What is the Singapore spirit?

FROM kampungs to condominiums. From a water- dependent community to exporter of high-tech water solutions. From third world to first. This little dot of a nation has seen dramatic changes in a lifetime - 46 years to be exact on this National Day.

As Singapore gets exposed to the winds of globalisation, it has had to adjust to remain relevant and competitive in the new world. And the Singapore spirit has become especially important in these times.

In his National Day rally speech last year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: "The Singapore spirit is not based on a common race, language or religion. It is based on deeper things that we share: Shared values like multiracialism, meritocracy, or respect for every talent; shared loyalty and commitment to Singapore; shared responsibility for each other and pride in what we have done together; shared memories as well as dreams and aspirations...

"It is the spirit in each of us which makes Singapore work the way it does and which makes Singaporeans special."

As National Day rolled up this year, tabla! asked some of its readers to explain what the Singapore spirit - which is the theme of this year's National Day Parade - means to them.

For Mrs Manju Melwani, it is that welcoming spirit which she says is still relevant from the time she came here 26 years ago.

To National University of Singapore student Harsha Narayan it is the dreams she and her fellow youths pursue. There is diversity in the interests, she says, "but the energy that resonates when we do the things others love is collective and much, much bigger than the tiny red dot that we are".

Businessman and former lawyer Sat Pal Khattar feels that it is the people's problem- solving attitude that has been a critical positive in putting Singapore on the map as a leading country in Asia.

For Indian Women's Association member Neeta Kapoor, the Singapore spirit is one that nurtures growth and progress, while the CEO of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hernaikh Singh sees that spirit when he observes people of different ethnicity and religions living in harmony.

In its own unique way, Singapore has shown the determination to make things work and to do things the right way.

And for all of us who call Singapore home - whether you were born here, taken up citizenship in recent years, a permanent resident or fairly new to the country - this Singapore spirit is what makes the country special. Happy birthday, Singapore!

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