Memorable Quotes From Singapore
See also Infamous Quotes from Singapore Political Leaders, (In)Famous Quotes From Lee Kuan Yew, Famous Quotes From Singapore Leaders.
"There is a tendency to view Singapore’s senior citizens as “a bundle of problems to be tackled one at a time”, and this line of thinking needs to change." - former Member of Parliament Chiang Hai Ding on Singapore need to see the elderly as an asset and not as a “silver tsunami” that brings disaster (11May2013)
"Optus is important because it makes up 1/3 of Singtel’s free cash flow. Optus, no matter how you put it, was a bad investment by Singtel." - From blogger Investment Moat's newsletter dated 26 Feb 2013
"The country is full of angry young voices who know they want something else, full of people who are dissatisfied with the status quo, but have not quite come together to articulate an alternative." - Chua Mui Hong ("In search of a new narrative", Sunday Times 17 Feb 2013)
"Reputation is not property that can be stolen or reinstated with defamation suits and monetary compensation alone. Anyone defamed does not automatically have his/her honour reinstated because an apology and/or compensation had been secured. Reputation is an issue of honour that can and should be protected by encouraging open, robust and transparent debates." - Braema Mathi on lawsuit threats put muzzle on diverse views (Todayonline, 9 Jan 2013).
"It depends on what kind of society we want. Do we build a society for all of us; for the welfare and well-being of all of us? Or for a small group?" -Prof Lim Chong Yeh in responding to the counter-arguments that productivity cannot be raised if labour remains "far, far too cheap. (Todayonline, 26Oct2012)
"It is nice to say we have a melting pot of cultures, but it does not lead to a cohesive society. That is a nice place to visit, but not a nice place to live in. A nice place to live in is where the society is cohesive." - Gerald Ee (Todayonline, 19Oct2012)
"Singapore's preference is not competition, but order and control.....this approach of dealing with only trusted parties is evident in many other areas of business and public life here and reflects the Government's desire for control and order." - Han Fook Kwang on why Government is avert to real competitions compared to Hong Kong's approach. (Source)
"Success more often breeds greed and greed is the source of all evil. Many of the worst people are politician and business folks. When politician colludes with business people, the society invariably becomes lousy and shitty." - Patriot
“So don’t refuse when somebody comes to you with an offer that doesn’t seem attractive … meaningful or relevant to you, because it will become relevant as you move along the chain.” - Professor Leo Tan on the importance of not saying "No" (Source)
"Meritocracy also breeds elitism when those who succeed think they deserve it and look down on those who fail." - Ex-AMP head Nizam Ismail (Source)
"You live for what you love. If I love Prada bags and big houses and I work for it, it's okay. And if I'm happy with the simple life, that's okay too. But what's not okay is if I want to live in a bungalow but not want to work for it. A lot of young people today are like that. That's the wrong mentality." - Peter Tan on his attitude on Money in an interview "An Officer and an Insurance Gentleman"
"My alimony, by choice, was $1 a month. When you are a couple, you should financially support each other but when you are divorced, you should not look at your ex as a money tree if you have the capability of earning your own keep." - Celebrity business women and ex-CEO of Raffles Holdings Jennie Chua (The Straits Times 12 Aug 2012)
"For a person to succeed, besides hard work, smarts and capable assistants, the most important element is luck. You cannot wait for luck. But if you don't have luck, no matter how hard you struggle, you won't succeed." - Self-made Billionaire Sam Gooi On success (The Straits Times 30 Jul 2012)
"A gentleman once said to me, 'Can you make sure there are no snakes, squirrels or monkeys around here?' And my point to him was, 'They were here first.'' - Dr Cheong Koon Hean, CEO of HDB, expressed her view on urban dwellers today consider living close to nature a nuisance (Source)
"I find it tiring for politicians to use selective comparison to make a point to serve one's argument. To serve one's purpose." - Feed Me To The Fish chatising Singapore politicians often-use tactics to justify and explain their way out of an unpopular or wrong policy.
"It is the same with encouraging a higher birth rate. Some think we will be awash in babies if we hand out days off like chicken wings at a barbecue. Two hundred years ago, my female ancestor in China probably gave birth to another ancestor, her 24th child, then awarded herself a sinfully extravagant two-hour vacation before picking up her shovel and going back to the rice fields." - John Lui in "Comparing apples, oranges and S'pore" (Sunday times, 24 Jun 2012)
"He who angers you, conquers you. He who irritates you, wins you." - Zeng Guoyuan, the eccentric businessman and political hopeful.
