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
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”.
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.
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.
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.
I wish everyone an insightful and memorable time at the exhibition. Have a beautiful evening. Thank you.