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Celebrating Our Traditions and Welcoming the Year of the Rabbit

Speech by Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law, at Spring Reception 2023, on 24 January 2023

  1. 大家,新年好!

  2. 非常高兴能在大年初三跟大家拜年祝大家新年快乐,心想事成,万事如意。

    a) 这些年来,宗乡总会和华族文化中心都在初三举办这项大型华社大团拜,让我们同聚一堂,互相祝贺。 

  3. 宗乡总会和华族文化中心是政府推广新加坡华族文化和团结国民方面的重要伙伴 

  4. 我希望华社和文艺界人士都能够继续跟他们紧密合作, 一起共创更美好的新加坡。 

  5. 在此,我祝愿新加坡国泰民安,祝福各位身体健康,事事平安。

  6. 接下来,让我用英语发言。

  7. Happy Lunar New Year to everyone.

    a) This festive period allows us to come together to celebrate, and catch up with one another.

    i) We gather for reunion meals and delicious snacks.

    ii) We make house visits to pay respects to our elders, and receive their blessings for the new year in turn.

    b) These traditions are all part of our intangible cultural heritage, and represent values that are important to us as Singaporean Chinese.


    Values and Traditions in Fostering National Resilience

  8. Our values make our society resilient in difficult times.

  9. Singaporeans have collectively risen to the challenge during COVID-19.

    a) We have seen so many acts of kindness to help each other through these very difficult times, performed for family, friends, neighbours and sometimes even total strangers.

    b) We have banded together in support of common causes, such as to support our hawker culture.

  10. I am sure there will be more challenges ahead – the geopolitical tensions are likely to remain for some time, and the global economic outlook remains cautious and uncertain.

  11. But to overcome these challenges for Singapore as Singaporeans, it is important for us to be united. United as one, united as a people, and that is of the utmost importance.

    a) This requires us to deepen our sense of belonging, strengthen our social bonds, and work on building a better society for each other and our future generations.

    i) We must engage with our arts, culture and heritage, which connects us with our past and our future; fosters understanding and empathy across generations, and builds inclusive shared experiences amongst all of us.

    ii) We also look to our arts and culture, alongside platforms such as volunteering, community participation and sports, to promote opportunities that develop strong friendships and mutual trust amongst us. We must continue doing so and continue to bring people from a diversity of backgrounds together.

      iii) And we work with our communities to foster closeness and a culture of care and consideration for each other, enhancing the resilience of our society.


    Role of the Community and Cultural Heritage in Nation Building

  12. On this note, let me speak about  SFCCA [Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations] and SCCC [Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre]. They both play a very important role in this endeavour.

      a) SFCCA is essential in galvanising support from the community, to lead ground-up efforts to maintain the mutual harmony and respect of our society.

      b) SCCC, in celebrating our unique Singapore Chinese culture, showcases our openness and multiculturalism, enriching our common and shared heritage.

    Conclusion

  13. As we gather to celebrate the Lunar New Year, let me convey my best wishes to SFCCA and SCCC;

    a) In particular, to Mr Ng Siew Quan (Chairman, SCCC), for having taken on this challenge of leading SCCC.

    b) I would like to take the opportunity to also thank Mr Chua Thian Poh (ex-Chairman, SCCC) and his team, for having built up and led SCCC so successfully these last few years, giving us a very strong foundation.

    c) With its new research unit, SCCC will further sharpen its thought leadership on our Singapore Chinese culture.

    d) And SFCCA will continue working with the community and come up with further initiatives to give back to society, in order to foster a more inclusive Singapore.

    e) We look forward to their continued contributions, and hope that the broader Chinese Singaporean community will continue to support their efforts, just as all of you are doing today.

    f) With everyone’s support, I am confident that we will continue to progress in leaps and bounds in the Year of the Rabbit, and bring Singapore to greater heights.

  14. Thank you.

 

Last updated on 25 January 2023