"It's about People, not cattle. Speaking of free markets, I hope Minister Lee Yi Shyan does not get the cattle market or the fish market mixed up with the labour market, which deals with human beings." - The respected Prof Lim Chong Yah in a rare rage lambasted Minister Lee Yi Shyan
"No amount of fried carrot cake, 1980s music or (local TV show character) Barbarella's preening can pull people away from Wall Street, Silicon Valley, top university professorships, or the myriad other reasons why some Singaporeans choose to live abroad. If the aim of the event is merely to remind overseas Singaporeans of their home, it may be even more overpriced." - Liang Kaicheng, an overseas Singaporeans residing in US lambasting STB for spending too much for a event that may be futile (Source: The Straits Times 14 Apr 2012).
"In 1992, the sale of chewing gum was banned in Singapore because it became a nuisance. The authorities should explain why these brutes of a machine should not be labelled as a nuisance in Singapore when the maximum speed limit on our roads is 90km/h." - Rajesh Seth argued fast cars such as Ferrari, like guns are killing machines, should be banned in Singapore, if little nuisance such as chewing gum cab be banned (Todayonline, 17 May 2012).
"Schools generally teach pupils to fear failure, to be obsessively competitive and to be a passive learner. These are not traits that lead to success.....By and large, successful people care deeply about what they do and about the world around them. They have chosen to be excellent, instead of being conformed into compliance. Their examples prove that success is more a matter of will than of skill." - Daniel Wong, author of The Happy Student: 5 Steps to Academic Fulfillment and Success (Source: Todayonline, 10 May 2012)
"Dying shouldn't be mournful if you have a good life. If you were content, you should go happy." - Cancer patient Mrs Joyce Ho on the meaning of dying. (Source: 5 May 2012, The Straits Times)
"Women like to talk things through. For example, when a man asks you if he should buy a car, he expects a direct answer. But when a woman asks you if she should buy a dress, she wants a dialogue. If you want to keep a marriage together, you have to understand this." - An anonymous "Ben" ("Repeat Divorces on the Rise",The Sunday Times, 25 Mar 2012)
"We are bled dry as we keep getting ERP-ed here, CPF-ed there and GST-ed everywhere." - Local Blogger Belmont Lay on why most Singapore households are not earning big bucks to pay their maids well.
"Formal qualifications will give you a leg up in life, but to succeed a person needs "EQ,IQ and AQ (Adversity Quotients)" - Kathleen Tan, Group head of commercials, AirAsia (The Sunday Times, 11 mar 2012)
"It is a cliche that every generation thinks that younger people always come up short against the older set. They are too pampered, their memories are short, and they don't work hard enough. So goes the lament of the older folk." - "Lightweight? Not them" The Sunday Times Editorial, 11 Mar 2012
"The way we treat our elderly will affect the way our children treat us when that day comes." - Dr Lee Siew Peng (The Sunday Times 12 Feb 2012)
"Having only one definition of success breeds conformity, group-think and prejudice. We need possibilities to give us inspiration." - Colin Goh in "Drove but don't get run over" (The Straits Times 5 Feb 2012)
'The key message I want to send to kids as well as to parents is that you can have ordinary parents, ordinary schools, ordinary teachers, but you can still achieve extraordinary results.'- Ron Sim, founder and CEO of OSIM, has pledged $5 million to ST School Pocket Money Fund in his personal capacity. He had made it good rom a humble background. (Askmelah's note: A timely wake up call to many Singaporean parents who believe, or should I say obsessed, in nothing but "branded" schools!)
"Keep the spark alive so that when conditions improve, the spark would become a flame" - The late Kuo Pao Kun
"It's not about how many cars you have, how rich you are. That's disgusting....Corporate raiders like Soros who take countries down and leave their people without jobs, then become philanthropic-would you call him a good man?" - Indonesian tycoon Tahir who donated SGD$30m to local university NUS (Source)
"From a "once in 50 years" event, flooding is now expected in almost every heavy downpour, reducing our first-world roads to a wet mess. But in "No floods in Orchard Rd, just 'ponding': PUB" (Dec 24). this was referred to as "ponding"." - Peter Loon Seng Chee (Todayonline 27 Dec 2011)
"There is no point in going into meetings pretending you are things that you are not or to lie about a portfolio you do not have." - Beatrice Chia-Richmond, on how her firm Running Into The Sun manages to bring top acts like Girls' Generation.
