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PM Lee on Singapore's founding fathers

PM Lee: Dr. Goh didn't make his contributions alone.

He was part of a team of founding fathers who built our nation. Besides MM Lee and Dr. Goh, they included Mr. Rajaratnam, Dr. Othman Wok, Mr. Lim Kim San, Mr. Hon Sui Sen, Mr. E.W. Barker, Dr. Toh Chin Chye and others.

They were a multiracial team with a vision to build a multiracial Singapore. And here you see them attending the first sitting of Parliament after we became independent.

So this will have been in December 1965. They had experienced and fought racial politics and racial politics while in Malaysia.

They were determined that Singapore would be different and in this they succeeded, although the work of building a multiracial and multi-religious society and nation will not be complete for a very long time.

In fact the founding fathers played a key role in creating the Singapore spirit because before their time, before their generation, the peoples living in Singapore had different loyalties to different countries - to China, to India, to Indonesia - and many of them saw Singapore not as a nation or as a permanent home but as a place to make a living and they dreamed of returning to their birthplaces to retire and to die one day.

It was the founding fathers and their generation who conceived of and championed the Malayan identity, and later on a Singaporean identity.

And through the fight for independence, the battles against the communists and the communalists, and then the decades of nation-building led by the founding fathers that Singapore's spirit gradually took shape.

It's important that the nation remembers the founding fathers properly.

It's not just a matter of gratitude but it's to stay true to the ideals that they fought for and to remind ourselves to continue striving to become one united people regardless of race, language or religion.

It isn't yet time to decide how to do so but it's something which we should think about for the future and which I felt I needed to talk about today.

While we remember the past we also must look forward to the future.

In the same speech where Dr. Goh talked about worrying about the new generation not being exposed, he also called on a new generation of leaders to come forth and take Singapore forward.

And here is what he had to say about their responsibility.

"You will then regard the present condition of the republic not as a pinnacle of achievement but as a base from which to scale new heights."

And indeed we have scaled many new heights since Dr. Goh retired.

We've got high quality townships. We got schools, hospitals, Changi airport, MRT, green and blue spaces, trees & water all over the island.

And in Marina Bay, a new city is taking shape.

We're connected up all the walkways all around the bay recently. And already it's become a favourite destination for Singaporeans as well as visitors.

Lots of them daytime, nighttime, all around the bay. And the bay is getting recognised all over the world as the icon of Singapore.

This is the YOG either Opening or Closing. Both ceremonies were held at Marina Bay Both were spectacular shows against this spectacular backdrop.

Here you see one of the items at the opening ceremony. I think we should congratulate the organisers and the performers and the creative minds behind the show.

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