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Lee Hsien Loong
Marina Bay is one of our most scenic spots, but it’s even better experienced onboard a sailboat! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It was all smooth sailing on Saturday as our able skippers, Singapore Sailing Federation CEO Lim Han Ee, SSF member Rupert Ong, and 2015 SEA Games Gold Medalist Daniella Ng Hui Min steered our SM40 sailboat around the Bay. Ho Ching and I took turns to do two races with sailors from @nus_singapore, @ntu_sg, @sgsmu and @singaporepoly. The young ones are definitely more adept sailors than we are! :) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It was great to take in the familiar sights of the Art Science Museum, Marina Bay Sands, and the Esplanade from the water! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My outing was courtesy of the DBS Sailing at the Bay programme. DBS started this to give the public the opportunity to explore Marina Bay and try out sailing for free. Do give it try! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My thanks to DBS and SSF for hosting us! ⛵– LHL ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ([1] Photo courtesy of howiephoto.com; [2,3] MCI Photos by Kenji Soon) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Lee Hsien Loong
The March school holidays are here again! I am sure you are looking forward to the short break, and deservedly so. Our Scouts will be spending their March holidays a little differently! @singaporescout has just kicked off their annual Scout Job Week. From now until 30 Mar, scouts across Singapore will be going to homes and offices to offer their help with small jobs and chores in return for donations. However you choose to spend your time, I hope you’ll make the most of it. :) Have a fulfilling break! – LHL (With a scout group I met in Marsiling last week. Have a good Job Week! / MCI Photo by Kenji Soon)
Lee Hsien Loong
Met Saxony Minister-President @michaelkretschmer yesterday. Relations between Saxony, Germany, and Singapore have grown steadily since my visit to Dresden in 2015, and it was good to take stock of what we have achieved. Education is an area where we can do more. Mr Kretschmer explained that many German tertiary institutions teach in English too, not only in German. He welcomed our students to consider pursuing their studies in Germany, or to spend a semester or two on exchange there, just as quite a few German students spend time in Singapore. Singapore has notable investments in Saxony, in aircraft engineering and solar energy. The SAF trains in the Oberlausitz Military Training Area in Saxony. We also have cultural exchanges: the Dresden Semperoper Ballet @semperoperballett is performing at the @Esplanadesingapore this weekend. Mr Kretschmer invited Ho Ching and me to last night’s performance. My congratulations to the company for their energetic and impeccable performance! You can still catch them tonight. There is much potential to deepen ties, and learn from each other in many fields. Happy to see our relationship continue to grow! – LHL (MCI Photos by Kenji Soon)
Lee Hsien Loong
Sat down yesterday for an interesting dialogue with the Owners Forum, an international group of family business owners. The members own large, multigenerational and global family enterprises. One participant asked: In ten years’ time, how would I measure Singapore’s success, socially and economically? I said I hoped that 10 years from now, we will still have the same spirit of wanting to go forth and do something, the same sense that we have to be better than others in order to be equal to others, the same instinct to help one other to move forward together. One warning indicator to watch out for: whether we have lowered our guard, and forgotten that as a small country living in a dangerous world, we will always be vulnerable, and must rely on our wits to make our living. We have lived in peace and prospered for half a century since independence. We must not let this seduce us into thinking that now we can relax, and take liberties. My thanks to the Owners Forum for inviting me to speak to them. – LHL (With Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, who moderated the dialogue. / MCI Photo by Clement)
Lee Hsien Loong
Visited Marsiling division yesterday at the invitation of @zaqym. Many residents were spending Sunday out and about at Marsiling Lane Market & Cooked Food Centre, Marsiling Park, and Fuchun Community Club. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Also had a dialogue session with grassroots leaders and students, where we spoke about various issues ranging from education, special needs, cost of living, and SkillsFuture. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thanks to Lawrence Wong, Zaqy Mohamad, Alex Yam and Ong Teng Koon for their hard work in taking care of Marsiling residents. For Zaqy, it is double duty as he is also looking after residents in Keat Hong. Hope that residents will continue to support Zaqy and his team as they continue to do good, do well, and do together to make Marsiling a better home! – LHL ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (MCI Photos by Kenji Soon; except for [4] Photos by me) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Lee Hsien Loong
Shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Mdm Tong Yek Xuan (唐玉璇), also known by her stage name Yu Xuan. I had just met her and her group 闲杂人等 - The ETC, on Friday, when they performed at a dinner I attended. She was a talented singer and accomplished songwriter. When not at her day job as a vocal coach, her passion for music would see her with her group busking in the heartlands, often at Hougang Mall. Due to her medical condition, she could not stand for long periods, and sang sitting on a chair or wheelchair. Singapore has lost a musical talent. My condolences to Yek Xuan’s family. – LHL (Photo by Alex Yam)
Lee Hsien Loong
Today is #InternationalWomensDay. We all play a part in building Singapore, but women have a vital role: they are often the primary caregivers, prioritising their families over their careers or personal aspirations. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The #SGBicentennial CPF top-up that was announced during the Budget debate will help many homemakers who could not build up their retirement funds. This top-up of up to $1,000 will benefit 300,000 Singaporeans aged 50 to 64 (60% of whom are women!), who have less than $60,000 of retirement savings in their CPF accounts. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ MOM also recently announced measures to support women in the workplace. For example, we increased the budget for the Work Life grant from $30 million to $100 million, to support companies offering flexible working arrangements for their employees. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The adage is true: Behind every successful nation, is its women. :) Once again, a happy International Women’s Day to everyone! – LHL ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (Photo by me) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Lee Hsien Loong
The @nationallibrarysg??did a mini-exhibition in Parliament House of rare historical materials about early Singapore from its collection. Several of the items piqued my interest because they were uniquely Singaporean – a football guide written in Jawi (a modified Arabic script used for Malay), and a Hokkien-Malay dictionary. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This page explaining a 2-3-5 formation caught my eye. The various player positions such as “right back” and “left back” were annotated in English and Jawi. The Jawi was not just a translation into Malay of the meaning of the English terms, but a transliteration of the English sounds, i.e. the original English words, but spelt out using the Jawi alphabet, followed by the translations "belakang kanan" and "belakang kiri"! (Even the modern Malay terms, “bek kanan” and “bek kiri”, use a transliteration of the word “back”.) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Parallel to the football guide in Jawi was this glossary of Malay words for Hokkien speakers. Malay words were transliterated into Chinese characters (as pronounced in Hokkien). For example, 回家 (reading from right to left) had Chinese characters below it that approximated the sounds of the Malay equivalent (balik rumah). Can you figure out the other translations? :) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The exhibition will be open to the public this weekend at the National Library Building. Glad that NLB is making Singapore’s rich history more accessible with these glimpses from our past. A great way to mark  #SGBicentennial! – LHL ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (MCI Photos by Clement)
Lee Hsien Loong
Had a bit of fun with https://Colourise.sg. It’s a free website that lets you upload old black and white photos and colourise them instantly. Colourise was developed @govtechsg engineers for an internal hackathon. It uses machine learning and AI, and was developed specifically for old Singaporean photos. Seeing old photos transformed into beautiful colour is quite astounding. I tried it out on an old photo, taken when I was at @outwardboundsg. It worked remarkably well. I’m glad the app was released in time for #SGBicentennial. Colourising old photos is a good way to bring history vividly to life. Do try it out on your old photos. – LHL ([Left] Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore; [Right] After colourisation)
