This morning, the Ulu Pandan branch visited Mr Choo Siu Heng in hospital to celebrate National Day with him. He is now 81 years old and and has been a volunteer and activist since the mid 1950s. He was banished by the colonial authorities to China in 1956, and was allowed to return to Singapore only after the 1959 General Election. Since then, he has been a regular presence at Meet-the-People Sessions and community events for more than 5 decades.
He has been a wonderful inspiration to all of us. He taught us the meaning of politics at a human level, fighting for what you believe in, resilience despite set-backs, perseverance, complete dedication to a cause and humility in service. Singaporeans of his generation have seen it all, and contributed so much to Singapore. We need to always remember that National Day is first, and foremost, a celebration of the people behind Singapore’s success. It was only fitting that we all said “Thank you” to him and people of his generation on this day.
The future will not be a replay of the past. The challenges confronting the Singapore of today are different, but no less profound than those at Independence 46 years ago. We will certainly need to change and do new things differently.
But it is timely to reflect on what doesn’t change. I believe it will always be about the indomitable human spirit, our shared values, our commitment to remain one united people despite diversity and the guts to keep on trying that will determine our future. I wish all Singaporeans great happiness and success on our National Day.