"In thinking about the Singapore we want for our future, we ourselves must take action in working towards a society where the dignity of the human person is respected and prioritised." - Archbishop Nicholas Chia
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On the occasion of National Day, I will share with you my dream for the future of Singapore.
Over the last 46 years of independence, I have watched Singapore transform itself into an economic powerhouse and one of the most desirable Asian cities in which to live.
Singapore enjoys one of the highest GDP rates per capita of any city in the world and one of the lowest rates of unemployment, even throughout the global financial crisis.
While Singapore as a whole is witnessing unprecedented economic growth and opportunity, there are still many issues that need to be considered.
Since the last General Election, Members of Parliament have taken steps to connect at the “grassroots” level with their constituencies, addressing important issues such as the cost of housing.
I applaud all efforts to ensure that Singaporeans’ voices are heard and important issues addressed. As Catholics, we have an obligation to raise our voices on behalf of those who cannot, taking action to correct injustices in our society and promote Christian values through our own actions. In thinking about the Singapore we want for our future, we ourselves must take action in working towards a society where the dignity of the human person is respected and prioritised.
We must share the good fortune that has been created in our nation, ensuring that those around us who are poor, elderly or marginalised in some way are cared for and that programmes are in place to help those who cannot help themselves due to mental or physical illness.
As Jesus said, “…whatever you did for one of the least of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25: 40).
Statistics show that the marriage rate in Singapore is falling while the divorce rate is rising. As Catholics, we must also preserve and promote the family.
We must take steps to ensure that children are raised in a kind and caring environment and given an understanding of the importance that a strong relationship with God plays in their lives.
In this way, they will have the confidence to forge solid and loving relationships with others in the context of Christ’s love for mankind, which is a true and unselfish love.
To develop such a love, my dear brothers and sisters, it is imperative that you place kindness, consideration, and charity at the forefront of every action in your lives, keeping in mind that one good act leads to another.
As the Bible tells us, “love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous…it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered… it bears all things, believes in all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
We are each a part of a bigger community, and our actions affect others.
As Catholics, it is through the practice of our faith that we grow more compassionate and loving and more open to receiving God’s message to us. Through our faith, we sustain one another and grow closer to understanding the plan God has in store for us.
Years ago, the Singapore Kindness Movement was formed to help Singapore become a “gracious society by the 21st century”, operating on the principle that being more gracious to others, strangers as well as friends and family, will allow everyone to enjoy a better quality of life in Singapore.
This initiative shows the common values that we as Catholics share with the whole of Singapore society.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this National Day, may we always remember that we have the power within us to contribute to the creation of a nation that prioritises kindness, compassion for the less fortunate, loving families and equality for all.
This is my dream for Singapore. To achieve this dream, let us be living witnesses to our Catholic faith and let us pray that our leaders may be enabled by God’s powerful protection to lead our country with honesty and integrity, seeking righteousness and mercy for all. n
Yours in Christ,
Archbishop Nicholas Chia