Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 October 2021
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the Republic of Indonesia gave the 25th Singapore Lecture on 16 February 2005, less than four months into his presidency and less than two months after the devastating Boxing Day tsunami that hit Sumatra. He was introduced by Senior Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong. Yudhoyono was an active foreign policy president and a strong supporter of ASEAN. His lecture focuses on Indonesia's domestic challenges and Indonesia-Singapore relations.
My good friend Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong; Excellencies; Ladies and Gentlemen.
Thank you, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, for your kind words and for graciously agreeing to chair our session today. We remember you as an able statesman and a good friend of Indonesia, who did exemplary work carrying the baton from Singapore's remarkable leader, Lee Kuan Yew.
I wish to begin by thanking ISEAS for inviting me to give the Singapore Lecture here today. Since having been elected President, I have given several keynote speeches at different forums, but this is the first time since I received my doctorate degree that anyone has asked me to give a “lecture”. As flattering as this is, I do not feel that I am in a position to lecture to an audience made up of Singapore's best brains. In fact, Singapore, being the world's most successful city-state, has a lot to tell the world about the lessons of governance.
I stand here today to speak about “the challenge of change for Indonesia”.
All of you in Singapore know the meaning of “change” very well. I know of no other country in the world which has changed as rapidly and as frequently as Singapore. In the last few decades, you have transformed this island into a modern city-state, a world-class trading, manufacturing, financial centre, thus making Singapore relevant—relevant to the region, relevant to the world economy.
There are many ways to measure “greatness” in a nation, but history tells us that the measure of a country's greatness lies in its ability to adapt—adapt to changing times, adapt to new challenges, adapt to emerging trends, adapt to new terrains.