Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong at the Opening Ceremony of the Boys' Brigade Share-a-Gift 2022 on 21 November 2022.
President of The Boys’ Brigade in Singapore, Mr Poh Leong Berg
Chairman of The Boys’ Brigade Share-a-Gift Project 2022, Mr Henry Tan
Boys’ Brigade Members,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good evening to everyone and I am so happy to see all of you here this evening and to join you for the launch of The Boys' Brigade Share-a-Gift project.
Since 1988, the Boys’ Brigade has been organising this project every year to deliver kindness and goodwill to the less fortunate in Singapore. In the first year when this project started, there was only one collection gift point in Orchard Road. Now, the Boys’ Brigade collects gifts all over Singapore, and online too, and seeing the boys in blue fanning out all over the island has become synonymous with our year-end festivities. So the Boys' Brigade has certainly come a long way since it started 35 years ago.
Today, we are very happy that we can all be here to kick start the 2022 Share-a-Gift season. As you heard just now, this year’s Share-a-Gift season is going to be extra special for several reasons. That is why we are having this concert in this room this year to kick start the season. It’s special because this year marks the 35th Anniversary of the Share-a-Gift project. That makes it extra meaningful. But importantly, it is also extra special after all that we have been through in the past 3 years — going through the pandemic, tackling wave after wave of infection. And I’m sure everyone is looking forward to seeing some normalcy in our lives. The pandemic is not over, but we certainly hope the worst of it is behind us, and so we can finally – for the first time since the pandemic started – look forward to a full resumption of activities for Christmas and for our Year-End celebrations. So let me congratulate everyone in the Boys’ Brigade for putting together this year’s project and reaching this important milestone. Thank you for steadfastly contributing to the community, and to Singapore all these years. Let’s give all of them a big round of applause!
We certainly have a lot to give thanks for in Singapore this festive season. In particular, we are very fortunate that everyone in Singapore came together with that strong spirit of solidarity, unity and purpose to tackle the pandemic together. And because of that, we are in a much better position today compared to many other countries. Our fatalities from Covid-19 are amongst the lowest in the world; and our economy has also rebounded as we opened up. But of course, we are confronting new challenges today. We can see besides the pandemic, the global economy has been impacted by the ongoing war in Ukraine, disruptions in food and energy supplies, as well as slower economic growth and rising prices everywhere. Singapore is impacted by these global trends as well. That is why we recognise that there are in our midst disadvantaged and vulnerable families and households who are facing difficulties during this period.
And that is why it is important now, more than ever, to sustain that spirit of togetherness that saw us through the last 3 years of the pandemic. The government will certainly do our part and we will do more to help families in need – we are rolling out many, many measures to provide more protection for families and help cushion the impact on higher prices. Next month, in December, adult Singaporeans will get up to $700 in help, for example. And then in January, you will get $300 in CDC vouchers. I think all of you will get something, so this is part of the package of measures we have been rolling out.
But government support alone cannot replace that spirit of fellowship and giving that is so essential for our community. So in this year’s festive season, I hope all of us will do our part to show our collective care and concern for our fellow Singaporeans by supporting this Share-a-Gift project.
The Boys’ Brigade will certainly be leading the way on this. I would like to commend the more than 4,000 members of the Boys’ Brigade who have decided to spend their December holidays here in Singapore collecting donations, as well as packing and delivering hampers to the less fortunate. As you heard just now, they will be reaching out to over 43,000 households in Singapore. I hope you will continue in your passion to serve the community and inspire fellow youths and Singaporeans to give back. And I have no doubt that this meaningful experience will help all of our Boys’ Brigade members become “Sure and Steadfast” leaders of tomorrow. Let’s give a round of applause to encourage and thank them.
Of course, as we all know, great achievements are rarely made by us acting alone. It’s always about what we can do together as a team. And so I would also like to acknowledge and thank the many sponsors and partners who have made this year’s project possible. Whether it is by providing volunteers, donations, or technical expertise, your participation is vital to the success of this project. And many of you have also been long time sponsors, not just one, two years but more than 10 years. So thank you to all our sponsors and partners for your generosity and support. Thank you very much too.
Finally, if there is anything this annual Share-a-Gift Project reinforces, it is this simple truth – that we are all in this together, and everyone in Singapore can make a difference for our community and our nation, so I would like to echo the call made just now for all of us to uphold the spirit of giving this year. We can all do our part, whether it is by making donations in terms of money or in-kind. Or by contributing and volunteering our time as the Boys’ Brigade will be doing with their volunteers and partners by helping with the delivery of items to the beneficiaries.
All of us have something to offer. And if we work together, if we continue to uphold that strong spirit of solidarity and unity, we can help uplift those around us, and we can build a more gracious and inclusive Singapore. So let us give generously to this year’s Boys’ Brigade Share-a-Gift project. I am certain that, united in our efforts, we can make it a huge success this year and we can end 2022 on a more positive note. So, thank you very much and all the best to all of you as the year ends. Thank you.
Explore recent content
Explore related topics