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Celebrating diversity for a united, distinctive and strong society

Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth at Singapore Khalsa Association’s Vesakhi Mela 2018
14 April 2018

Members of the Sikh Community

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Introduction

1. Good afternoon everyone! It gives me great pleasure to join all of you here today, at the Vesakhi Mela 2018.  

2. This Mela, or carnival, to celebrate Vesakhi has been organised by the Singapore Khalsa Association (SKA) and the Sikh community since the 1960s. Traditionally, Vesakhi is celebrated through festivals at a time of harvest, when farmers reap the fruits of their labour. Now, it has become an opportunity for the Sikh community to share its rich cultural traditions and values with other Singaporeans. 

The Sikh community is working together with wider society to share its rich culture and embrace diversity

3. The theme of this year’s festivities is “One Community, Embracing Diversity”. As Singapore becomes more diverse, it is all the more important for us to reach out and build strong relationships with one another. This is aligned to the work we do at MCCY, which is to make Singapore a united, distinctive and strong society. We recognise that building up these relationships and trust takes time. But it will become easier if we make an effort to understand and appreciate the cultural practices of other communities.  

4. I would therefore like to commend the SKA for extending the cultural events and sports competitions of this Mela to Singaporeans of different races and backgrounds. Various sporting competitions in football, hockey and netball have attracted players of multiple ethnicities. The SKA Cultural and Ladies Wing has also lined up activities with participation from diverse groups. In addition, the SKA is involving our foreign workers in the Mela on their off-day tomorrow, making this an inclusive event for everyone.   

5. Such initiatives underline the multi-racial and multi-religious harmony we enjoy in Singapore. I would like to encourage the SKA to continue sharing your culture and traditions with others.   

Sporting traditions and the spirit of volunteerism are prominent features of this celebration

6. I understand that sport is a highlight of the Vesakhi Mela. Indeed, sport has the power to bring diverse people together, and inculcate values such as teamwork and resilience. This year, SKA has partnered the Singapore Sikh Education Foundation to engage students from kindergarten to Secondary school levels, hosting a Sports Day in conjunction with the Mela. I hope you will continue to participate in sport, and make it a life-long passion. 

7. I would like to extend my appreciation to all the volunteers behind the various sporting events for the children and youth at the Mela. Thank you for your hard work in ensuring that the events run smoothly. Through volunteerism, I hope you will continue to grow the spirit of SG Cares, a national movement to support Singaporeans in giving back to society. 

Conclusion

8. Congratulations to the SKA and the Sikh community for organising the Mela! I wish all of you an enjoyable and memorable weekend. 

Last Updated: 16 April 2018

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