09 Aug 2015
Speech by Consul-General Jacky Foo
Singapore’s 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner
Grand Hyatt Ballroom, 9th August 2015
1 Today is a very special day for Singapore and all Singaporeans, in Singapore and all around the world. We are celebrating the 50th birthday of our country. It is a joyous and momentous occasion. I am extremely delighted that we are all here together for this special evening.
2 The theme of this year’s National Day is “Majulah Singapura”, which means “Onward Singapore”. Today, Singaporeans look back with pride at what we have achieved, and chart our path forward. Singapore has undergone a tremendous transformation over the past fifty years. Against all odds, our country has transformed itself from a resource-poor country to a successful cosmopolitan city. Our economy today is diversified and strong. We are moving towards a knowledge-based, innovation-driven, high value-added economy. From the beginning of our nationhood, we built new homes, we invested in education, we upgraded public health facilities, and created a harmonious multi-racial and multi-religious society. We put in place a good, corruption-free government, a capable military, and made friends with all others around the world. Many years ago, we called ourselves Garden City, but today we call ourselves a City in a Garden. Over the past fifty years, we have built a more vibrant and beautiful Singapore, a place, no matter where Singaporeans are in any part of the world, Singaporeans can proudly call home.
3 Singapore’s achievements today are the result of the vision and the hard work of our founding Prime Minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and the pioneer generation, who paved the way forward for all Singaporeans today to enjoy the fruits of their labour. They put Singapore on the world map and took our country from the Third World to the First World. We Singaporeans today owe it to Mr Lee, the pioneer generation, and our children to forge ahead, to build an even better Singapore in the next 50 years.
4 SG50 is therefore also about celebrating the enduring values and spirit that define us as Singaporeans. These are the values that brought us Singapore to where we are today. Half a century on since our independence, the Singapore Story continues to inspire us when we pledge to be "one united people, regardless of race, language, or religion.” Our drive is to continue to strive for excellence in everything we do. We want to continue to be a society of integrity, equality and fairness, where no Singaporeans are left behind. We also want Singapore to become a place where our people are given every opportunity to reach their fullest potential and to live their dreams.
5 Singapore shares a long-standing close friendship with Hong Kong. Our economic ties are strong; we are each other’s fifth largest trade partner in 2014. Both our cities are heavily invested in each other. Our cultural exchanges are growing, and so are our people-to people links. Our two cities being very similar in that we are small and highly urbanised, we share many common challenges. And we are therefore always learning from each other. Hong Kongers, over the last fifty years, have contributed much to Singapore, and I dare say that Singaporeans are also contributing to Hong Kong, as can be seen in the sheer size and talent of the Singapore community here. This city, Hong Kong, you have been a wonderful host to the many Singaporeans here. For this I would like to thank the Chief Executive and our Hong Kong friends here tonight.
6 The story of our two cities began in history with the China trade. Going forward, both China’s “One Belt One Road” and ASEAN’s “One Economic Community” offer our two cities tremendous opportunities. Chief Executive, you have often mentioned on numerous occasions, that Hong Kong is the “super-connector” to the Mainland, to China. In the same way, Singapore can serve as a “super-connector” to Southeast Asia. We, Singapore and Hong Kong, are two very exceptionally special cities in the world, and both our cities are very well placed to help each other ride Asia’s growth and prosper together.
7 Ladies and gentlemen, today as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Singapore and 50 years of friendship with Hong Kong, I am certain that our ties will remain strong in the next 50 years to come and beyond. I wish all of you a truly enjoyable and memorable evening, and please join me in a toast to my fellow Singaporeans and to the people of the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
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Guests at the Singapore National Day Gala Dinner viewing the SG50 photo exhibition, 9 August 2015. From left: Mr Ron Lye, Acting Chairman, Singapore Chamber of Commerce (Hong Kong); Professor K C Chan, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury; Mr Song Ru’an, Deputy Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong SAR; Mr Jacky Foo, Consul-General of Singapore in Hong Kong; Mrs Carrie Lam-Cheng Yuet Ngor, Chief Secretary for Administration; Dr Su Yumian, wife of Consul-General Jacky Foo; Dr Ker Sin Tze, former Consul-General of Singapore in Hong Kong.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, accompanied by Mr Jacky Foo, Consul-General of Singapore in Hong Kong and Mr Ron Lye, Acting Chairman, Singapore Chamber of Commerce (Hong Kong), viewing the SG50 photo exhibition, 9 August 2015
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying speaking at the Singapore National Day Gala Dinner at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong on 9 August 2015.
Consul-General of Singapore Mr Jacky Foo speaking at the Singapore National Day Gala Dinner at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong on 9 August 2015.