"Singapore is far from a multicultural society. 'Throwing in' people from different races does not create a multicultural society. A society evolves over thousands of years and not by setting a quota for a certain race, whether it is in an HDB estate or elsewhere." - Virdi Bhupinder (The Straits Times, 12Nov2011)
"Our work in KHS helped me realise I did not feel rooted to Singapore because I had few people, place and thing markers that made me feel proud of Singapore." - Dr Gan Su-lin lamented the obliteration of familiar markers making way for new development. (Todayonline, 15Nov2011)
"Have you not seen the Mercedes owner who would rather double park than pay 50 cents for parking?" - Mak Yuen Teen on why some rich men cheat for small amount. (Todayonline, 10Nov2011)
"Whether the world will be around in 500 years will depends on engineers and not on investment bankers or insurance agents." - Terence Swee, CEO of a localSave & Close startup Muvee , The Straits Times 1 Oct 2011
"One of the biggest untapped resource is the ideas and contributions of people, whether entrepreneurs, artists or just ordinary folks. Singaporeans can be the best brand ambassadors for the country."-Koh Buck Song, "Farewell to the 'nanny state' blight", The Straits Times 24 Sep 2011.
“Perhaps we have been overly confident. Despite living in uncertain times, we keep pushing property and car prices to ridiculous new highs. We fund our purchases by taking on more debt which will take our entire lifetime to pay. We live our lives as if the good times will always be here and we will always have our jobs.
Can we see that we are behaving in the same way that the developed world did a decades ago? One day, this house of cards will tumble. We are motivated to chase the Singapore Dream and, as a result, we buy things we do not need, with the money we do not have, to impress the people we do not know." - Christopher Tan, CEO of Providend wrote in an article "Amid turmoil, try to be content" (The Sunday Times Aug 14, 2011)
"The doctor said I'd never do push-ups. I prove her wrong." - Ang Ju Heng, one of the victims of the "Kallang slashings" where Sarawakian robbers cut off four of his fingers on his left hand. The full time national serviceman has gone on to complete a gruelling basic driving course under the Naval Diving Unit.
"By looking at the past, I am reflecting on what we have lost. These days, you are what you buy. what you wear .... Our entire life is driven consumerism." - Canada-based Singapore sculptor Chong Fah Cheong (The Straits Times, Apr 9, 2011)
"Now, Tin Pei Ling and Chen Show Mao. Which do you think should be in Parliament? I mean, seriously..... Yet, the truth and reality is that Tin Pei Ling will get into Parliament, while Chen Show Mao may not." - Anoynmous
"As a nation, Singapore is not exactly known for being a naming genius. We are the country, after all, that spent $400,000 and several months to come up with a name for Marina Bay, and ended up with Marina Bay. We are also the ones who held a naming contest to pick the perfect name for our airport's budget terminal: Budget Terminal" - Fiona Chan, The Sunday Times 13 Feb 2011
"In the 1960s and 1970s, everyone knew one another (in the neighbourhood) and would chit chat at the coffeeshops..... Now, I don't even know who my neighbours are. They keep changing all the time." - Mr Paul Ng, 65, owner of photo developing service, who has been a resident in Holland V for more than 50 years, The Sunday Times Apr 3, 2011.
'When I was at DBS, our colleagues and I believed in growing our own timber. Foreign talent are like infant trees - they collapse at the first sight of a storm. We have to grow our own timber even though it may take longer.' - Former top civil servant Ngiam Tong Dow on hiring top talent for top jobs, "while Singapore companies may hire foreigners for technical jobs, Singaporeans should, as far as possible, run the businesses as CEOs" (The Straits Times 19 Jul 2010)
"The replacement of coffee shops and hawker centres with food court chains, or the substitution of air-conditioned supermarkets for wet markets with sellers hawking their wares, erodes that rustic charm of the Singapore I grew up in. What endears Singapore to me is not the cold rush of air-conditioning nor fluorescent lighting whenever I step into a shopping centre but the familiar uncle or aunty who sells vegetables in the wet market, and friendships forged in the playground. " - Cheryl Ng opined what makes Singaporeans "Singaporean" is not merely the intangible values we cultivate but also the physical environment.
"Charities should not hire talent who are motivated primarily by financial benefits. However, this should apply to any leader, regardless of whether one is looking for a chief executive of a large company, a dean in a university or a government minister. To paraphrase American billionaire investor Warren Buffett, we should look for people with integrity, intelligence and energy when hiring leaders - but integrity must come first." - Associate Professor Mak Yuen Teen
"Money attracts talents. However, money will not be able to buy commitment. Neither will it entice foreigners to rush in to apply for citizenship. Nor will money be able to stem the tide of emigration by our own citizens, if they are not happy to live here." - Dr Wong Wee Nam on the difference in early immigrants and the foreign talents we are trying to attract today.
