My 50 years with Singapore

My 50 years with Singapore

Singapore is not the only one turning 50 this year. Insight talks to five MPs who were born in or around 1965, and asks them to relate their experiences growing up with Singapore, as well as their hopes for Singapore politics over the next 50 years.

Fond memories of the past, fervent hopes for the future

MP Ang Hin Kee

Assistant secretary-general of NTUC

Born October 1965

On growing up in Singapore over the last 50 years:

When I was growing up, my favourite chair was made of rattan. Shops selling such furniture were very common back then, perhaps due to the material being durable, cheap, and widely grown in the region.

My chair lasted for many years. Whenever there was any damage, we took it back to the shop for a quick repair or patched it up ourselves.

Today, we can easily source for goods and food from all over the world to satisfy changing palates and an appetite for variety.

Yet, in recent years, some items from the past, such as rattan furniture and porcelain crockery, are making a successful comeback, whether with a modern twist or in their original forms.

They are a huge draw, partly for their simple design and practicality, but also due to these vintage items being an integral part of our growing-up years. They bring back fond memories and symbolise what makes us uniquely Singapore.

On his wish for Singapore politics in the next 50 years:

Fifty years from now, we will face a different set of challenges with different political leaders.

Times may change but good and practical policies remain timeless. Our political leaders should not just borrow solutions from the past or from other countries.

More importantly, we will continue to need leaders who listen to the people, embrace divergent views and stay open to new ideas.

Singaporeans are stepping out and speaking up more, and our leaders need to engage them and work through disagreements among different groups to arrive at a common outcome.

As Singapore matures, let us be a society that can accept differences and support leaders who have the gumption to press on, to work through differences, and to keep us focused on doing the right thing for Singapore

Reminiscing about games like zero-point, and wishing for continued political stability

Singapore is not the only one turning 50 this year. Insight talks to five MPs who were born in or around 1965, and asks them to relate their experiences growing up with Singapore, as well as their hopes for Singapore politics over the next 50 years.

MP Fatimah Lateef

Associate professor at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Born March 1966

On growing up in Singapore over the last 50 years:

Some of my fondest memories growing up include the exciting times we had with our neighbours and friends in our neighbourhood. School was only half a day and when we returned home, we played all kinds of games.

Bonds were forged and I am still in touch with a few of my childhood friends today.

We had to study and work hard, but we also played a lot- simple games like catching, capteh, zero-point, ball games, and trapping tiny fishes from the drains. These did not require money, which we never had much of.

On weekends, we had picnics at Changi beach and I always loved mum's nasi lemak with an assortment of sides. I still think it's the best nasi lemak I ever had. When we moved into our first flat in Marine Parade - a big deal as it was on reclaimed land - my (two) siblings and I shared a room and we had fun, especially with the double-decker beds!

On her wish for Singapore politics in the next 50 years:

My wish for Singapore politics would be to have continued political stability, with clean and ethical people in government.

We have come so far in 50 years based on our ingenuity, hard work, good vision and passion in building a nation together. There was no fixed model for us to follow but we created our own unique blend of Singapore politics.

I also hope our future leaders will have the same commitment and fire in their bellies, and be resourceful at grabbing all opportunities

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