Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat at the Investiture Ceremony of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations 17th Council on 16 October 2021.
Read the English translation of the speech below.
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English translation of the Chinese speech made by DPM Heng Swee Keat at the Investiture Ceremony of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations 17th Council
Mr Edwin Tong,
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second
Minister for Law
Mr Tan Aik Hock,
Senior Honorary Council Member of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA)
Mr Thomas Chua,
President of the SFCCA Council Members,
Guests joining us both in-person and online,
A very good afternoon to all of you.
It is a great pleasure to be invited to the 17th Council Investiture Ceremony of the SFCCA.
Role of the Clan Associations
Over the years, clan associations have played an important role in Singapore’s development. In the early years, many left their homes for “Nanyang” to make a living. Our pioneers supported each other, pooled money and resources to set up clan associations, helping early migrants sink roots in Singapore.
As the country developed, clan associations took on a new mission. They became a key pillar in promoting the Chinese language, culture, and traditions.
Following its formal establishment, the SFCCA has continually facilitated collaboration between clan associations, assisted in their rejuvenation, and contributed to society more broadly.
Today, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SFCCA has continued to fulfil its mission, and found new ways to serve the people.
For instance, as one of the organisers, the SFCCA held this year's River Hongbao in a new, hybrid format so that more people could experience the Lunar New Year celebrations online, even if they could not be there in person.
In addition, the SFCCA led Chinese community groups to help the needy through various charity projects, fighting the pandemic hand-in-hand with the people.
Building on the past for a better future
Our society will continue to develop and evolve, but there is one characteristic that we should nurture and cherish.
Multiracialism and multiculturalism have always been unique features of our society.
In the era of globalisation, our multicultural background is a key strength. It allows us to more easily build bridges with communities around the world.
But the harmony that we enjoy is hard-earned. Every generation must make efforts to maintain it, even as we celebrate the unique cultural traditions of each ethnic group.
I am heartened to see that the clan associations are doing your part to promote the mutual understanding and harmony between the various ethnic groups.
The Chinese cultural activities organised by the SFCCA have incorporated the cultures and traditions of our other ethnic groups. This reflects the multicultural fabric of our society and strengthens the Singaporean identity.
The SFCCA must also evolve with the times. A key aspect is to engage our youths.
In this regard, the SFCCA has rolled out activities that resonate with the younger generation. These include the Youth Sports Festival, a micro film competition titled “My Singapore New Norm”, a short-form video series “This is Singapore”, and more.
In recent years, the SFCCA has also been actively engaging local students, including through internship opportunities for tertiary students. By organising various activities under the SFCCA, these students can learn the ropes from experienced members, hence gaining a deeper understanding of local community groups. In turn, students can contribute with their creative ideas.
The SFCCA has also placed emphasis on nurturing future generations. For example, the Federation provides scholarships for local students to pursue their studies in China, with the aim of cultivating bilingual and bicultural talent. I hope these youths, after graduating, will play a role in leading the SFCCA forward.
I would like to thank Mr Tan Aik Hock and the 16th Council for their contributions and efforts. Congratulations to Mr Thomas Chua for your appointment as President of the SFCCA, and the 17th Council for being elected
I look forward to the SFCCA’s continued efforts to lead the clan associations in passing down Chinese culture and traditions, promoting social harmony, and contributing to the development of Singapore.
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