Monday 5 August 2013

National Day Message 2013 from SAFRA Toa Payoh

Venue where PM Lee's speech is recorded this year is a nod to NSmen's contributions
By Jeremy Au Yong, The Sunday Times, 4 Aug 2013

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Message this year will be delivered from SAFRA Toa Payoh, in a nod to the contributions of NSmen.

He recorded his speech there yesterday morning during a tour of the recreational club for NSmen.

The message, which usually focuses on economic issues, is normally recorded ahead of time and then telecast on the eve of National Day.

PM Lee posted a series of pictures of the visit on his Facebook page yesterday, saying: "I came to SAFRA for the Message this year as a way to thank our NSmen and their families for their contributions and sacrifices."

The revamped SAFRA Toa Payoh, which was officially opened in February, joins a growing list of locations that have served as backdrops for the National Day Message.

The speeches used to be recorded at the Istana but in recent years, PM Lee has chosen a variety of settings: the 51st floor of the Pinnacle@Duxton, the Marina Bay floating platform and inside the Toa Payoh HDB estate.

Last year's message - where PM Lee first announced the national conversation exercise - was filmed in Bishan Park.

Yesterday proved to be a day full of National Day festivities for PM Lee. Later in the evening, he was the guest of honour at National Day celebrations in his Teck Ghee ward in Ang Mo Kio GRC.

PM Lee, together with wife Ho Ching, spent some three hours at the event, first watching a street parade put on by Teck Ghee schools and grassroots organisations, and then visiting a flea market and other exhibits.

He also contributed a few crochet stitches to the "Knit With One Heart" project that has the stated aim of creating a closely knit society through knitting.

The project, which comes under the Community Engagement Programme, hopes to involve as many Singaporeans as possible in knitting tapestries to be displayed at the Chingay Parade in February next year.

Yesterday's parade will serve as Teck Ghee's National Day celebration this year with grassroots leaders choosing not to have a National Day dinner this year.

"(By having a street parade), we can get more people coming to celebrate together," said Madam Noelene Defoe, 60, chair of the Teck Ghee Community Club Management Committee. About 7,000 residents are estimated to have participated yesterday.

After the parade, PM Lee thanked the performers and said that the diversity of performances was a "reminder that we are one Singapore".

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