Lee Hsien Loong
Had a good meeting with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces @mohamedbinzayed yesterday. We last met nearly ten years ago. Usually foreign dignitaries come to the Istana, but I received the Crown Prince at Parliament House for practical reasons, as the Ministers involved were in Parliament for the Budget debate. Afterwards, we took a walk along the Singapore River on the way to dinner. I showed him how the skyline had changed over the last decade. Many new buildings have been added over the years, but some icons remain, like the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles. He picked a good time to visit, in our Bicentennial year! We have friendly and strong bilateral ties with the UAE and look forward to expanding our cooperation! – LHL (MCI Photos by Fyrol)
Lee Hsien Loong
#ChineseNewYear may be over, but the festive mood is still alive and well in Ang Mo Kio - Hougang! A street parade is a great way to bring excitement, fun (and a little noise) to the heartlands! Hougang Avenue 9 was closed off for a big neighbourhood party yesterday evening. Happy to see many residents enjoying watching the parade performances – I even spotted some watching from their homes! Thanks to @darryldavid_sg and the other grassroots advisers who organised this fun event. And a special thank you to all the performers! It was a very enjoyable evening for all. – LHL ([1, 2, 3, 4] Photos by me; [5] MCI Photo by Fyrol)
Lee Hsien Loong
The ‘A’ Level results were released today. For many, this will be your last time in a school uniform. Many young men would have started their NS. Some of you will be headed to university or polytechnic. Others may decide to take a break before embarking on your next step. As you head into the next phase of your life, take time to reflect on the friends, teachers and events that have moulded you. There is much more to look forward to, so carpe diem (seize the day) and never stop striving! – LHL ([1,2] Release of ‘A’ Level results at River Valley High School. / MCI Photo by Chwee; [3] Release of ‘A’ Level results at Temasek Junior College. / MCI Photo by Fyrol)
Lee Hsien Loong
My best try at capturing last night’s #supermoon. I’m sure many of you managed to snap better photos! Yesterday’s Chap Goh Mei moon was the biggest full moon of the year – surely, an apt way to mark the end of the #ChineseNewYear! It brought to mind a favourite poem of mine, by 苏轼: 明月几时有,把酒问青天。 不知天上宫阙,今夕是何年? 我欲乘风归去,又恐琼楼玉宇, 高处不胜寒。 起舞弄清影,何似在人间! 转朱阁,低绮户,照无眠。 不应有恨,何事长向别时圆? 人有悲欢离合,月有阴晴圆缺, 此事古难全。 但愿人长久,千里共婵娟。 – LHL (Photo by me)
Lee Hsien Loong
Today is Chap Goh Mei, the 15th and last day of the #ChineseNewYear celebrations. Met former @papsingapore MPs at our annual reunion lunch and lo hei. They have served for many years, and many continue to be active in the community. Grateful for their friendship and camaraderie. Wishing everyone a warm gathering with family and friends, and hoping we get a good view of the full moon tonight. Happy Chap Goh Mei to all! 祝大家元宵节快乐, 幸福“元元”而来,生活“元元”满满! – LHL (MCI Photos by Fyrol)
Lee Hsien Loong
Heng Swee Keat delivered the #SGBudget2019 today. It is a strategic plan to build a strong and united Singapore. We are investing to keep Singapore safe and secure. We are restructuring to grow a vibrant and innovative economy. We are nurturing a more caring and inclusive society, and building a global city and a home for all. You can find out more information at the SG Budget website: www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/budget_2019 Ministries will give details on the various initiatives and measures for businesses, individuals, and households during the upcoming Budget and Committee of Supply debates in Parliament. I hope you will follow the debates, to understand the Government’s plans to build a better home and future for Singaporeans. – LHL (MCI Photo by Chwee)
Lee Hsien Loong
The downpour yesterday afternoon did not dampen spirits at my #ChineseNewYear Garden Party at the Istana! Happy to host 4,200 grassroots advisors, leaders, volunteers, and community leaders together with Cabinet members. I hope everyone had a festive afternoon filled with music, fun, and delicious hawker fare. My sincere thanks to our grassroots advisors, leaders, and volunteers for their tireless service. Their unceasing efforts and good work with the various communities help make Singapore a better home for all. Thank you as well to @pafrenz staff, the performers, and interest groups for making the party enjoyable for all, and also to the hawkers who filled our bellies with their yummy food. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead! 🍊🍊– LHL (MCI Photos by Fyrol)
Lee Hsien Loong
It was a riot of colours and non-stop energy at #Chingay2019! This year’s Bicentennial edition showcased spectacular performances and floats that evoked nostalgia and expressed our dreams and aspirations for Singapore’s future. A big thank you to @pafrenz, all the volunteers, performers, and participants who put in so much time and effort to deliver a sensational performance! The Chingay floats will be headed to the heartlands over the next few weeks. You can find out more at https://www.chingay.org.sg/. – LHL ([1,2,3,6] Photos by me, [4,10] MCI Photos by Clement, [5,7,8,9] MCI Photos by Chwee)
Lee Hsien Loong
Held my yearly Chap Goh Mei dinner with MPs, community leaders, and guests at the Istana last night. The actual Chap Goh Mei, or the 15th and last day of #ChineseNewYear isn’t till next Tuesday. However Heng Swee Keat will be making the 2019 Budget Statement in Parliament on Monday, 18 February, so best to celebrate early as next week will be a very busy period. The dinner gathering is a good opportunity for me to speak candidly with community and business leaders, explain the realities we face and why the Government has to do what we do. – LHL (MCI Photo by Fyrol)
Lee Hsien Loong
MacRitchie Reservoir is a beautiful place for a romantic #jalanjalan in the evening. Happy Valentine’s Day to all! 💕 – LHL (Photo by me)
Lee Hsien Loong
Delighted that the European Parliament has voted to approve the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement, and the EU-Singapore Partnership Agreement. The EU is our largest investor and a major trading partner. The FTA will give Singapore and the EU better access to each other’s markets, and boost investment and business opportunities. We hope it will also lead to an EU-ASEAN FTA and promote cooperation between both regions. My thanks to the teams involved for their hard work and perseverance over the past nine years on this project! – LHL (At the signing of the agreements in Brussels last October. / MCI Photo by Chwee)
Lee Hsien Loong
Met an old friend today. Nigerian Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari and I last met more than a decade ago, when he was the UN Special Rapporteur to Myanmar. Much has happened since then, and we had a good exchange on developments in our respective parts of the world. We have been steadily growing our bilateral ties. Many Nigerian officials have come for the Singapore Cooperation Programme, in public administration and economic development. We also have the biennial Singapore-Sub-Saharan Africa High-Level Ministerial Exchange Visits, and meet often at international fora. Singapore and Nigeria are continents and oceans apart but that does not deter us from promoting cooperation and doing more together. – LHL ([Top] MCI Photo by Fyrol; [Bottom] The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction)
Lee Hsien Loong
Today is 人日 (rén rì), the 7th day of the lunar calendar. It is believed that humankind was created on this day, and so it is celebrated as ‘Everyone’s Birthday’. Different countries celebrate Ren Ri in various ways, but in Singapore, we celebrate by tossing yusheng with friends and family. Happy Birthday to everyone! 祝大家人日快乐! :) – LHL (Photo by me)
Lee Hsien Loong
Had a good time celebrating with Teck Ghee residents at our #ChineseNewYear dinner last night. Hope everyone enjoyed the good food and camaraderie! I spoke briefly about how Teck Ghee residents have benefited from national policies in healthcare, education, housing, and transport, just like residents of other constituencies all over Singapore. I also paid tribute to the Merdeka Generation and thanked them for their hard work and sacrifice in building Singapore. As the Merdeka Generation are gradually stepping down and letting the younger ones succeed them, my team is also passing the baton to a new team of leaders. I hope that the new team will bond with the younger generation of Singaporeans, and that we will stay united defending our interests and working together to make Singapore a better home and country. Once again, a happy and prosperous Year of the Pig to everyone. Huat ah! 再次祝大家猪年吉祥,身体健康,心想事成,万事如意! – LHL ([1-2] MCI Photo by Chwee; [3] Photo by Lee Bee Wah)
Lee Hsien Loong
Hosted my annual #ChineseNewYear open house for grassroots leaders and volunteers from Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West yesterday. Happy to catch up with veteran volunteers from the neighbourhoods and meet the new members of the teams as well! Thank you all for your continued dedicated service to our communities! Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous year ahead! 恭祝大家新年快乐,诸事如意! 🍊🍊 – LHL (MCI photos by Chwee)
Lee Hsien Loong
