Singapore National Day Rally

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The National Day Rally (Chinese: 国庆群众大会, Malay: Rapat Umum Hari Kebangsaan) is an annual address that the Prime Minister of Singapore makes to the entire nation, on the second Sunday after 9 August, the country's National Day .[citation needed] A yearly event since 1966, the Prime Minister uses this rally to address the nation on its key challenges and its future directions, and can be compared to the State of the Union Address delivered by the President of the United States.

Prior to 2005, the rally was a continuous speech from 8:00pm (SST). From 2005, the Malay and Chinese versions were delivered at 6:45 pm with a break at 7:30 pm while the English version was delivered at 8:00pm.[citation needed]

Opposition MPs were invited to the rally for the first time in 2007.[citation needed]

Also, the rally will be made on the last Sunday of August in 2010 and 2012, to facilitate the Youth Olympic Games and the Ramadan festivities, respectively. It may also be available in HD from 2012.[1]


The rally was delivered at the former National Theatre from 1966 to 1982. With the closure and subsequent demolishing of the National Theatre, the Rally was shifted and held at the Kallang Theatre from 1983 (with a break in 1984 since it moved to the Singapore Convention Centre) and from 1985 to 2000. After 2001, the venue was shifted again to the University Cultural Centre at the National University of Singapore. It was also constituted during the parliament sittings. The 2013 and 2014 edition will be delivered from the ITE Headquarters and College Central.[2]

2010 National Day Rally[edit]

The 2010 National Day Rally was held on 29 August at the University Cultural Centre, Singapore. Similar to the past rallies, The speech was broadcast live on TV and radio, as well as webcast live on the websites of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and REACH.[3] It was also viewable on smartphones and on Channel NewsAsia and xinmsn Mandarin. During the speech, there was active discussion by Singaporeans on Twitter and Facebook.

Highlights of the speech are available on the PMO website.[4]

2011 National Day Rally[edit]

The 2011 National Day Rally was held on 14 August at the University Cultural Centre, Singapore. Similar to the past rallies, the speech was broadcast live on TV and radio. A live webcast on the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and REACH's websites. This was also viewable on smartphones live webcast for mobile devices.[5] The English rally was also shortened till 9.32pm.

2012 National Day Rally[edit]

The 2012 National Day Rally was held on 26 August at the University Cultural Centre, Singapore. Similar to the past rallies, the speech was broadcast live on TV and radio. A live webcast on the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and REACH's websites. This is also viewable on smartphones live webcast for mobile devices.[5] Unlike the traditional rallies, it is also the first time that ministers will deliver their speech at 6.45pm, before the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivers his speeches at 8pm. The Prime Minister concluded his speech at 10.10pm.

2013 National Day Rally[edit]

The 2013 National Day Rally was held at 18 August at ITE Headquarters and College Central in Ang Mo Kio. Similar to the past rallies, the speech was broadcast live on TV and radio. A live webcast on the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and REACH's websites. It was also viewable on Channel NewsAsia, xinmsn Mandarin and Toggle. The Prime Minister delivered his Malay and Mandarin speeches at 6.45pm, and went on to deliver his speech at 8pm. He concluded his speech at 9.52pm.

2016 National Day Rally[edit]

The 2016 National Day Rally was held on August 21, 2016 at ITE College Central. The speech was broadcast live on TV, radio, Facebook and on The Straits Times' live blog.[6] The Prime Minister delivered his Malay and Mandarin speeches from 6.40pm and went on to deliver his speech in English from 8pm. At around 9.20pm, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was suddenly taken ill. According to The Straits Times, "thirty minutes after the episode, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean announced that Mr Lee would resume his speech. The Prime Minister's Office also said that Mr Lee had felt "unsteady because of prolonged standing, heat and dehydration". It added: "His heart is fine and he did not have a stroke." At 10.40pm, he returned to speak for another 15 minutes. He looked well and thanked the audience for waiting for him.[7]"


As a national event, the rally is usually broadcast live from 6.45pm till 10pm (SST), with a break between 7.30pm and 8pm, across MediaCorp channels.[8] However, most English rallies were over-run and most programmes on MediaCorp had postponed to the following week but some programmes were shown immediately after the English rally. Most programmes on MediaCorp would resume earlier at 9:30pm or later at 11:00pm if the rally over-ran the scheduled time.

Platform/Language English
Dubbing in English
Dubbing in Mandarin
Dubbing in Malay
Dubbing in Tamil
TV Channel 5
Channel NewsAsia (8pm-10pm)
Channel 8
Channel U
Suria Vasantham
Radio 938LIVE Capital 95.8FM Warna 94.2FM Oli 96.8FM
Online Channel NewsAsia Live
xinmsn (Chinese) - -

The rally was broadcast from 2001 to 2004 on the now-defunctSPH MediaWorks channels as well.

Transcripts of the rally speech are usually available for viewing after the event at MediaCorp news portals, Singapore Press Holdings news portals, the website of the Prime Minister's Office and the online press centre of the Government of Singapore. Highlights of the speeches will usually be reported by Singapore newspapers in the following days.


