In his opening speech at the NTUC building, the soon-to-be ex minister of MSF,Chan Chun Sing, recalled the halycon days growing up in a single-parent family. He recalled the only time he could experience air-conditioning was when he went to the library at old Stamford Road to read books for free as they could not afford to have air-conditioning or books at home.
“I’m a simple man”, said Chan Chun Sing. When he agreed to take up politics, he had one dream that Singaporeans lives will be improved progressively as the years went by and for many generations to come.
But he has one sobering question in mind. How will our children and grandchildren celebrate the next 50 years…when we celebrate SG100?
Chan Chun Sing expressed gratefulness for the country and said he had to give back to Singapore in whatever way he can because he is thankful for the opportunities he has been granted in the past, from bursaries to scholarships that funded his education. Without these, the man feared he may not have had a proper education at all.
What started from taking care of 1 platoon of 28 men turned into the responsibility as Chief of Army. It was never his dream to be where he is today, but he took whatever opportunities that came his way and gave his best.
“The Labour Union is one important component of our success.”
Now that he is part of the Labour Movement, Chan’s mission remains unchanged. He expressed a mission to advocate for better opportunities and better quality of life for all workers and their children. He reiterates the need for a strong labour union and a strong tripartite partnership.
Expressing the caveat that success does not happen by chance, nor do opportunities arise from thin air, he promised to pull together his experiences in SAF and MSF and to put in the hard work to create opportunities for Singaporeans.
The challenges faced by this younger generation may be different from that of our pioneers, but he hopes to keep alive, what our pioneers have built up for us and more importantly, the spirit that drives them.
Officials in MSF related stories of how he would often turn up unannounced to get to know people. He said people found it weird that he was out and about instead of staying in the office. Staff and unionists of the NTUC should be ready also for this sort of treatment.
“Over next few years, I want to learn from you and understand issues that are close to your hearts and your ideas, to continue this dream of ours, that our lives will continue to improve, the lives of our children will continue to improve, and that one day we will not just celebrate SG50 but we will celebrate SG100 together.” said Chan.