Tens of thousands of passengers departing from @changiairport each day enjoy good meals on their flight, because SATS Inflight Catering Centre staff are doing their jobs today and every day. I visited the team this morning to thank them for their hard work and wish them a happy #ChineseNewYear. Organisations like SATS contribute to making Singapore a major travel hub. But it takes a collective effort from everyone, management and workers, to keep things running smoothly, whether it’s Chinese New Year or any other day. – LHL (MCI Photos by Fyrol) @ntucsingapore
Lee Hsien Loong
Happy #ChineseNewYear everyone! May your year be prosperous and abundant in health and happiness! 祝大家猪年大吉,诸事圆满! 🍊🍊 – LHL
Lee Hsien Loong
Many of us will join our families for a sumptuous reunion dinner tonight. But for the Police Coast Guard, the work of patrolling our waters continues 24/7. This is a job that must be done, and I am thankful for their service so that the rest of us can enjoy a peaceful and safe Chinese New Year. I visited them at the Police Coast Guard HQ in Pulau Brani this morning to hand out a few CNY goodies, and convey our thanks for their constant vigilance. – LHL @singaporepoliceforce (PMO Video by Alex Qiu and Chiez How)
Lee Hsien Loong
@riverhongbao is back at The Float @ Marina Bay! At last night’s launch, we enjoyed local and international cultural performances, beautiful lanterns, and of course, the fireworks! Also saw many visitors having fun at the carnival game booths and queueing up for goodies at the food stalls. It’s been 33 years since the first River Hongbao back in 1987, and it is amazing how far it’s come. Many thanks to the organisers, sponsors, and volunteers for making it such a fun and festive experience! Do head down to catch the different international fireworks displays that will take place for three more nights. – LHL #ChineseNewYear #RiverHongbao2019 ([1,2] MCI Photos by Chwee, [3,4,7] MCI Photos by Fyrol, [5,6] Photos by me)
Lee Hsien Loong
Two days shy of #ChineseNewYear. Teck Ghee market was bustling with shoppers and families enjoying breakfast! We had recently upgraded the Market and Food Centre at Blk 341. The tables and chairs can now sit more residents, and the anti-slip tiles are safer for our elderly. Before visiting the market, I joined my grassroots team to give out hongbaos and goodie bags to needy seniors at Teck Ghee CC. We will continue to make our neighbourhoods a comfortable place for our community. Wishing all Teck Ghee residents a prosperous Year of the Pig! – LHL (MCI Photos by Fyrol)
Lee Hsien Loong
Hands that Shaped the Nation. Born between 1950 and 1959, the Merdeka Generation (most of whom are in their 60s today) grew up during the tumultuous 1950s and early 1960s. They witnessed our struggle for self determination, and the events that led to this unexpectedly independent republic. We are honouring the Merdeka Generation for their hard work and sacrifice, which contributed to building the Singapore of today, and making Merdeka – independence – a success. For more information, visit https://www.merdekageneration.sg/ – LHL (@gov.sg Video)
Lee Hsien Loong
Happy to join 200 Merdeka Generation (MG) Singaporeans at @gardensbythebay this morning, to pay tribute to their efforts in shaping Singapore. The MG story is closely intertwined with the Singapore Story. The Pioneer Generation laid the foundation, and the Merdeka Generation built upon it. They helped Singapore go from Third World to First, in just one generation! From global economic crises to SARS and terrorism, the MG have helped us weather the storms, and Singapore is the stronger for it. There are about 500,000 in the #MerdekaGeneration, many in their 60s. The Merdeka Generation Package, which I announced last year, is a modest gesture of our appreciation for all their contributions. Ministers Heng Swee Keat and Gan Kim Yong will be announcing the details in Parliament later this month. Thank you for helping to shape Singapore! – LHL (MCI Photos by Chwee)
Lee Hsien Loong
Only a few days left in the Year of the Dog 🐶. Thought it would be apt to share some photos I took of our four-legged friends and their human companions during my usual #jalanjalan. – LHL
Lee Hsien Loong
Here is an excerpt of my speech launching the @sgbicentennial on Monday. I explained why 1819 was a crucial turning point in our history, and why our bicentennial is worth commemorating. We became an independent republic in 1965, but our history stretches back much longer. Without that broader historical experience, 1965 would not have happened, and Singapore today would certainly be a very different place. The full speech is available on the PMO YouTube channel (click on the link in my profile). – LHL #SGBicentennial (PMO Video by Alex Qiu and Chiez How / Video footage: National Archives of Singapore)
Lee Hsien Loong
Helped launch a weather balloon during my visit to the Centre for Climate Research Singapore yesterday. The balloon collects data for local and global weather records twice a day. Climate change is a serious threat, with far-reaching implications on our society and the world. We are constantly exploring ways to protect Singapore from the effects of climate change. At the heart of these efforts is CCRS. Established in 2013 under the Meteorological Service Singapore, CCRS’s research has helped us better understand our climate system and develop long-term climate projections for Singapore. Climate modelling for our tropical region is critical. It informs our efforts to strengthen infrastructure, to adapt to warmer temperatures and higher sea levels. CCRS is also working on a model to improve predictions of heavy rain in Singapore. This will be useful for our airports, public transport, and the public too. We are doing our part in global efforts to tackle climate change and protect ourselves from its impact. But it will take more than the government to make a difference. Everyone can play a part – whether by bringing your own bag or not wasting water and electricity. – LHL (PMO Video by Alvin Chong)
Lee Hsien Loong
Had lunch with union leaders today. We discussed how their industries are doing and significant trends they are seeing. We also spoke on how companies, the government, and unions can help workers understand and prepare for the challenges ahead. My thanks to the union leaders for their hard work helping workers. In the face of global economic uncertainty, we must be united to stay competitive and keep our livelihoods. – LHL (MCI Photo by LH Goh)
Lee Hsien Loong
Kicked off the @sgbicentennial yesterday! We are commemorating the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival in Singapore in 1819. This was a crucial turning point in our history that set us on a trajectory leading us to where we are today. Raffles made Singapore a free port. This attracted immigrants from the region and beyond. Trade linked us to the archipelago around us, and the wider world. 1819 marked the beginning of an open, outward-looking, and multicultural Singapore. Our forefathers did not come here with the intention of staying, but to earn a living and support families back home. But over time, as they slogged, suffered through and survived WWII, and then were swept up in the worldwide wave of nationalism, anti-colonialism, and struggle for self determination, many decided to stay and settle here. Along the way on this difficult, winding journey, they began to think of this place as home, and themselves as Singaporeans. Without 1819, we may never have launched on the path to nationhood as we know it today. This is why the Singapore Bicentennial is worth commemorating. Many activities and commemorative events are planned to mark our bicentennial year. I hope that these will inspire you to discover more about ourselves and our past. This is also an opportunity to reflect on how this nation came into being, and to think of how we can move forward together. – LHL #SGBicentennial (MCI Photos by LH Goh [1,3,4] and Betty Chua [2,5,6])
Lee Hsien Loong
Honoured to officially open @wgeylangserai yesterday evening! It has been a long journey since I announced the project in 2011. I have been keeping a close eye on it. My thanks to the government agencies, community and private sector groups, advisers and residents who have worked together to make WGS a reality. WGS will be a landmark in Geylang Serai, one of Singapore’s oldest Malay settlements and a key part of our national heritage. It will strengthen the cultural identity of the area, and reflect the diverse interests and continuing progress of the Malay community. I hope it will also bring together and serve people of all races, and so strengthen our multi-racial, multi-religious society. – LHL (MCI Photos by Betty Chua)
Lee Hsien Loong
Met Sri Lankan President @maithripalas in the Istana today. He had spoken at the 3rd Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific earlier. We last met a year ago in Colombo where we witnessed the signing of a free trade agreement between Singapore and Sri Lanka, granting companies from both sides better access to each other's markets across many sectors. Happy to return the warm hospitality he extended to us. Singapore and Sri Lanka have enjoyed warm ties over the years. Look forward to growing our strong bilateral relations and economic cooperation. 🇸🇬🇱🇰 – LHL (MCI Photo by LH Goh)
Lee Hsien Loong
A @straits_times article last week reported that travel site @bigseventravel named Singapore the 10th-most Instagrammable country in the world. Quite an unusual honour! Their list of the most Instagrammable spots in Singapore included the @artsciencemuseumsg, Helix Bridge, the Cloud Forest at @gardensbythebay, @chijmes.sg, the @marinabaysands infinity pool, Bugis, and Koon Seng Road. These are scenic spots, to be sure; I have taken photos at some of them myself. But there are many more places in Singapore that offer their own beauty and charm. What are your go-to Instagram spots? – LHL (Photos by me)
