SINGAPORE — Touched by the good wishes and affection shown by the public, outgoing President Tony Tan said he spent “a little more time than usual” meeting and thanking National Day Parade (NDP) participants on Wednesday (Aug 9).
“Of course, this year’s parade is rather special for me because this will be the last time I will be officiating (the NDP) as the reviewing officer,” the 77-year-old told reporters at the end of the event.
“Every NDP is special. Each one holds special memories for me … I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve as President and to reach out to Singaporeans.”
Dr Tan, who was elected the seventh President of Singapore, will have to leave his position on Aug 31 at the end of his six-year term.
He succeeded the late S R Nathan after winning a four-way contest on Aug 27, 2011. With a narrow margin of 0.34 per cent, and 35.19 per cent of votes, he beat second-placed candidate Dr Tan Cheng Bock to become the head of state.
Dr Tan entered politics in 1979 when he was elected the Member of Parliament for Sembawang Group Representative Constituency, before being appointed Senior Minister of State for Education the same year.
Subsequently, he held a string of appointments in the Trade and Industry and Finance ministries, before retiring from Government.
He then went on to hold chairmanship and directorship positions in various companies, including the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation and Singapore Press Holdings.
Pointing out that the NDP allows Singaporeans to come together and celebrate the nation’s achievements, independence and progress, Dr Tan said Wednesday’s show was “spectacular” against the Marina Bay backdrop.
“To me, it’s more than just a marvellous show. It’s an expression of the Singapore spirit, and we must continue to strive for progress,” he added.
While Singapore also faces challenges, in terms of the economy and terrorism, he said that if Singaporeans work together “and support each other, we can overcome them”.
“I am confident that Singapore will continue to progress further, and we will continue building a better home for ourselves and our children … but we have to strive to work on, there is no end to our journey,” he added.