singaporeans are travelling once again,” wrote PM Lee.

“Singapore Airlines flights are full. Cabin crew are back from being care ambassadors and flying again.”

So are hotels, food and beverage, and all the other shops which are part of the visitor ecosystem.

Especially for those major, massive Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) events. And F1’s revved back.

Source: PMO

“We resumed hosting flagship international events, including the Shangri-La Dialogue and the Bloomberg New Economy Forum,” said PM Lee.

“And we heard the roar of the Singapore Grand Prix again, energising our city with the rush of exhilarating races and live performances, and sending a strong signal that Singapore is back in business.”

On track: Rail, Tuas Port, Changi T5 and more BTOs

The work on Changi Airport T5 continues.

As well as other infrastructure projects for securing Singapore’s future — Tuas Port, the Thompson-East Coast Line and more BTOs.

“Recently, another 11 MRT stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) opened,” wrote PM Lee.

Source: Vikram Nair, Facebook

“When fully completed in 2025, the TEL will serve one million commuters daily, connecting residents in the East with the North-South corridor.”

The PAP Government is working hard to serve the Singapore public’s housing aspirations too, , especially for couples starting families.

“Last month HDB launched close to 10,000 new flats, its largest-ever single BTO offering. Next year HDB will launch another 23,000 new flats,” wrote PM Lee.

“We will maintain this high tempo to meet the strong demand for housing, and expect to build up to 100,000 new BTO flats from 2021 to 2025.”

Stronger: society and marriage

The Prime Minister also noted that the Government’s worked towards a more inclusive society.

Policies which ensure equal treatment for men and women were developed, as well as ones affording more stability for Singapore’s always-hustling hardworking platform workers.

This alongside the Enabling Masterplan 2030, which is for helping persons with disabilities find jobs and live with dignity.

Source: MSF

Also, the legally-problematic colonial law which criminalised male homosexuality, s377A, was repealed; heterosexual marriage was strengthened as an institution concurrently.

“I am heartened that Singaporeans have responded with restraint and supported our balanced approach — to decriminalise male homosexual acts, while protecting the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman from being challenged in the courts,” wrote PM Lee.

This last is a move, Petir.sg notes, which like the other policies mentioned, is about doing right by Singapore overall.

Stepping up: Singaporeans and the frontline

And about doing right, Singaporeans stepped up in a big way against the pandemic. This by trusting the Government and each other, taking vaccinations and valiantly serving on the frontlines.

 So national awards for about 100,000 people are coming.

Source: PMO

“They stepped forward to protect us all, often at considerable risk and sacrifice to themselves and their families,” wrote PM Lee about these award recipients, many of whom served on the frontlines.

“When the situation improved, they toiled on behind the scenes so that the rest of us could return to normal lives. They represent the best of Singapore and deserve our deepest gratitude.”

Plus, the Government’s learnt actionable lessons about public healthcare from the pandemic.

“We will enhance our preparedness for future pandemics, as well as strengthen our healthcare system and community networks more broadly,” explained PM Lee.

In particular: Healthier SG’s coming to overhaul the healthcare system and help Singaporeans live well.

What’s the next step?

So — all these are what the PAP Government’s achieved together with Singaporeans during difficult times. This alongside CDC vouchers (more akan datang) given to help with cost of living pressures.

That’s why we can all chase that silver lining together for 2023.

“We have weathered the pandemic safely and emerged stronger. Our COVID-19 response has enhanced our international standing,” said PM Lee.

“There is great interest in Singapore — many businesses and individuals want to set up shop here and in the region,” he added.

The next step?

“We must seize the moment,” said PM Lee.

“Welcome promising investments and talents of all nationalities to Singapore, while building up our own skills and capabilities, venturing forth to chase our dreams in the region and the world.”

“Together, we will build a brighter future for Singapore and all Singaporeans.”

Let’s go.

Cover photo credit: MCI, Terrence Tan