Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong at the Redeveloped Zu-Lin Temple Grand Opening on 19 November 2022.
Chairman of Zu-Lin Temple, Mr Ho Kwok Choi,
Abbot of Zu-Lin Temple, Venerable Seck Kwang Phing,
My Parliamentary Colleagues past and present,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning. Let me say a few words in English, and then I will continue in Mandarin later. I am happy to be here on this occasion, to open the newly rebuilt Zu-Lin Temple and to celebrate the Temple’s 33rd Anniversary.
All of you know, the renovation took close to six years, but looking at the new temple, and I had the chance to take a quick tour just now, I can say that it was definitely worth the wait. The temple is twice as big as before, and it now has an iconic 12-metre-tall bronze Guanyin statue. So let me extend my congratulations to the leadership, staff, supporters, and craftsmen – everyone who has contributed to this incredible rebuilding project. Well done!
I am also happy that Zu-Lin Temple has continued to do its part for the community, by providing funding for scholarships and bursaries, as well as donating generously to various charities. Today, the temple will be donating $135,000 to 18 beneficiaries. Some of these beneficiaries are from other religious organisations. Their representatives, as well representatives of other faiths, are also here to mark this special occasion together with Zu-Lin Temple. I think we should give them a big round of applause for their efforts.
Over the years, this sort of inter-faith engagement has become almost an instinctive practice across all our religious groups. It is something we should continue to nurture and strengthen, because this is what makes Singapore truly special. It is enshrined in the founding ideals of our nation – to be a multiracial and multireligious society; a Singapore where everyone is equal, regardless of race, language or religion. Even just now when we saw the young boys playing the drums (onstage at the event), we saw it was a multiracial (performance) team.
Here in Singapore, all the major faiths of the world are present. We are neither a Christian country nor a Buddhist or Taoist country, nor a Muslim country, nor a Hindu country. We are a secular country where Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and people of different faiths can live side by side peacefully and harmoniously. So we come together to celebrate each other’s major milestones, and we support each other’s charitable works and causes. This is what Singapore is about, and we continue to advance this very important cause.
We are able to enjoy this happy state of affairs only through many years of patient effort and hard work. Just look around the world, and we know what we have today in Singapore is something precious and rare. So we should continue to make the effort, to foster more interaction between the races and religions, and widen the common ground we share together, so that we can build a more cohesive society we are all proud to call home.
Finally, let me extend once again my sincere appreciation and thanks to all the members of Zu-Lin Temple for your efforts in inter-faith dialogue and engagements. I am confident that the Temple will continue to serve your devotees well, strengthen religious harmony, and support the disadvantaged and vulnerable families in the community.
Let me continue with some remarks in Mandarin.
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