Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Is The Annual NDR Speech Still Necessary?

According to Wikipedia, the definition of the Singapore National Day Rally is.....

"The National Day Rally (Chinese: 国庆群众大会, Malay: Rapat Umum Hari Kebangsaan) is an annual address that the Prime Minister of Singapore makes to the entire nation, on the second Sunday after 9 August, the country's National Day. 

A yearly event since 1966, the Prime Minister uses this rally to address the nation on its key challenges and its future directions, and can be compared to the State of the Union Address delivered by the President of the United States.

Prior to 2005, the rally was a continuous speech from 8:00pm (SST). From 2005, the Malay and Chinese versions were delivered at 6:45 pm with a break at 7:30 pm while the English version was delivered at 8:00pm. Opposition MPs were invited to the rally for the first time in 2007. "

The First National Day Rally 1966

Unlike the State of Union Address, which is delivered in January and not linked to Independence Day, the NDR was traditionally a PAP annual celebration of their triumphs and successes, and LKY has unapologetically treated it as a perpetual annual Election Rally to drive fear into the hearts of Singaporeans of not voting the PAP, and to remind them of their indebtedness to the PAP. It was only in recent years that opposition MPs were invited following the increase in number of oppositions in Parliament. 

NDR 1984

During those days, Parliamentary proceedings were not broadcasted, live or same day. Hence the NDR became important as a tool of communication with the public. But it is no longer true now. All things said and done in Parliament are well-documented and recorded and goes viral very quickly for any incidence that occurred. 

The Prime Minister should make full use of the Parliamentary seatings to address the nation on his plans and future direction, and not hold them back until the NDR before presenting them.

Besides the NDR, the Prime Minister also make speeches on eve of New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya, Christmas and Lunar New Year. There are more than enough opportunities for him to share with the people on his plans and changes he wants to implement. Why wait for the NDR to do that? 

Further, the NDR occurs more than a week after the National Day, making it an anti-climax to the ND celebration itself. It shouldn't be called NDR in the first place. It is just an irrelevant event, a baggage from the past, that should be removed from the calendar.

LKY last NDR Speech 1990

Of course, for the PM, it is a great opportunity for the him to showcase his multi-linguistic talents, polish his public speaking skills as well as his clowning and acting abilities. But looking ahead, he should be planning for his successor. 

Can you find anyone in the audience during this year's speech, who can speak in several languages? None. So who is going to carry on with the NDR if PM Lee were to faint again, but this time, he can't return to complete his speech? Or worse, he got taken out by the IS terrorists. It can happen.

Goh Chok Tong Final NDR Speech 2004

No matter how you look at it, the NDR belonged to the legacy of the Lee Kuan Yew era. The NDR was a very powerful tool to unite a newly independent multiracial society, and to build the nation from scratch, during those early years. Now that it is redundant, we should just leave it in the archives of the museum.

This will also free PM Lee from the strenuous task of preparing for the NDR, and save the costs of employing the many language experts, and countless other backend contributors to his NDR speech. He can spend those precious time in planning his strategy to stifle the oppositions and writing computer programs to solve more puzzles.

PM Lee's maiden NDR speech

No comments:

Post a Comment