A Communication Blog.

National Day Rally 2010, English text of speech in Malay

Posted on: September 11, 2010

Click here for speech. (Scroll down to read English transcript)

            The National Day Rally is a yearly address by the Prime Minister of Singapore to the nation on the second Sunday after 9th August, attending to key concerns and future strategies. The Rally is done in a series of speeches aimed at separate communities. In a speech this year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addresses the Malay population and has to carry out certain rhetorical techniques, as well as ensure that the speech is shaped towards them, in order to effectively convey his message. This entry is an assessment of how he follows the Cannons of Rhetoric throughout the latter speech.

           The first Canon, invention, is necessary for the Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, to analyze audience (Malays), subject (addressing key concerns and strategies), occasion of speech to find material that would move people to belief and action. His major points were these: workforce and immigration, education and extremism. By identifying several themes and keeping to them, it is easy for the audience to have a clear idea of his message thus allowing them to follow up with action, if any is required.

            The Malays are a minority race in Singapore, and PM Lee has to find a way to engage with them despite being part of a majority race. Style is therefore important in increasing audience response. He brings up a Malay proverb (Paragraph 4, last line) when encouraging the race not to be overly complacent, something he knows that his audience would be able to easily comprehend and link to his argument. Such lines also appeal to the ethos of the audience as using the latter’s language can be seen as closing the racial gap between audience and speech maker. Throughout the speech, his sentences are kept short with paragraphs and key points rarely extending beyond ten lines. This helps to keep the message succinct for the audience, whose attention might wane after sitting through a prolonged duration of time during the Rally.

            For the next Canon, arrangement, the Prime Minister has to remember tact and carefully place his ideas in order of importance and justification. He starts the speech by advising the audience to be consistent in the midst of good results after recovering from the previous year’s stormy economic climate (Paragraph 2), which is important should continued progress in the economy be achieved. Early in the speech (Paragraph 5-8) he also addresses the worries of the Malay population and his plans to assuage them. Both points are kept at the beginning of the speech as they are primary concerns of the speech maker and audience respectively. The order of the speech is essential to logos, or wording and logic of the message. Logos is important as the Rally is televised. As a result, key arguments have to be well paced throughout the speech. By systematically bringing up different points, PM Lee ensures that countless who tune in at intermitting points would be able to follow his speech.

              Sensitive issues are brought up last as there is a need to foster goodwill between speech maker and audience before treading on what seems to be relatively thorny ground. In this speech, PM Lee congratulates and compliments the community on their many achievements, including accomplishments in the recent Youth Olympic Games (Paragraph 11-13). After ensuring he means no malice, he brings up the topic of radicalism in the Malay community, which is an increasingly controversial issue in recent years. He has to be careful not to marginalize the Malays, and watch his decorum and speech delivery. Delivery is the last canon and although considered the least important by many theorists, it is no doubt necessary in order to engage the audience and keep them interested – imperative if PM Lee intends to get his message across.

            In conclusion, the speech is well arranged and executed, considering many other factors. There is however little scope in this particular speech (there are only three main points) but this may have been countered by additional speeches in the Rally not considered in this entry.


5 Responses to "National Day Rally 2010, English text of speech in Malay"

Hi Jolyn!
Yeps! i truly agree with what you have mentioned above.PM Lee’s speech was well coordinated, a good sense of delivery in conveying his message to his audiences of different races.He was also clear in his message, identifying and addressing issues straight to the point!

I guess we have to balance race relations well, we don’t want a civil war to out break here. Besides we are all happy citizens living well with each other. Normally, government speeches are well crafted and address the issues. Therefore, we can learn the way speeches are wrote and how they bring out the speeches.

It is already wonderful that our National Day Rally is always done live in 3 different languages – Mandarin, English and Bahasa Melayu. The Indian version is being subbed but it’s amazing as to how the Singapore media wants to cater to everyone in the country, regardless of the language they speak. Language is really an amazing tool of communication as even though the National Day Rally is done in different languages, the message, tone and everything else can also be delivered to the audience.

i think that Singapore is really a multi racial society because not only do we have racial harmony day, but our national speeches also concern the different racial groups in singapore. The approach our prime minister takes is very emcompassing and we see success in this through the ways in which he talks to the different races and also the policies that he makes that would benefit everyone as well. these speeches not only appeal to our logos but pathos as well.

hello friend!

Yeah, I agree with what you said. As the leader of a multi-racial society, it is important that PM Lee himself shows respect for the malay race, to not only earn the respect of the malay community, but also to serve as an example for fellow chinese (or indian, eurasian) to emulate.

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