Mon, Aug 30, 2010
Part 4: Speech from National Day Rally 2010

This is the full speech of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally 2010.

PM Lee on Dr. Goh Keng Swee

PM Lee: But the world is still a dangerous place. Nobody can say for the next 50 years it'll be as stable, as peaceful, as prosperous as the last 50 years. Nobody can tell what it will bring.

Dr. Goh Keng Swee worried about this problem. Before he retired in 1984 he made a speech where he talked about many things but amongst them he addressed this issue.

And I looked up the archives and I found the tape and let's hear him in is own voice.

"A new generation is emerging. This generation has never experienced hardship.

"Some of my colleagues, when making this statement, seem to imply that the new generation has thereby committed some gross misdemeanour. Of course this is not true."

Only Dr. Goh will say "gross misdemeanour". But the new generation that Dr. Goh was talking about is not today's young people.

It's 1984's young people, that means us when we were young. But in the quarter century since Dr. Goh spoke, I think Singapore has not done too badly and now my generation is similarly concerned about today's young people.

It's no fault for anyone not to have experienced hard times.

It is not any misdemeanour at all.

There will be challenges and crisis enough in your lifetimes and we will prepare you the best you can and hope that the first time you encounter a real crisis you'll survive the baptism of fire, emerge toughened and so will Singapore.

When Dr. Goh passed away in May, Singaporeans were reminded of his enormous contributions to Singapore, in economy, in defence, in education and many people lamented that the younger generation knew too little about what he did or how much we owed to Dr. Goh and they suggested naming something after him so that Singaporeans would always be reminded of what he had done.

I agree. Dr. Goh was instrumental in building up the SAF. Here he is in a colonel's uniform inspecting officer cadets passing out.

He built not just hardware - tanks and fighter jets or battalions and squadrons - but a thinking SAF with capable commanders and staff and soldiers who can outwit and outmanoeuvre the enemy.

Today much of the hardware that Dr. Goh acquired has already been superseded by newer and more sophisticated equipment.

This is a Hunter jet. You don't see this on National Day parades anymore but we wouldn't have F-15s on a National Day parade if we had not started off with Hunter jets with Dr. Goh.

But Dr. Goh's emphasis on developing talent and on a thinking SAF endures.

The Singapore Command and Staff College is the highest institution for training senior officers in the SAF.

It has a handsome home in SAFTI MI and all officers headed for senior positions in the SAF sooner or later will attend advanced courses here.

We will rename SCSC as the Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College in Dr. Goh's honour.

From Mindef, Dr Goh went to education and when he became Education Minister, he totally revamped the system.

He made teaching systematic, he introduced streaming, he fostered a high quality professional teaching service and he began the process of continuous improvement that's created a first class education system admired around the world.

And without Dr. Goh's beginning it would not have been possible for me to sketch out all those plans which I did just now of what we are going to do next with our education system.

The Ministry of Education has a headquarters at North Buona Vista Road. This is the building.

It's expanding its HQ, building a second building next to it not just for the headquarters but also to house an Academy of Singapore Teachers and specialist academies for specialist teachers for English language, for PE, Sports and Arts.

It is like the Academy of Law or the Academy of Medicine.

It's meant to upgrade the professionalism of our teachers.

And this complex will be the nerve centre for Singapore education and a symbol of the importance of education to our young and to our future, and we will name it the Goh Keng Swee Centre for Education.

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