Lee Hsien Loong
Today is #Thaipusam. During this 2-day festival of thanksgiving, devotees carry milk pots and kavadis in procession to seek blessings and express gratitude. Thaipusam is a vibrant, yet solemn, festival. Devotees prepare for it well in advance, purifying their minds and bodies to fulfil their vows. I wish all Hindu devotees a fulfilling and meaningful Thaipusam! – LHL (SPH Photo © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.)
Lee Hsien Loong
Always a pleasure to meet with old friends. Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visits Singapore fairly often, but her schedule is usually packed, so it was good to sit down and catch up over lunch. Princess Sirindhorn is here for the Global Young Scientists Summit 2019. Look forward to visiting Thailand later this year for the #ASEAN Summits! – LHL (MCI Photo by Betty Chua)
Lee Hsien Loong
How fortunate we are that 40 years ago, Dr Goh Keng Swee founded the @singaporesymphonyorchestra! Our Founding Fathers believed that a young nation needed to look beyond pressing economic issues, and nurtured in Singaporeans an appreciation for culture and the arts. And thus, the SSO came to be. 40 years on, the SSO is a thriving fixture in our cultural scene. Yesterday’s anniversary gala concert was an emotional and joyous tribute to the SSO's inaugural performance in January 1979. They played 2 pieces from that very first concert – Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “The Emperor”. They also played Leong Yoon Pin’s Dayong Sampan Overture, the first Singaporean composition they ever played (in 1980). The year-long celebration continues with free performances around Singapore. I hope you will catch some of them, and hear for yourself why the SSO enjoys such acclaim both here and abroad. Happy 40th Anniversary, SSO! I am confident you will continue to scale greater heights! – LHL (MCI Photos by LH Goh)
Lee Hsien Loong
Caught a group pic at the end of our 2-day Cabinet retreat with those who were still around. We have a full agenda ahead. Aside from domestic matters such as the coming Budget, government policies and initiatives, we also face many uncertainties in the global economy as well as regional developments. The future of Singapore depends on the government and the people working closely together. I hope you will take time to follow the issues, understand our place in the world, and contribute to our nation in your own way. – LHL (MCI Photo by Betty Chua)
Lee Hsien Loong
2009 vs 2019: I kid myself that not much has changed after 10 years, other than my hair colour and hair line! My hair is greyer and thinner, but I’m still enjoying what I do. :) – LHL #10YearChallenge
 #MerdekaGeneration (L: Photo from Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore / R: MCI Photo by Betty Chua)
Lee Hsien Loong
Happy to welcome Czech Republic PM Andrej Babiš to Singapore! We celebrated 25 years of diplomatic relations with the Czech Republic last year, but our links are much older. E.g. in Peranakan culture, the tiny glass beads used to make the intricate kasot manek, or beaded slippers, were imported from Bohemia, present-day Czech Republic. The well-loved Bata shoes also took their first steps in the Czech Republic. Generations of Singaporean children wore white @batasingapore canvas shoes to school, including me! PM Babiš brought a large business delegation with him, and I hope we will continue to find new opportunities for business with each other, as well as build up our people-to-people ties. – LHL 🇸🇬🇨🇿 ([1,2] MCI Photos by Betty Chua; [3] Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore)
Lee Hsien Loong
Today is the first day of the Tamil harvest festival of Pongal, marking the beginning of the auspicious month of Thai. During the festival, milk is boiled in a pot until it overflows, symbolising abundance and prosperity. Wishing all those celebrating a பொங்கலோ பொங்கல்! May the season bring you many new opportunities! – LHL (Photo: © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction)
Lee Hsien Loong
All the best to everyone receiving your 'O' Level results today! Before you get your results, know that however you performed, you got here with the help and support of family, friends and teachers, over many years. Do remember to pay it forward in your own ways. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for you, with many possibilities ahead. I wish you all the best! – LHL (The future is bright! / Photo by me)
Lee Hsien Loong
I've opened quite a few Community Clubs recently, but I was particularly delighted to open the upgraded Teck Ghee CC this morning! :) The old CC was popular and well-used, but we were running out of space to accommodate all the activities we wanted to offer. Whether you’re into dance, music, cooking, or crafts, there will be something for everyone at a nearby CC! It’s also a great way to learn new things, which is why I’m glad the Central Singapore Community Development Council is working with us to conduct SkillsFuture Advice workshops, some of which were on when I dropped by today. CCs play a pivotal role. They are more than activity centres. They are hubs where residents meet, make friends, and bond. They are cornerstones of the community, so residents always have a home away from home! – LHL (PMO Video by Alex Qiu and Chiez How)
Lee Hsien Loong
Visited the @lifelonglearninginstitute (LLI) yesterday to see first-hand how we are helping workers find new jobs and training them to transit from old jobs to new. Glad to meet many workers, employers, and staff at the LLI. @workforcesingapore is doing good work to help workers. 30,000 jobseekers secured jobs last year through Adapt & Grow programmes. WSG will keep on doing more to help workers – especially those yet to find jobs. We cannot stop the changes happening in the global economy. We have to adapt to and grow with the change. With workers and employers working together with WSG and LLI, we can build a stronger, more productive and inclusive workforce, one better prepared for the challenges ahead. – LHL (MCI Photos by LH Goh)
Lee Hsien Loong
Spent the weekend celebrating our Teck Ghee students, presenting 7th Moon and Edusave awards that recognise their achievements in academics, CCA, community service, and leadership. These students have worked hard. The awards not only affirm that, but also their good character and how they help others around them. For Singapore to do well, we need more than well-educated citizens and well-trained workers. Success depends not only on knowledge gained, but also on intangible and essential values such as care and concern, willingness to help others and contribute to society. This is why we are making far-reaching changes to our education system. We are emphasising character and values, reducing emphasis on academic results and freeing up time for deeper and more engaged learning. Congratulations to all who have received the bursary and scholarships! I hope that this will inspire you to work even harder, and to continue to keep up the good work! – LHL ([1] and [2] MCI Photos by Clement, [3] MCI Photo by LH Goh)
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    Marina Bay is one of our most scenic spots, but it’s even better experienced onboard a sailboat! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It was all smooth sailing on Saturday as our able skippers, Singapore Sailing Federation CEO Lim Han Ee, SSF member Rupert Ong, and 2015 SEA Games Gold Medalist Daniella Ng Hui Min steered our SM40 sailboat around the Bay. Ho Ching and I took turns to do two races with sailors from @nus_singapore, @ntu_sg, @sgsmu and @singaporepoly. The young ones are definitely more adept sailors than we are! :) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It was great to take in the familiar sights of the Art Science Museum, Marina Bay Sands, and the Esplanade from the water! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My outing was courtesy of the DBS Sailing at the Bay programme. DBS started this to give the public the opportunity to explore Marina Bay and try out sailing for free. Do give it try! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My thanks to DBS and SSF for hosting us! ⛵– LHL ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ([1] Photo courtesy of howiephoto.com; [2,3] MCI Photos by Kenji Soon) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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    The March school holidays are here again! I am sure you are looking forward to the short break, and deservedly so. Our Scouts will be spending their March holidays a little differently! @singaporescout has just kicked off their annual Scout Job Week. From now until 30 Mar, scouts across Singapore will be going to homes and offices to offer their help with small jobs and chores in return for donations. However you choose to spend your time, I hope you’ll make the most of it. :) Have a fulfilling break! – LHL (With a scout group I met in Marsiling last week. Have a good Job Week! / MCI Photo by Kenji Soon)
