SINGAPORE — In his Chinese New Year message on the eve of CNY, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reminded the population to stay vigilant despite the stable COVID situation and cherish family time, making it a greater priority.
“After nearly three years battling the pandemic, I am glad that we can fully resume our Chinese New Year celebrations. I am sure this year’s festivities will be especially meaningful for many. The lohei will be tossed extra high, cheers of “Huat ah” will be extra loud, and family gatherings extra joyous.:” said PM Lee,
This is true given that during the pandemic, the Ministry of Health had instructed that the “lohei” should be done without any verbalisation of the usual auspicious phrases and diners are reminded to avoid raising their voices.
PM Lee also thanked the hard work and sacrifices of those fighting at the frontline against COVID-19 pandemic and keeping Singapore going.
While the situation remains stable, PM Lee reminds the population to stay vigilant amid the celebrations as new variants may yet emerge somewhere that bring unexpected challenges.
“Health is the greatest wealth. We must continue to look out for one another and exercise social responsibility. Do ART self-tests when needed, especially before visiting elderly relatives.” said PM Lee.
He also asked people to stay home if they tested positive or were feeling unwell. He added, “Most importantly, keep your vaccinations up-to-date, including with the latest bivalent vaccines. This is still the best protection against COVID-19.”
“Our shared COVID-19 experience has made us appreciate our families and loved ones better. Families are at the core of our social compact, and strong families are central to a stable, resilient society.”
Noting that the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) dipped last year, PM Lee wishes couples to do their best in the Year of the Rabbit. Especially since the Government has introduced plans for “A Singapore Made for Families 2025”, such as lowering fees at government-supported pre-schools from this January.
“We can all do our part to build a society where every family is valued and supported. Companies can institute flexible work arrangements and cultivate a more encouraging workplace culture. Community partners can pool resources to celebrate and uplift families. Individuals, too, should cherish family time and make it a greater priority,” said PM Lee.
Lee siblings haven’t met for reunion dinner since 2015
TOC understands that PM Lee’s brother, Lee Hsien Yang and his family, is not invited to attend the reunion dinner. As for Ms Lee Weiling, she is currently housed in Oxley Road due to her illness since 2020.
For those who are unaware, the siblings were embroiled in a dispute after Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Ms Lee Weiling wanted to fulfil the last wishes of their father, the late Lee Kuan Yew, ensuring that 38 Oxley Road is demolished.
After some tussling over the fate of 38 Oxley Road, the property was eventually sold to Mr Lee Hsien Yang in 2015 by PM Lee, who inherited the property.
In 2017, the siblings accused PM Lee of abusing his powers as Prime Minister on the matter of 38 Oxley Road, which PM Lee had vigorously denied through a special Parliament session.
Since then, the two have not been invited for a reunion dinner with the Lee family.