THERE are three new challenges that Singapore must overcome if it is to continue its journey to remain a united nation, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Message on Monday.
First, he cited the rise of extremist terrorism around the world - a threat that can tear society apart - and warned that Singapore is also a target for a possible attack.
Second, Mr Lee noted that the Singapore economy is at a turning point, with globalisation and technological change both disrupting work and the way of life. Entire industries are being forced to innovate, while workers continue to worry about their jobs due to competition from other people and technology.
Lastly, he said that while Singapore's political system has delivered good government, stability and progress so far, a changing society means that this unity will come under new strains.
Mr Lee added that Singapore, unlike other nations around the world, has the ability to overcome these challenges.
"Other countries have more resources and bigger hinterlands, longer histories and stronger identities. And yet they have run into trouble. Can Singapore be different? I believe that we can," he said.
Mr Lee said that the most fundamental factor that keeps Singapore exceptional is the ability to remain united.
"It is our shared resolve to tackle challenges together that determines whether we succeed, and whether our children have a brighter future," he said.
All four versions of Mr Lee's National Day Message - in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil - will be available for viewing on the Prime Minister's Office's official YouTube page (www.youtube.com/pmosingapore) from Monday 7pm.