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    Met Saxony Minister-President @michaelkretschmer yesterday. Relations between Saxony, Germany, and Singapore have grown steadily since my visit to Dresden in 2015, and it was good to take stock of what we have achieved. Education is an area where we can do more. Mr Kretschmer explained that many German tertiary institutions teach in English too, not only in German. He welcomed our students to consider pursuing their studies in Germany, or to spend a semester or two on exchange there, just as quite a few German students spend time in Singapore. Singapore has notable investments in Saxony, in aircraft engineering and solar energy. The SAF trains in the Oberlausitz Military Training Area in Saxony. We also have cultural exchanges: the Dresden Semperoper Ballet @semperoperballett is performing at the @Esplanadesingapore this weekend. Mr Kretschmer invited Ho Ching and me to last night’s performance. My congratulations to the company for their energetic and impeccable performance! You can still catch them tonight. There is much potential to deepen ties, and learn from each other in many fields. Happy to see our relationship continue to grow! – LHL (MCI Photos by Kenji Soon)
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    Sat down yesterday for an interesting dialogue with the Owners Forum, an international group of family business owners. The members own large, multigenerational and global family enterprises. One participant asked: In ten years’ time, how would I measure Singapore’s success, socially and economically? I said I hoped that 10 years from now, we will still have the same spirit of wanting to go forth and do something, the same sense that we have to be better than others in order to be equal to others, the same instinct to help one other to move forward together. One warning indicator to watch out for: whether we have lowered our guard, and forgotten that as a small country living in a dangerous world, we will always be vulnerable, and must rely on our wits to make our living. We have lived in peace and prospered for half a century since independence. We must not let this seduce us into thinking that now we can relax, and take liberties. My thanks to the Owners Forum for inviting me to speak to them. – LHL (With Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, who moderated the dialogue. / MCI Photo by Clement)
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    Visited Marsiling division yesterday at the invitation of @zaqym. Many residents were spending Sunday out and about at Marsiling Lane Market & Cooked Food Centre, Marsiling Park, and Fuchun Community Club. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Also had a dialogue session with grassroots leaders and students, where we spoke about various issues ranging from education, special needs, cost of living, and SkillsFuture. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thanks to Lawrence Wong, Zaqy Mohamad, Alex Yam and Ong Teng Koon for their hard work in taking care of Marsiling residents. For Zaqy, it is double duty as he is also looking after residents in Keat Hong. Hope that residents will continue to support Zaqy and his team as they continue to do good, do well, and do together to make Marsiling a better home! – LHL ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (MCI Photos by Kenji Soon; except for [4] Photos by me) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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    Shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Mdm Tong Yek Xuan (唐玉璇), also known by her stage name Yu Xuan. I had just met her and her group 闲杂人等 - The ETC, on Friday, when they performed at a dinner I attended. She was a talented singer and accomplished songwriter. When not at her day job as a vocal coach, her passion for music would see her with her group busking in the heartlands, often at Hougang Mall. Due to her medical condition, she could not stand for long periods, and sang sitting on a chair or wheelchair. Singapore has lost a musical talent. My condolences to Yek Xuan’s family. – LHL (Photo by Alex Yam)
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    Today is #InternationalWomensDay. We all play a part in building Singapore, but women have a vital role: they are often the primary caregivers, prioritising their families over their careers or personal aspirations. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The #SGBicentennial CPF top-up that was announced during the Budget debate will help many homemakers who could not build up their retirement funds. This top-up of up to $1,000 will benefit 300,000 Singaporeans aged 50 to 64 (60% of whom are women!), who have less than $60,000 of retirement savings in their CPF accounts. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ MOM also recently announced measures to support women in the workplace. For example, we increased the budget for the Work Life grant from $30 million to $100 million, to support companies offering flexible working arrangements for their employees. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The adage is true: Behind every successful nation, is its women. :) Once again, a happy International Women’s Day to everyone! – LHL ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (Photo by me) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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    The @nationallibrarysg??did a mini-exhibition in Parliament House of rare historical materials about early Singapore from its collection. Several of the items piqued my interest because they were uniquely Singaporean – a football guide written in Jawi (a modified Arabic script used for Malay), and a Hokkien-Malay dictionary. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This page explaining a 2-3-5 formation caught my eye. The various player positions such as “right back” and “left back” were annotated in English and Jawi. The Jawi was not just a translation into Malay of the meaning of the English terms, but a transliteration of the English sounds, i.e. the original English words, but spelt out using the Jawi alphabet, followed by the translations "belakang kanan" and "belakang kiri"! (Even the modern Malay terms, “bek kanan” and “bek kiri”, use a transliteration of the word “back”.) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Parallel to the football guide in Jawi was this glossary of Malay words for Hokkien speakers. Malay words were transliterated into Chinese characters (as pronounced in Hokkien). For example, 回家 (reading from right to left) had Chinese characters below it that approximated the sounds of the Malay equivalent (balik rumah). Can you figure out the other translations? :) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The exhibition will be open to the public this weekend at the National Library Building. Glad that NLB is making Singapore’s rich history more accessible with these glimpses from our past. A great way to mark  #SGBicentennial! – LHL ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (MCI Photos by Clement)
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    Had a bit of fun with https://Colourise.sg. It’s a free website that lets you upload old black and white photos and colourise them instantly. Colourise was developed @govtechsg engineers for an internal hackathon. It uses machine learning and AI, and was developed specifically for old Singaporean photos. Seeing old photos transformed into beautiful colour is quite astounding. I tried it out on an old photo, taken when I was at @outwardboundsg. It worked remarkably well. I’m glad the app was released in time for #SGBicentennial. Colourising old photos is a good way to bring history vividly to life. Do try it out on your old photos. – LHL ([Left] Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore; [Right] After colourisation)
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    Had a good meeting with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces @mohamedbinzayed yesterday. We last met nearly ten years ago. Usually foreign dignitaries come to the Istana, but I received the Crown Prince at Parliament House for practical reasons, as the Ministers involved were in Parliament for the Budget debate. Afterwards, we took a walk along the Singapore River on the way to dinner. I showed him how the skyline had changed over the last decade. Many new buildings have been added over the years, but some icons remain, like the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles. He picked a good time to visit, in our Bicentennial year! We have friendly and strong bilateral ties with the UAE and look forward to expanding our cooperation! – LHL (MCI Photos by Fyrol)
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    #ChineseNewYear may be over, but the festive mood is still alive and well in Ang Mo Kio - Hougang! A street parade is a great way to bring excitement, fun (and a little noise) to the heartlands! Hougang Avenue 9 was closed off for a big neighbourhood party yesterday evening. Happy to see many residents enjoying watching the parade performances – I even spotted some watching from their homes! Thanks to @darryldavid_sg and the other grassroots advisers who organised this fun event. And a special thank you to all the performers! It was a very enjoyable evening for all. – LHL ([1, 2, 3, 4] Photos by me; [5] MCI Photo by Fyrol)
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    The ‘A’ Level results were released today. For many, this will be your last time in a school uniform. Many young men would have started their NS. Some of you will be headed to university or polytechnic. Others may decide to take a break before embarking on your next step. As you head into the next phase of your life, take time to reflect on the friends, teachers and events that have moulded you. There is much more to look forward to, so carpe diem (seize the day) and never stop striving! – LHL ([1,2] Release of ‘A’ Level results at River Valley High School. / MCI Photo by Chwee; [3] Release of ‘A’ Level results at Temasek Junior College. / MCI Photo by Fyrol)
