Channel NewsAsia

50 years of peace as S’poreans understand responsibility to defend country: PM Lee

Singapore has enjoyed 50 years of peace and progress because Singaporeans understand their responsibility to defend the country and stay united, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday.

SINGAPORE: Singapore has enjoyed 50 years of peace and progress because Singaporeans understand their responsibility to defend the country and stay united, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Prime Minister Lee made the comments at a Lunar New Year dinner at his Teck Ghee ward on Saturday, which coincides with Total Defence Day.

Mr Lee said the older Singaporeans who lived through World War II and the Japanese Occupation learnt that it was their responsibility to keep Singapore safe and secure -- which is why they supported Total Defence and National Service.

He said Singapore must keep up this vigilance and special effort.

Mr Lee urged Singaporeans to remain united as one people, even in the face of external challenges.

He said Singapore and Singaporeans are special in their ability to work together for the common good, and their willingness to cooperate with friends around the world for mutual benefit.

Prime Minister Lee said: “Because we are strong, because we are special, that is why we're successful, that is why we are respected around the world, that is why Singapore can stand tall, and we can hold our own beside much bigger countries in the world.

“Otherwise, if we are small and unsuccessful, small and weak, I think people may be polite with you, people may say the right thing to you, but you can be sure people will also be able to take advantage of you.

“But if you're small but a shining red dot -- that's different. Then they will know this is a serious country. It may be small, but it's capable. It may not be huge, but it knows what it is doing.

"It can succeed, it can look after itself, it can contribute and cooperate with the others."

He thus urged Singaporeans to work together, adding: “That's why we must stay a special country, show the world what Singapore can do, and then our children can grow up peacefully, live and prosper in peace and harmony for many years to come."

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