A Singapore Government Agency Website
  • whatsapp

Celebrating the Legacy of the Singapore Chinese Community

Speech By Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister Of State For Culture, Community And Youth & Trade And Industry, At The Opening Of Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall’s “Connections Across Oceans: Early Chinese Mutual Aid Organisations” Exhibition on 10 March 2023

  1. 很高兴来到晚晴园,为《五湖四海同心义:早期华社互助组织特展主持开幕;也很高兴看到各个宗乡团体的代表和华社的领导们,拨冗前来出席典礼,让这个特展特别有意义。
  2.  这次展览由晚晴园和美国柏克莱加州大学东亚图书馆合作策划,探讨互助组织源远流长的历史。不论是在美国或新加坡,华社互助团体都秉持着促进乡谊、互助互惠的精神,为社区服务;特别是在开埠初期,许多宗乡互助团体在社会慈善公益、教育、以及建设公共设施如医院、蓄水池等方面,做出了十分重大的贡献。因为有前辈们的付出,造福了一代又一代的新加坡人,不仅仅是华人,而是所有的新加坡人。
  3. 新加坡的开埠、建国以及发展,离不开本地华社互助团体的团结精神以及鼎力支持。时至今日,新加坡仍然有200多家华社宗乡团体和互助组织,继续扮演着凝聚社群、照应社区的重要角色。尤其是在疫情时候,大家挺身而出,帮助弱势群体和家庭。即使面对时代的变迁,许多社团仍然秉持着先贤的创会宗旨,在多元种族、多元文化的社会环境中,照顾乡亲,致力于传承自身独特的文化特色以及优良传统价值观,共同创造独特的新加坡华族文化,为新加坡的社会和谐与包容,做出重大的贡献。
  4. 本地多个宗乡互助团体历史悠久,留下许多宝贵的文化遗产。实体建筑如福建会馆天福宫、粤海清庙、广惠肇碧山亭文化廊、应和会馆等等,以及我们今天所在的晚晴园,都是能让新加坡人多了解社群历史、温故知新的好去处。此外,许多互助组织也都珍藏了许多宝贵的文物以及无形的文化遗产,例如独特的方言文化、传统表演艺术、口述历史等等,并通过文化节、文物展览、纪录片、出版书籍等等方式进行推广,传承给下一代。这些努力十分令人敬佩,也可以进行跨代的交流。
  5. 晚晴园这次的展览,不仅展示了各会馆的珍藏,也旨在共同推广华社的文化遗产,让公众有机会更深入地了解华社的历史,所扮演的角色,以及互助的精神。大家今天的出席意义重大,不仅展现了对展览的重视和鼎力支持,也一起展示了华社的凝聚力和团结的精神。
  6. 有了这份凝聚力和团结精神,我们有信心未来无论碰到任何挑战,都一定能够同心协力,把握机遇,越战越勇。
  7. 接下来,我将以英语发言。
  8. Good evening. And a warm welcome to members from different mutual aid organisations and Chinese clan associations who have joined us here. We want to thank you all for working with the Government, especially during the three years of COVID-19, and for lending us the artefacts. Today, I am delighted to be here with you to launch this new special exhibition, “Connections Across Oceans: Early Chinese Mutual Aid Organisations”.  
  9. In partnership with the C.V. Starr East Asian Library, University of California, Berkeley, this exhibition traces the history of early Chinese mutual aid organisations in Singapore and San Francisco through the 19th and 20th centuries. This exhibition is very unique. While many exhibitions focus on Singapore and Southeast Asia, this particular exhibition is intercontinental and shows the similarities of what the Chinese migrants would do when they stay rooted in a new society. It showcases how these organisations have served their communities generously and selflessly since their inception. For example, they started schools and hospitals which laid strong foundations for the community and continue to benefit generations up till today. This unique exhibition celebrates the excellent civic spirit of our pioneering forefathers in Singapore. This enduring aspect of our distinct Singapore Chinese culture has contributed to our growth and it’s a legacy we are proud of.
  10. In their role as custodians of Singapore Chinese arts, culture and heritage, mutual aid organisations help us appreciate and celebrate important values that have bonded us and upheld our growth as a people and community, even through our darkest moments. During peacetime, we strengthen our social fabric to put us in good stead to overcome adversity and crisis, such as in the past three years of COVID-19. I am grateful and heartened to learn that 10 different associations have partnered the Memorial Hall in this special exhibition by loaning their artefacts and sharing their community collections. Thank you for contributing to the rich heritage displayed in this exhibition. 
  11. In closing, I would like to represent MCCY and NHB to express our gratitude and appreciation to the clan associations and mutual aid organisations for making this exhibition possible. To all Chinese clan leaders and representatives present today, we want to thank you for your invaluable contributions and service to the Chinese community and Singapore. You have enriched our shared Singapore heritage which forms a key part of our unique national identity, which is an important part of our Unite pillar as part of Forward SG.
  12. I wish everyone an insightful and memorable time at the exhibition. Have a beautiful evening. Thank you.
Last updated on 20 March 2023