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Total Defence: PM Lee posts pic of MacDonald House with S'pore flag

With strong Total Defence, Singapore has come a long way since 1965, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

Posting a picture of MacDonald House flying the Singapore flag, he wrote on his Facebook page:. "Today is Total Defence Day. This is MacDonald House today, flying the Singapore flag, against our beautiful city skyline."

He was referring to the bombing of the Orchard Road building in 1965 and the recent diplomatic row with Indonesia, which named a navy ship after the two men executed here for the attack.

Later, speaking at a Teck Ghee Chinese New Year dinner, Mr Lee urged Singaporeans to stay united. "Because we are strong, because we are special, we're successful, we're respected around the world. That is why Singapore can stand tall, and hold our own beside much bigger countries," he said.

"If we are small and unsuccessful, small and weak, I think people may be polite with you, people may say the right thing to you, but you can be sure people will also be able to take advantage of you.

"But if you're small but a shining red dot, that's different. Then they will know this is a serious country. It may be small... but it knows what it is doing. It can succeed, it can look after itself, it can contribute and cooperate with the others."

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen spoke earlier at the 30th anniversary of Total Defence at the National Museum. As a small country, Singapore will always be vulnerable, he said, but our way of life will be secure if succeeding generations can be convinced of the need to stay united and strong.