New citizens asked to follow in the footsteps of S'pore's pioneers

New citizens asked to follow in the footsteps of S'pore's pioneers
Special mention... Madam Neelakantan receiving her certificate from Mr Khaw.

At 14 different venues across Singapore, close to 3,350 new citizens received their pink identity cards and certificates of citizenship last weekend.

At a ceremony held at the Cheng San Community Club, 150 new Singaporeans from Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West got their certificates from PM Lee Hsien Loong. At the function, Mr Lee said changing their citizenship was a major decision and was not one that was made lightly. He urged new citizens to follow in the footsteps of the country's pioneers, who contributed and built a common Singaporean identity, despite being from different races and cultures.

This message was echoed by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan at the National Citizenship ceremony held at Republic Polytechnic on Aug 30.

Welcoming 194 new Singaporean citizens, who have chosen to make Singapore their home, Mr Khaw said: "Our Pioneer Generation dared to think big, make immense sacrifices, stay united and reach for the stars. They worked hard to overcome the hardships during the early years to build modern Singapore. They lived and worked alongside one another, even though they were of different races and culture, spoke different languages and practised different religions. "Over the years, they forged strong and lasting friendships across racial and religious communities. They treated one another with mutual respect, forged a strong community spirit and together built a common Singaporean identity, with a common vision for a better Singapore."

He said that some of the new citizens are already contributing to the lives of "our fellow citizens through the work that you do".

He suggested that new citizens could start volunteering in activities in their neighbourhood in Woodlands, through grassroots or community activities.

"You can also support causes you feel strongly about, be it helping low-income families or spending time with underprivileged children," he said. The minister made special mention of new citizen Madam Neelakantan.

"Madam Neelakantan serves as a parent volunteer at her daughter's primary school. Her husband has been serving as a grassroots leader in Woodlands for nearly 10 years and has helped bring our residents closer together by organising events such as Deepavali and Chinese New Year celebrations. He is also leading a chess interest group.

"Inspired by the work that he doaes, Madam Neelakantan will be joining him in grassroots activities as well. Both of them derive satisfaction from helping others," he said.

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