Remarks by President Tony Tan at the Singapore National Day Reception held at the Restaurant Cantô, Grand Hyatt Hotel Rio De Janeiro on Sunday, 14 August 2016

Fellow Singaporeans and Friends

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good afternoon

I am pleased to join you here to celebrate the 51st National Day of Singapore. 

This reception is special in many ways.  First, it marks the start of a new chapter in the history of Singapore.  We commemorated the 50th year of the independence of Singapore last year, when we looked back at what we had achieved together as a nation, regardless of race, language and religion.  We now look forward to what more we can do together, to build our Singapore of tomorrow.     

In this regard, I am happy to be here to meet with all of you, many of whom are working in this country.  Amongst us today are representatives from key companies from Singapore, including Keppel, Sembcorp Jurong, Global Logistic Properties, Changi Airports International, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Technologies, Sunningdale, Kaybee, Olam, Wilmar, to name a few.  EDB, IES, GIC and Temasek also have a presence here in Brazil.  Brazil is a long distance from home.  We understand the difficulties of living, working and operating here, especially with a foreign language and a distinctly different culture.  Hence, we appreciate your contribution to the economy and future of Singapore. 

The world economy is still challenging.  Developments around the world have affected the growth prospects in many sectors and have on many occasions led to greater volatility.  Demand has been severely affected in several industries, including oil and gas and civil aviation.  But fortunately, Singapore’s fundamental are strong. 

Whether in Singapore or overseas working for a Singapore company, our people are hardworking and resilient.  We maintain a business-friendly outlook and continue to invest heavily in science, research and innovation.  I am therefore confident that Singapore is well positioned to ride through the global challenges and emerge a stronger nation.

This reception is special for a second reason.  It is taking place at the margins of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where Singapore is sending our largest contingent for both Games. And by now, who does not know how historic this Olympics has been for Singapore? The nation held its breath in that 50.39s before erupting into euphoria seeing Joseph Schooling finish first in the 100m Butterfly.

When our national anthem was played in the Olympic Aquatic Stadium, it was one of my proudest moments, and I am sure it was the same for all Singaporeans. This happening shortly after Singapore celebrated our 51st National Day must have been the best birthday gift, and shows the promise Singapore’s next chapter can offer.

We are proud of how far Team Singapore has come. Our athletes have shown tremendous grit, perseverance, and discipline in training for the Games. Our athletes are not just sporting heroes, but also role models in how they have shown resilience and discipline in their respective personal journeys to the Olympics. Some of them are here with us today, so may I invite you to give them a round of applause. Kudos too, to the supporting crew who have worked quietly behind the scenes to make sure that the athletes are in tip top condition for their competitions. I would like to congratulate those who have competed in the Games and who had put in their best efforts for Team Singapore. For the remaining athletes, all the best in the competition. We are here behind you.   

Singapore has come a long way over the past 50 years. Although we now have a world-class and efficient infrastructure, we should not and cannot rest on our laurels. 

Together, as Singaporeans, we can continue to make Singapore a better place for ourselves and for our future generations. We will continue “Building our Singapore of Tomorrow”. A place we truly call home.