SINGAPORE: It was a special day for 71 people who became Singapore citizens on Saturday (Aug 5), just four days before National Day.
The Tanjong Pagar residents received their new identity cards and certificates of citizenship at a national citizenship ceremony which was held on the 50th floor of the Pinnacle@Duxton, an iconic housing board development in Singapore's city centre.
Among the new citizens was 43-year-old Teyu Che Chern, a former Malaysian who came to Singapore in 1981.
"I’ve been in Singapore over the last 30 over years," said Mr Teyu, who is the chief executive officer of financial broking subsidiary Phillip Futures. "So it doesn’t take too much time for me to consider, especially because my wife is a Singaporean, all my four kids were Singaporeans at birth."
"I also thought it’s also time for me to be a Singaporean and hopefully (be) able to contribute much more to the country," he added.
Commenting on what it means to be a Singaporean, Minister in Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing said that multiracialism, meritocracy and integrity are the values binding the country.
"To be a Singaporean is not a matter of ancestry per se. To be a Singaporean is a choice," said Mr Chan in a speech at the event. "It is also a pledge, a pledge to build a country that despite our lack of a common history, to build a country with a set of common values.”
“While we may not have a common history, we can always have a set of common values that will bind us towards a common future. This is what this country of ours, Singapore, offers to every one of us here."
Organised by the People's Association and supported by the National Integration Council, the national citizenship ceremony is an annual event to mark the significance and privilege of citizenship.
For Mr Teyu, becoming a full-fledged Singaporean was a step in the right direction.
"It’s a very special feeling. In school you also sing the national anthem, but just now … it’s the first time I sing the national anthem as a Singaporean," said Mr Teyu.
"At least now when I travel, when people say where are you from, which citizen, I can tell them that I’m from Singapore, I’m a Singaporean."