A lot of people have complained about diabetes being one of the main topics mentioned during PM’s National Day Rally speech this year.

Indeed, the word “diabetes” was mentioned no fewer than 34 times in the speech, which seems like a large number when you compare it to, say “smart” (since Smart Nation was one of the other main topics) – which only featured 13 times in the speech. And when diabetes was mentioned, it was mentioned a lot.


Source: PMO website

Because of this, many people have kao beh kao bu that PM’s speech is not forward looking, focusing too much on just one disease, what about the train breakdowns, etc. etc.

But, actually: what are the facts?

  1. Diabetes is really scary, leh.

One third of Singaporeans above 60 have diabetes – and 1 in 10 Singaporeans of any age. So it’s really a very prevalent disease. But maybe it doesn’t receive that much attention because it’s not one of those terminal illnesses – unlike cancer, for example, you rarely hear of people “dying from diabetes”.

But lots of people actually do.

It’s an “invisible” disease that, without you knowing it, may cause you to have a stroke, a heart attack, or kidney failure – all of which can easily (and often do) kill a person.

  1. Unlike most other common and severe diseases, diabetes is preventable

Another reason it might be useful to talk about diabetes on national TV is that, unlike most other serious diseases, this one is actually quite preventable/manageable with behavioural change.

This is probably why PM spent so long talking about changes to diet, exercise, and daily habits. All of these can prevent even a person who has diabetes in his family, from having diabetes.

So if some relatively small changes to your daily routine – asking for kopi o kosong instead of kopi with condensed milk, or having water instead of Ribena – can potentially save your life… Then that’s not a bad thing to spend some time talking about, right?

  1. PM actually spent more time talking about… something else

And anyway, actually, diabetes did not even win the most-loved word championship! The real winner was…


The word “school” was mentioned no less than 51 times in his speech, including 37 instances that were specifically “preschool” – both counts exceeding that of “diabetes”.


A preschool for you, a preschool for me, a preschool for everybody!
Source: PMO website

So, actually, the speech quite forward looking, lah… All about creating a better start for our next generation. I can get on board with that.

~ ~ ~

Anyway, I don’t know about you, but in the end, the thing I’m most excited about from PM’s NDR is neither of the above.

The thing I was most happy to hear about was… all the new Smart Nation apps being developed! Especially Parking.SG. No more tearing parking coupons? No more having to queue at 7-11 when you’re running late for a meeting? No more finding rubbish bins for those annoying little round pieces of paper? No more running and sweating to the car because you worry the parking auntie lai liao? Shiok lah, sign me up!