"Many of these people or their children are migrating and migrants from other countries are replacing them. If this persists, the majority of Singapore’s population will soon be fresh migrants with very little roots to sustain us as a tightly cohesive nation."- Dr Wong Wee Nam on the current immigration policy will turn Singapore into a multi-national office for talented people to work and not a home for our people and our children to stay forever.
"The government wants its citizens to participate but it decides how, what, when and where it should be done. In order for participation to have a meaning, there must be real freedom to generate, test and implement ideas." - Dr Wong Wee Nam on the insincerity of government in seeking feedback.
"Who will want to retire if they can enjoy a multi-million dollar annual salary for doing “forecasting” and still get to travel around the world free?" - Temasekreview.com refuting on LKY's theory that people should not retire if they can.
"Is it practical to keep on working way after retirement age especially in a fast-paced stressful society like ours ? Many local employers prefer to hire younger foreign workers over our older local ones as they are seen to be faster and cheaper.....MM Lee can continue to work at the pace he wants as he is the boss here. He can work half a day or even take a long lunch nap daily without anyone snapping at his work rate. The same could not be said for many others earning a salary at the work place." - Gibert Goh commenting on LKY's impraticable view on retirement.
"Be content with what you have. Be at peace with what you have, or have not, done and achieved. and the best way to do this is not to compare yourself with others" - A retiree Mr Edward Khoo on contentment.
"It is time to let common sense guide us. Let us not be that overly protected child, who would be cluseless in the real world" - Straits Times reader on the need for the government to govern less. He gave examples of raising taxes on cigarettes is not going to deter hardcore smokers from smoking and getting rid of shuttle buses will not stop hardcore gamblers from going to the casinos.
"I have come to terms with the fact that Singapore is a baby country and we need to be looked after....I appreciated the watchdogs. I have learnt to survive and flourish....Yes, there are rules and they are frustrating.....We can do interesting, creative work. Don't let the system get you down" - Dick Lee, arguably one the most talented musicians (if not the best), when asked on his view on the recent Censorship Review commitee report (2010).
"What struck me most was the kampung spirit. In the middle of the night, a Chinese woman would pay for the taxi fare for her poor indian neighbours to take their sick child to hospital. Race didn't matter, everyone helped each other." - Social work pioneer Daisy Vaithilingam on the kampung spirits of the yesteryears. [Editor's note: the rapid urbanisation of Singapore has rendered the kampung spirit nonexistent, it is a sad truth]
"If today we still had Nantah, and you needed bilingual people for China relations, you could find such people any time," - Lee Khoon Choy, ex-MP and Senior Minister of State, believes that the Chinese-medium schools and the Chinese-language Nanyang University (Nantah) should have been allowed to continue. The over-emphasis on English in our education system makes it hard for the new generation to communicate with the Chinese. (The Straits Times, 2 Oct 2010)
"I think a country should have the government,opposition,civil society, then you get a balanced view. Everyone can flourish. A vibrant society is one where everyone is entitled to whatever views they want to hold." -Former lawyer and a former ISA political detainee Teo Soh Lung who voiced her disapproval on the Government's power (under ISA) to indefinitely hold a suspect without charges. (The Straits Times, 11 Dec 2010)
"Perhaps the fact that MPs here face little risk of losing their seats explains the willingness of some to take on so many other commitments." - Mak Yuen Teen on the trends of MPs in Singapore taking on too many directorship and thus compromise their works toward their constituents as compared to the MPs of the other country such as Australia. (TodayOnLine.com, Dec 23, 2010)
"if I can take these on (these challenges) and succeed then most of life's challenges pale in comparison." - Singaporean Thaddeus Lawrenc on his quests to trek the four most inhospitable places on the planet. (Todayonline.com)
"There is more to life than suing people." - Former Presidential hopeful Andrew Kuan who has withdrawn his defamation suit against MP and businessman Inderjit Singh
"I did not fail, my business did." - Entrepreneur Nanz Chong-Komo on her bankruptcy
"It is a chilling thought that in the writing of future history books, the date of the passing of the White Paper will draw a precise line of demarcation separating the old leadership of Singapore, motivated by raw guts, nerve and passion, from the new leadership motivated by the opulence of a lifestyle equal to that of the top company executives in the country."- Catherine Lim, 20 Nov 1994