We have been treated to events and parties galore, aerial displays, exhibitions, the past and following days resplendent with activity and celebration. There is much to look forward to later today. Let us spare a thought for those in our armed services and countless other volunteers who have given of their time and sacrificed many a weekend so as to make tomorrow an unparalleled success. We give thanks as a nation for the past 50 years. Yesterday evening, as my wife and I took our children to drive past the impressive lights display along the ECP towards Changi Airport, culminating in a visit to the Singapore Flyer, the skyline of Singapore greeted us in a way that we were unused to. The lighting displays in many buildings reinforced how seriously we have taken this golden jubilee of our fair city. There appeared to be an infinite number of ways to display and present our national flag. Later today many of our citizens would have the opportunity to re-live what our forbears experienced on the morning of 9th August 1965. It begins with a recitation of the proclamation – that turning point of our history.
For those of us in the P65 generation, our time has truly come. We have been blessed with all the gifts that a well-governed nation has bestowed upon its citizenry, in terms of opportunity as well as social recognition and mobility. We have our pressures, responsibilities and key performance indicators. We are our own harshest critics, because we want to make a difference, and we are driven to pursuing excellence. Many of us have already done so, albeit to varying degrees. Family and friends have provided support, love and encouragement. We treasure community bonds, and the larger opportunities to interact with fellow citizens and residents. Looking at my young children, I pray that they will learn to rise above themselves in life, and never stop learning. In their time, the world will expect more cross-border expertise to a degree even greater than what is expected now. I also pray that our children will be able to function as global citizens with skills that are easily portable, through different platforms.
At the celebrations’ end, what of the next 50 years? SG100 – what will Singapore look like then? My personal opinion is that Singapore will move to an even higher level of success, augmented by a driven citizenry and returning Singaporeans. Singapore will be a smart nation, and champion many new innovations that traverse transportation (driverless cars), space optimization and alternative energy. This island will continue to punch above its weight, amidst a stronger economic integration with the region and ASEAN. It is conceivable that geographical and political boundaries of at least one neighboring country will alter significantly over the next 50 years. The perspective of political leadership may change, amidst the trends of disintermediation and the erasure of hierarchical boundary. As citizens and residents we will be coerced into a new level of national honesty, where subjects are accountable to each other and no one can claim a monopoly of virtue, talent or ideas for the future. Pluralism will prevail, and come to be the new currency and norm of engagement between us. The public sector will reduce in size, replaced by a thriving private sector that will increasingly feed into the political leadership. As a financial hub, we will blaze the trail for FinTech (Finance Technology). We will be a significant thought leader in cyber-security and defence technology. The SAF will move to 6G.
That is the level of prescience that I am prepared to venture at this point. We celebrate and give thanks for the 50 years that we have enjoyed. Happy SG50 to one and all! Shalom.