Channel NewsAsia

Non-profit organisation launched to Honour Singapore

The new organisation will look to bring back the idea of Singapore as "HOME", one which offers "uplifting HOpe and heartening MEmory" to Singaporeans.

SINGAPORE: Promoting a culture of honour and honouring for the well-being of Singapore from the ground up - that is the aim of the newly launched non-profit organisation called Honour (Singapore).

The board has Group President of GIC, Mr Lim Siong Guan as its Chairman, Mr Jason Wong as its Executive Director, and Mr Khoo Oon Theam, Mr Georgie Lee, and Mr Richard Magnus as Directors. It has a panel of Community Advisors for guidance and counsel. The panel is chaired by Mr Philip Ng and comprises Mrs Janet Ang, Ms Claire Chiang, Mr Chua Thian Poh, Mrs Fang Ai Lian, Mr Laurence Lien, Mr Andy Lim, Mr Mohamed Alami Musa, Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, and Dr Edwin Thumboo.

Leaders of the organisation feel this is timely as strident voices, an undertone of pessimism and the view that one only wins when another loses are growing more evident in Singapore. So the organisation will look to bringing back the idea of Singapore as "HOME", which offers "Uplifting HOpe and heartening MEmory" to Singaporeans. It expects to engage a broad spectrum of Singapore society such as schools, families and community groups to spread this culture of honour.

"Why is it Singapore has succeeded over all these years, what is it that has caused investors to put billions of dollars in Singapore, trusting that their money invested here will be safe? Putting the money here which may take them 10, 20, even 30 years to get their money back as they do their business from Singapore?" said Honor (Singapore) Chairman, Mr Lim. 

"We came to the conclusion that the real explanation went beyond Government policies and all the schemes that we see which has brought Singapore to its state of economic and social development.

"But even more fundamentally, that the reason was because we are a people and a country, whose word is our honour. We take our promises seriously. Whatever it is that we say that we will do, we will do. Even if we came across unexpected difficulties, even if we had to put a lot more hard work that perhaps we thought we needed to do, when we first made the promise. Yet once having made a promise, we are a people who have to deliver on that promise."

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat who was also present, spoke about the importance of honouring one another. He cautioned that while Singapore worked hard to bridge the differences that came up during the years of nation-building, Singaporeans must never assume that these differences have been resolved once and for all. 

"Even as we forged deeper understanding of these issues, new differences are emerging - be it in attitudes towards sexual orientation, new migrants, social status or the distribution of wealth," said Mr Heng. "How we manage differences, to ensure that these do not become new fault lines which polarise our society - this will be our critical challenge in the coming years. What we need is a keen sense of responsibility of acknowledging, accepting and respecting differences.

"At some point, after we air our different perspectives, we have to bring everyone together to move forward in a fair and just way, in a way that protects the vulnerable, and that grows the opportunities and welfare of everyone," he added.

"This cannot be a matter of one side winning and the other side losing. Rather, it is a matter of concerned, thinking citizens hearing and respecting other perspectives. We honour one another by developing empathy, by trying to understand rather than waiting to be understood, by avoiding making judgement. The space to express our views is best coupled with a commitment for greater good."