As a volunteer at the National Day Parade (NDP) for five years, Mr Chow Wei Xiang, 24, has been encouraging the crowd to cheer and mentoring student participants.
But this year's parade will have special meaning for him.
The university student received his certificate of citizenship yesterday and, for the first time, recited the Pledge and sang the National Anthem as a Singaporean.
"When volunteering in the NDP, I saw that Singaporeans were really united. I really wanted to make this place my home," said the former Malaysian who moved here in 2008 and completed his national service last year. He was one of 150 Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC residents at a citizenship ceremony at Lasalle College of the Arts.
At the ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean said Singaporeans should strengthen and deepen their shared values and ideals, even as they celebrate their diversity.
"We share certain ideals, certain hopes and dreams which make us Singaporean and which make Singapore what it is," said the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP in a speech.
These are enshrined in the National Pledge and include being one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, he said.
He urged Singaporeans not to let differences in culture and practices divide them, but to come together to build a better future.
"Let us strengthen our community bonds, and build a more united and resilient society," said Mr Teo.
He also encouraged them to follow the example of Singapore's pioneers, who built a multiracial society and established civic organisations to help those in need.
Also present at the event were Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC MPs Teo Ser Luck, Penny Low, Janil Puthucheary and Zainal Sapari.
A roving exhibition on 50 years of citizenship titled "We, the Citizens of Singapore" was also launched. It showcases Singaporeans who demonstrate the ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.
The exhibition will be held at the same time as GRC-level citizenship ceremonies. Its schedule is on www.citizensofsingapore.sg.
This article was first published on Aug 03, 2015.
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