An article titled "Singapore's National Day Rally Speech: A Site of Ideological Negotiation"[9] analyses the inaugural National Day Rally speeches of three Singapore prime ministers. It locates these speeches in the continuous ideological work that the People's Action Party (PAP) government has to do to maintain consensus and forge new alliances among classes and social forces that are being transformed by globalisation. Increasingly, these speeches have had to deal with the contradictions between nation-building and the tensions between the liberal and reactionary tendencies of the global city.

In 2008, the English language telecast of the Rally, initially scheduled for live broadcast at 8pm on 17 August, was postponed to the next day. This movement was to facilitate Singaporeans to watch women's table tennis team take on China in the finals at the Beijing Olympics. The Rally itself proceeded as usual at the University Cultural Centre, but was only broadcast the next day.[10]

In the 2009 Rally, Singaporeans used the Twitter hashtag #ndrsg to tweet about the Rally.

According to Kenneth Paul Tan of the Lee Kuan Yew school of Public Policy:[9] "The rally speech has also been a part of larger celebrations surrounding the commemoration of Singapore's independence gained on 9th August 1965. These celebrations have come to include a short and formal televised National Day message from the Prime Minister, observance ceremonies held at organizations in the public and private sectors, constituency dinners and ministerial speeches, regularly televised music videos of patriotic songs composed for the celebrations, and - most spectacular of all - a National Day parade that since the mid-1980s has included not only a traditional ceremonial segment , but also high-tech mass performances and re-enactments of the official "Singapore Story" that end on a climax of fireworks (Kong and Yeoh, 1997).[11] Clearly the symbolic and formal aspects of the speech are just as important as its contents, taking Singaporeans collectively to an emotional high. This is especially so during general election years, when the prime minister announces the PAP's "report card" of achievements in government as well as the distribution of election "goodies" to the Singaporean masses - the lower income voters in particular - as a way of reinforcing the image of government as benevolent provider."

"As an annual injection of patriotism, the National Day celebrations help to inoculate Singaporeans against the disenchantment that accompanies advanced industrial societies, whether they are formally classified as capitalist or socialist, democratic or authoritarian. Singaporeans are reminded every year of the PAP's pioneer leaders - Lee Kuan yew and his "lieutenants" (Lam and Tan,1999)[12] - who have been written into the official "Singapore Story" as the brave and far-sighted founders of contemporary Singapore (Loh,1998).[13] Both volumes of Lee's own memoirs - tellingly titled the Singapore Story - have become central texts of the Singapore Story, supplemented by glossy publications such as the National Heritage Boards (1998) Singapore: Journey Into nationhood as well as other educational and information materials"

"The PAP knows that its authority will be secure as long as it remains able to make Singaporeans believe that it can continue to deliver material prosperity and security for all, regardless of race. Therefore, the PAP has had to reassert its relevance constantly by insisting on Singapore's fundamentally vulnerable nature and condition, an insistence that has sustained a culture of fear and arrested the risky global environment, the PAP also knows that the transactional basis on which its authority is built has become fragile and therefore needs to be strengthened by moral authority, what Burns (1978)[14] has identified as a transformative mode of leadership, through which it can uplift, inspire and motivate in times of real crisis."


  1. ^ "Education, economy & babies: Key words and topics featured in PM Lee's past NDR speeches". Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  2. ^ "PM Lee to deliver National Day Rally speech at ITE Headquarters and College Central". Channel NewsAsia. Mediacorp. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "More ways to catch PM Lee's National Day Rally on Sunday". Channel NewsAsia. Mediacorp. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Prime Minister's Office (29 August 2010). "National Day Rally Speech (English) by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 29 August 2010, at 8.00pm at University Cultural Centre, National University of Singapore". Archived from the original on 26 December 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Prime Minister's Office (4 August 2011). "Statement from Prime Minister's office: Prime Minister's National Day Rally 2011". Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "Live stream and updates throughout the National Day Rally 2016". Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  7. ^ hermes (2016-08-21). "Anxiety, then relief, as PM Lee Hsien Loong completes rally after taking ill". Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  8. ^ "MediaCorp to broadcast PM Lee's Nat'l Day Rally Speech "live" Sunday". Channel NewsAsia. Mediacorp. Retrieved 14 August 2008. 
  9. ^ a b Tan, Kenneth Paul (August 2007). "Singapore's National Day Rally speech: A site of ideological negotiation". Journal of Contemporary Asia. Taylor and Francis. 37 (3): 292–308. doi:10.1080/00472330701408635.  Also available online.
  10. ^ "Broadcast of National Day Rally English speech postponed to Monday". Channel NewsAsia. Mediacorp. 16 August 2007. 
  11. ^ Kong, Lily; Yeoh, Brenda S.A. (March 1997). "The construction of national identity through the production of ritual and spectacle". Political Geography. Elsevier. 16 (3): 213–239. doi:10.1016/0962-6298(95)00135-2. 
  12. ^ Er, Lam Peng; Tan, Kevin Yl, eds. (2000). Lee's lieutenants: Singapore's old guard. St. Leonards, NSW.: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 9781864486391. 
  13. ^ Loh, Kah Seng (May 2011). "'No more road to walk': cultures of heritage and leprosariums in Singapore and Malaysia". International Journal of Heritage Studies. Taylor and Francis. 17 (3): 230–244. doi:10.1080/13527258.2011.556660. 
  14. ^ Burns, James MacGregor (2010). Leadership. Harper Perennial Political Classics Series (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 9780061965579. 

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