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    My best try at capturing last night’s #supermoon. I’m sure many of you managed to snap better photos! Yesterday’s Chap Goh Mei moon was the biggest full moon of the year – surely, an apt way to mark the end of the #ChineseNewYear! It brought to mind a favourite poem of mine, by 苏轼: 明月几时有,把酒问青天。 不知天上宫阙,今夕是何年? 我欲乘风归去,又恐琼楼玉宇, 高处不胜寒。 起舞弄清影,何似在人间! 转朱阁,低绮户,照无眠。 不应有恨,何事长向别时圆? 人有悲欢离合,月有阴晴圆缺, 此事古难全。 但愿人长久,千里共婵娟。 – LHL (Photo by me)
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    Today is Chap Goh Mei, the 15th and last day of the #ChineseNewYear celebrations. Met former @papsingapore MPs at our annual reunion lunch and lo hei. They have served for many years, and many continue to be active in the community. Grateful for their friendship and camaraderie. Wishing everyone a warm gathering with family and friends, and hoping we get a good view of the full moon tonight. Happy Chap Goh Mei to all! 祝大家元宵节快乐, 幸福“元元”而来,生活“元元”满满! – LHL (MCI Photos by Fyrol)
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    Heng Swee Keat delivered the #SGBudget2019 today. It is a strategic plan to build a strong and united Singapore. We are investing to keep Singapore safe and secure. We are restructuring to grow a vibrant and innovative economy. We are nurturing a more caring and inclusive society, and building a global city and a home for all. You can find out more information at the SG Budget website: www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/budget_2019 Ministries will give details on the various initiatives and measures for businesses, individuals, and households during the upcoming Budget and Committee of Supply debates in Parliament. I hope you will follow the debates, to understand the Government’s plans to build a better home and future for Singaporeans. – LHL (MCI Photo by Chwee)
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    The downpour yesterday afternoon did not dampen spirits at my #ChineseNewYear Garden Party at the Istana! Happy to host 4,200 grassroots advisors, leaders, volunteers, and community leaders together with Cabinet members. I hope everyone had a festive afternoon filled with music, fun, and delicious hawker fare. My sincere thanks to our grassroots advisors, leaders, and volunteers for their tireless service. Their unceasing efforts and good work with the various communities help make Singapore a better home for all. Thank you as well to @pafrenz staff, the performers, and interest groups for making the party enjoyable for all, and also to the hawkers who filled our bellies with their yummy food. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead! 🍊🍊– LHL (MCI Photos by Fyrol)
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    It was a riot of colours and non-stop energy at #Chingay2019! This year’s Bicentennial edition showcased spectacular performances and floats that evoked nostalgia and expressed our dreams and aspirations for Singapore’s future. A big thank you to @pafrenz, all the volunteers, performers, and participants who put in so much time and effort to deliver a sensational performance! The Chingay floats will be headed to the heartlands over the next few weeks. You can find out more at https://www.chingay.org.sg/. – LHL ([1,2,3,6] Photos by me, [4,10] MCI Photos by Clement, [5,7,8,9] MCI Photos by Chwee)
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    Held my yearly Chap Goh Mei dinner with MPs, community leaders, and guests at the Istana last night. The actual Chap Goh Mei, or the 15th and last day of #ChineseNewYear isn’t till next Tuesday. However Heng Swee Keat will be making the 2019 Budget Statement in Parliament on Monday, 18 February, so best to celebrate early as next week will be a very busy period. The dinner gathering is a good opportunity for me to speak candidly with community and business leaders, explain the realities we face and why the Government has to do what we do. – LHL (MCI Photo by Fyrol)
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    MacRitchie Reservoir is a beautiful place for a romantic #jalanjalan in the evening. Happy Valentine’s Day to all! 💕 – LHL (Photo by me)
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    Delighted that the European Parliament has voted to approve the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement, and the EU-Singapore Partnership Agreement. The EU is our largest investor and a major trading partner. The FTA will give Singapore and the EU better access to each other’s markets, and boost investment and business opportunities. We hope it will also lead to an EU-ASEAN FTA and promote cooperation between both regions. My thanks to the teams involved for their hard work and perseverance over the past nine years on this project! – LHL (At the signing of the agreements in Brussels last October. / MCI Photo by Chwee)
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    Met an old friend today. Nigerian Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari and I last met more than a decade ago, when he was the UN Special Rapporteur to Myanmar. Much has happened since then, and we had a good exchange on developments in our respective parts of the world. We have been steadily growing our bilateral ties. Many Nigerian officials have come for the Singapore Cooperation Programme, in public administration and economic development. We also have the biennial Singapore-Sub-Saharan Africa High-Level Ministerial Exchange Visits, and meet often at international fora. Singapore and Nigeria are continents and oceans apart but that does not deter us from promoting cooperation and doing more together. – LHL ([Top] MCI Photo by Fyrol; [Bottom] The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction)
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    Today is 人日 (rén rì), the 7th day of the lunar calendar. It is believed that humankind was created on this day, and so it is celebrated as ‘Everyone’s Birthday’. Different countries celebrate Ren Ri in various ways, but in Singapore, we celebrate by tossing yusheng with friends and family. Happy Birthday to everyone! 祝大家人日快乐! :) – LHL (Photo by me)
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    Had a good time celebrating with Teck Ghee residents at our #ChineseNewYear dinner last night. Hope everyone enjoyed the good food and camaraderie! I spoke briefly about how Teck Ghee residents have benefited from national policies in healthcare, education, housing, and transport, just like residents of other constituencies all over Singapore. I also paid tribute to the Merdeka Generation and thanked them for their hard work and sacrifice in building Singapore. As the Merdeka Generation are gradually stepping down and letting the younger ones succeed them, my team is also passing the baton to a new team of leaders. I hope that the new team will bond with the younger generation of Singaporeans, and that we will stay united defending our interests and working together to make Singapore a better home and country. Once again, a happy and prosperous Year of the Pig to everyone. Huat ah! 再次祝大家猪年吉祥,身体健康,心想事成,万事如意! – LHL ([1-2] MCI Photo by Chwee; [3] Photo by Lee Bee Wah)
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    Hosted my annual #ChineseNewYear open house for grassroots leaders and volunteers from Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West yesterday. Happy to catch up with veteran volunteers from the neighbourhoods and meet the new members of the teams as well! Thank you all for your continued dedicated service to our communities! Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous year ahead! 恭祝大家新年快乐,诸事如意! 🍊🍊 – LHL (MCI photos by Chwee)
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    Tens of thousands of passengers departing from @changiairport each day enjoy good meals on their flight, because SATS Inflight Catering Centre staff are doing their jobs today and every day. I visited the team this morning to thank them for their hard work and wish them a happy #ChineseNewYear. Organisations like SATS contribute to making Singapore a major travel hub. But it takes a collective effort from everyone, management and workers, to keep things running smoothly, whether it’s Chinese New Year or any other day. – LHL (MCI Photos by Fyrol) @ntucsingapore
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    Happy #ChineseNewYear everyone! May your year be prosperous and abundant in health and happiness! 祝大家猪年大吉,诸事圆满! 🍊🍊 – LHL
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    Many of us will join our families for a sumptuous reunion dinner tonight. But for the Police Coast Guard, the work of patrolling our waters continues 24/7. This is a job that must be done, and I am thankful for their service so that the rest of us can enjoy a peaceful and safe Chinese New Year. I visited them at the Police Coast Guard HQ in Pulau Brani this morning to hand out a few CNY goodies, and convey our thanks for their constant vigilance. – LHL @singaporepoliceforce (PMO Video by Alex Qiu and Chiez How)
