Speech by Minister Desmond Lee at the Launch of Shine A Light 2021

Dec 1, 2021

I am delighted to be here for the launch of Shine a Light, one of the highlights of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown, in support of the Singapore Together movement.

When we first organised the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown back in 2005, it drew 160,000 visitors. The event has grown in size and scale over the years. But it has never been just about the exciting activities or the programming. At the heart of it all, is our commitment to make Marina Bay that special place for Singaporeans.

In the early days, parts of Marina Bay served as entry points for visitors as well as new arrivals to Singapore seeking opportunities and a better life. We have come a long way since then. Today, Marina Bay is a thriving precinct, not just a place for enterprise and commerce, but a place for everyone to enjoy – a People’s Bay.

Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2022 and Shine a Light

As part of this year’s countdown, the facades of iconic Marina Bay landmarks will be lit up with a series of light projection shows, featuring artworks by local students, a collaboration between the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre. The waterfront promenade will also be transformed into a colourful and fun space with creative light installations.

Another highlight of the countdown is Shine a Light. It was first organised as part of last year’s countdown, where 60 light beams were projected from The Promontory, designed to symbolise unity, positivity, and resilience. It symbolised our spirit in navigating the darkness of the pandemic.

This year’s Shine a Light is even more special, with a focus on social and community issues.

The Majurity Trust has partnered URA to organise this event, and included a fundraising campaign as part of Shine a Light. Light beams will once again illuminate the Marina Bay skyline, this time to rally support for vulnerable groups, including those who have been hard hit by COVID-19, and to pay tribute to the unsung heroes in our community, who are working tirelessly to meet the needs and to brighten the lives of those around them.

On the last few days of 2021, these light beams will be lit up in magenta, to represent the spirit of Singapore Together, as we celebrate the partnerships forged between Singaporeans to create a more caring, just and equal society with opportunities for all.

Donors, corporates and individuals can ‘adopt’ one of the 60 light beams at The Promontory, to show commitment to brighten up the lives of those in need. I am delighted to announce that The Majurity Trust has raised over $700,000 through this campaign, crossing the half-way mark towards their goal of raising $1.2 million by the end of this year.

The funds raised will go towards five grants that support vulnerable communities in Singapore. Such as the Musim Mas BlueStar Fund, which supports non-profit organisations that deliver services for children and youth facing mental health challenges; and the Singapore Strong Fund, which provides funding for ground-up community efforts that have helped our nation weather the storm amidst the pandemic. These five grants will provide charities as well as ground-up groups a head start as we enter 2022.

Various groups have contributed greatly to this fundraising campaign, and I would like to express my deepest appreciation to them. Thank you to the TL Whang Foundation, Dr Stephen Riady, and BinjaiTree Foundation, for leading the way with your generous contributions.

The launch of the Shine a Light display at The Promontory this evening marks the start of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2022. We not only mark the end of the year, but also reaffirm our commitment to care for those around us.

Continued partnerships in an ever-changing environment

On this note, I would like to thank community partners like The Majurity Trust and the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre for working with us to make the year-end countdown a meaningful and special one. Much work and thought has gone into organising this event.

Such close partnership with the community will become ever more important, as Singapore journeys forward in an ever-changing world. COVID-19 has been difficult for all of us, and the discovery of a new, troubling variant has added to the uncertainties that we face. And beyond COVID, we have to grapple with many other major shifts – climate change, increasing digitalisation, an ageing population, a maturing society with evolving aspirations. To keep up with all these changes, we need to harness our diversity as a source of strength, drawing on the different skills and perspectives of all Singaporeans, across the people, private, and public sectors.

That is really what the Singapore Together movement is all about. All of us, from different walks of life, coming together to form strong partnerships and to do our part – not only to exchange ideas, but also to roll up our sleeves and take action, to address real issues on the ground.

For example, The Majurity Trust is actively bringing people together to support vulnerable communities, and they have rallied over 200 philanthropists and donors since 2020, raising close to $12 million to support 230 charities and ground-up groups in Singapore.  The social service agencies and volunteers fueled by these efforts have gone on to reach over 300,000 beneficiaries.

I hope that every one of us in Singapore will come onboard the Singapore Together journey. You can check out the ongoing Shine a Light campaign, or join one of our many Alliances for Action, which tackle issues from supporting youth mental well-being to uplifting lower-wage workers, or volunteer with one of our Government agencies or community partners doing work on the ground. All contributions – big or small – will go a long way.


As we look back at the past year, and usher in the new year together, I’m sure that we all have many reflections. It’s been a tough, difficult year, and many of us may wonder – what will the new year bring?

But I hope that, as we enjoy the light display of this year’s Marina Bay Singapore Countdown, let us reflect and take comfort in the knowledge that as long as we continue to shine a light for each other, to face the future with hope, courage, and above all, unity – then we will make it through together, no matter what comes our way.

I thank you all, and I wish you all a delightful evening and season’s greetings.