#TIL National Day Rally
📷 1 : PM Lee encouraged us to stay united as one people amidst uncertainties (PMO)
📷 2: Changi T5 Announcement (PMO)
#TIL that the National Day Rally (NDR) originated as a “private meeting” between the Prime Minister (PM) and a select group of community leaders, on 8 Aug 1966. It was not televised, and the speech was released to the media only two weeks later.
But in 1971, PM Lee Kuan Yew decided that “we cannot go on doing the things we are doing unless not only you, but a lot of other people outside know the raison d’etre, the background, the reasons, the problems…” — and so, the first live broadcast NDR took form.
The NDR has been held annually since its first occasion, except in 2020, when it was cancelled due to safe distancing requirements from the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, PM Lee made a major speech to Singaporeans in Parliament in September.
The NDR is commonly seen as one of the most important political messages that many Singaporeans look out for in the year. It is a platform for the PM to address the nation, share policy matters, talk about the economy and our achievements, and lay out future plans and key challenges facing Singapore. Unlike the first NDR speech which lasted approximately 37 minutes, recent ones come with multi-media visuals and can go on for hours.
Despite its different durations, the NDR remains true to the spirit of the first NDR speech, as laid out in these extracts from 1966:
To review how we have done – “I think it is reassuring on an anniversary to weigh the odds to see how we have performed, the promises against the performances.”
To set direction to build our tomorrow – “This capacity to face up to situations, however intractable, however unpleasant, is one of the great qualities for survival. A people able to look facts squarely in the face, able to calculate the odds, to weigh the chances and then decide to go it, are a people not likely to go under.”
The NDR 2022 delivered yesterday was Singapore’s 56th. Did you manage to catch it? Read NDR 2022 transcript here.
Past NDR speeches could also be found here.