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    @riverhongbao is back at The Float @ Marina Bay! At last night’s launch, we enjoyed local and international cultural performances, beautiful lanterns, and of course, the fireworks! Also saw many visitors having fun at the carnival game booths and queueing up for goodies at the food stalls. It’s been 33 years since the first River Hongbao back in 1987, and it is amazing how far it’s come. Many thanks to the organisers, sponsors, and volunteers for making it such a fun and festive experience! Do head down to catch the different international fireworks displays that will take place for three more nights. – LHL #ChineseNewYear #RiverHongbao2019 ([1,2] MCI Photos by Chwee, [3,4,7] MCI Photos by Fyrol, [5,6] Photos by me)
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    Two days shy of #ChineseNewYear. Teck Ghee market was bustling with shoppers and families enjoying breakfast! We had recently upgraded the Market and Food Centre at Blk 341. The tables and chairs can now sit more residents, and the anti-slip tiles are safer for our elderly. Before visiting the market, I joined my grassroots team to give out hongbaos and goodie bags to needy seniors at Teck Ghee CC. We will continue to make our neighbourhoods a comfortable place for our community. Wishing all Teck Ghee residents a prosperous Year of the Pig! – LHL (MCI Photos by Fyrol)
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    Hands that Shaped the Nation. Born between 1950 and 1959, the Merdeka Generation (most of whom are in their 60s today) grew up during the tumultuous 1950s and early 1960s. They witnessed our struggle for self determination, and the events that led to this unexpectedly independent republic. We are honouring the Merdeka Generation for their hard work and sacrifice, which contributed to building the Singapore of today, and making Merdeka – independence – a success. For more information, visit https://www.merdekageneration.sg/ – LHL (@gov.sg Video)
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    Happy to join 200 Merdeka Generation (MG) Singaporeans at @gardensbythebay this morning, to pay tribute to their efforts in shaping Singapore. The MG story is closely intertwined with the Singapore Story. The Pioneer Generation laid the foundation, and the Merdeka Generation built upon it. They helped Singapore go from Third World to First, in just one generation! From global economic crises to SARS and terrorism, the MG have helped us weather the storms, and Singapore is the stronger for it. There are about 500,000 in the #MerdekaGeneration, many in their 60s. The Merdeka Generation Package, which I announced last year, is a modest gesture of our appreciation for all their contributions. Ministers Heng Swee Keat and Gan Kim Yong will be announcing the details in Parliament later this month. Thank you for helping to shape Singapore! – LHL (MCI Photos by Chwee)
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    Only a few days left in the Year of the Dog 🐶. Thought it would be apt to share some photos I took of our four-legged friends and their human companions during my usual #jalanjalan. – LHL
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    Here is an excerpt of my speech launching the @sgbicentennial on Monday. I explained why 1819 was a crucial turning point in our history, and why our bicentennial is worth commemorating. We became an independent republic in 1965, but our history stretches back much longer. Without that broader historical experience, 1965 would not have happened, and Singapore today would certainly be a very different place. The full speech is available on the PMO YouTube channel (click on the link in my profile). – LHL #SGBicentennial (PMO Video by Alex Qiu and Chiez How / Video footage: National Archives of Singapore)
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    Helped launch a weather balloon during my visit to the Centre for Climate Research Singapore yesterday. The balloon collects data for local and global weather records twice a day. Climate change is a serious threat, with far-reaching implications on our society and the world. We are constantly exploring ways to protect Singapore from the effects of climate change. At the heart of these efforts is CCRS. Established in 2013 under the Meteorological Service Singapore, CCRS’s research has helped us better understand our climate system and develop long-term climate projections for Singapore. Climate modelling for our tropical region is critical. It informs our efforts to strengthen infrastructure, to adapt to warmer temperatures and higher sea levels. CCRS is also working on a model to improve predictions of heavy rain in Singapore. This will be useful for our airports, public transport, and the public too. We are doing our part in global efforts to tackle climate change and protect ourselves from its impact. But it will take more than the government to make a difference. Everyone can play a part – whether by bringing your own bag or not wasting water and electricity. – LHL (PMO Video by Alvin Chong)
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    Had lunch with union leaders today. We discussed how their industries are doing and significant trends they are seeing. We also spoke on how companies, the government, and unions can help workers understand and prepare for the challenges ahead. My thanks to the union leaders for their hard work helping workers. In the face of global economic uncertainty, we must be united to stay competitive and keep our livelihoods. – LHL (MCI Photo by LH Goh)
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    Kicked off the @sgbicentennial yesterday! We are commemorating the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival in Singapore in 1819. This was a crucial turning point in our history that set us on a trajectory leading us to where we are today. Raffles made Singapore a free port. This attracted immigrants from the region and beyond. Trade linked us to the archipelago around us, and the wider world. 1819 marked the beginning of an open, outward-looking, and multicultural Singapore. Our forefathers did not come here with the intention of staying, but to earn a living and support families back home. But over time, as they slogged, suffered through and survived WWII, and then were swept up in the worldwide wave of nationalism, anti-colonialism, and struggle for self determination, many decided to stay and settle here. Along the way on this difficult, winding journey, they began to think of this place as home, and themselves as Singaporeans. Without 1819, we may never have launched on the path to nationhood as we know it today. This is why the Singapore Bicentennial is worth commemorating. Many activities and commemorative events are planned to mark our bicentennial year. I hope that these will inspire you to discover more about ourselves and our past. This is also an opportunity to reflect on how this nation came into being, and to think of how we can move forward together. – LHL #SGBicentennial (MCI Photos by LH Goh [1,3,4] and Betty Chua [2,5,6])
  • Lee Hsien Loong

    Honoured to officially open @wgeylangserai yesterday evening! It has been a long journey since I announced the project in 2011. I have been keeping a close eye on it. My thanks to the government agencies, community and private sector groups, advisers and residents who have worked together to make WGS a reality. WGS will be a landmark in Geylang Serai, one of Singapore’s oldest Malay settlements and a key part of our national heritage. It will strengthen the cultural identity of the area, and reflect the diverse interests and continuing progress of the Malay community. I hope it will also bring together and serve people of all races, and so strengthen our multi-racial, multi-religious society. – LHL (MCI Photos by Betty Chua)
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    Met Sri Lankan President @maithripalas in the Istana today. He had spoken at the 3rd Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific earlier. We last met a year ago in Colombo where we witnessed the signing of a free trade agreement between Singapore and Sri Lanka, granting companies from both sides better access to each other's markets across many sectors. Happy to return the warm hospitality he extended to us. Singapore and Sri Lanka have enjoyed warm ties over the years. Look forward to growing our strong bilateral relations and economic cooperation. 🇸🇬🇱🇰 – LHL (MCI Photo by LH Goh)
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    A @straits_times article last week reported that travel site @bigseventravel named Singapore the 10th-most Instagrammable country in the world. Quite an unusual honour! Their list of the most Instagrammable spots in Singapore included the @artsciencemuseumsg, Helix Bridge, the Cloud Forest at @gardensbythebay, @chijmes.sg, the @marinabaysands infinity pool, Bugis, and Koon Seng Road. These are scenic spots, to be sure; I have taken photos at some of them myself. But there are many more places in Singapore that offer their own beauty and charm. What are your go-to Instagram spots? – LHL (Photos by me)
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    Today is #Thaipusam. During this 2-day festival of thanksgiving, devotees carry milk pots and kavadis in procession to seek blessings and express gratitude. Thaipusam is a vibrant, yet solemn, festival. Devotees prepare for it well in advance, purifying their minds and bodies to fulfil their vows. I wish all Hindu devotees a fulfilling and meaningful Thaipusam! – LHL (SPH Photo © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.)
  • Lee Hsien Loong

    Always a pleasure to meet with old friends. Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visits Singapore fairly often, but her schedule is usually packed, so it was good to sit down and catch up over lunch. Princess Sirindhorn is here for the Global Young Scientists Summit 2019. Look forward to visiting Thailand later this year for the #ASEAN Summits! – LHL (MCI Photo by Betty Chua)
  • Lee Hsien Loong

    How fortunate we are that 40 years ago, Dr Goh Keng Swee founded the @singaporesymphonyorchestra! Our Founding Fathers believed that a young nation needed to look beyond pressing economic issues, and nurtured in Singaporeans an appreciation for culture and the arts. And thus, the SSO came to be. 40 years on, the SSO is a thriving fixture in our cultural scene. Yesterday’s anniversary gala concert was an emotional and joyous tribute to the SSO's inaugural performance in January 1979. They played 2 pieces from that very first concert – Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “The Emperor”. They also played Leong Yoon Pin’s Dayong Sampan Overture, the first Singaporean composition they ever played (in 1980). The year-long celebration continues with free performances around Singapore. I hope you will catch some of them, and hear for yourself why the SSO enjoys such acclaim both here and abroad. Happy 40th Anniversary, SSO! I am confident you will continue to scale greater heights! – LHL (MCI Photos by LH Goh)
  • Lee Hsien Loong

    Caught a group pic at the end of our 2-day Cabinet retreat with those who were still around. We have a full agenda ahead. Aside from domestic matters such as the coming Budget, government policies and initiatives, we also face many uncertainties in the global economy as well as regional developments. The future of Singapore depends on the government and the people working closely together. I hope you will take time to follow the issues, understand our place in the world, and contribute to our nation in your own way. – LHL (MCI Photo by Betty Chua)
  • Lee Hsien Loong

    2009 vs 2019: I kid myself that not much has changed after 10 years, other than my hair colour and hair line! My hair is greyer and thinner, but I’m still enjoying what I do. :) – LHL #10YearChallenge
 #MerdekaGeneration (L: Photo from Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore / R: MCI Photo by Betty Chua)
  • Lee Hsien Loong

    Happy to welcome Czech Republic PM Andrej Babiš to Singapore! We celebrated 25 years of diplomatic relations with the Czech Republic last year, but our links are much older. E.g. in Peranakan culture, the tiny glass beads used to make the intricate kasot manek, or beaded slippers, were imported from Bohemia, present-day Czech Republic. The well-loved Bata shoes also took their first steps in the Czech Republic. Generations of Singaporean children wore white @batasingapore canvas shoes to school, including me! PM Babiš brought a large business delegation with him, and I hope we will continue to find new opportunities for business with each other, as well as build up our people-to-people ties. – LHL 🇸🇬🇨🇿 ([1,2] MCI Photos by Betty Chua; [3] Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore)
  • Lee Hsien Loong

    Today is the first day of the Tamil harvest festival of Pongal, marking the beginning of the auspicious month of Thai. During the festival, milk is boiled in a pot until it overflows, symbolising abundance and prosperity. Wishing all those celebrating a பொங்கலோ பொங்கல்! May the season bring you many new opportunities! – LHL (Photo: © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction)
  • Lee Hsien Loong

    All the best to everyone receiving your 'O' Level results today! Before you get your results, know that however you performed, you got here with the help and support of family, friends and teachers, over many years. Do remember to pay it forward in your own ways. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for you, with many possibilities ahead. I wish you all the best! – LHL (The future is bright! / Photo by me)
  • Lee Hsien Loong

    I've opened quite a few Community Clubs recently, but I was particularly delighted to open the upgraded Teck Ghee CC this morning! :) The old CC was popular and well-used, but we were running out of space to accommodate all the activities we wanted to offer. Whether you’re into dance, music, cooking, or crafts, there will be something for everyone at a nearby CC! It’s also a great way to learn new things, which is why I’m glad the Central Singapore Community Development Council is working with us to conduct SkillsFuture Advice workshops, some of which were on when I dropped by today. CCs play a pivotal role. They are more than activity centres. They are hubs where residents meet, make friends, and bond. They are cornerstones of the community, so residents always have a home away from home! – LHL (PMO Video by Alex Qiu and Chiez How)
  • Lee Hsien Loong

    Visited the @lifelonglearninginstitute (LLI) yesterday to see first-hand how we are helping workers find new jobs and training them to transit from old jobs to new. Glad to meet many workers, employers, and staff at the LLI. @workforcesingapore is doing good work to help workers. 30,000 jobseekers secured jobs last year through Adapt & Grow programmes. WSG will keep on doing more to help workers – especially those yet to find jobs. We cannot stop the changes happening in the global economy. We have to adapt to and grow with the change. With workers and employers working together with WSG and LLI, we can build a stronger, more productive and inclusive workforce, one better prepared for the challenges ahead. – LHL (MCI Photos by LH Goh)
  • Lee Hsien Loong

    Spent the weekend celebrating our Teck Ghee students, presenting 7th Moon and Edusave awards that recognise their achievements in academics, CCA, community service, and leadership. These students have worked hard. The awards not only affirm that, but also their good character and how they help others around them. For Singapore to do well, we need more than well-educated citizens and well-trained workers. Success depends not only on knowledge gained, but also on intangible and essential values such as care and concern, willingness to help others and contribute to society. This is why we are making far-reaching changes to our education system. We are emphasising character and values, reducing emphasis on academic results and freeing up time for deeper and more engaged learning. Congratulations to all who have received the bursary and scholarships! I hope that this will inspire you to work even harder, and to continue to keep up the good work! – LHL ([1] and [2] MCI Photos by Clement, [3] MCI Photo by LH Goh)
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