Transcript of speech by PM Lee Hsien Loong at the launch of National Family Week at Suntec Convention Hall 403 and 404 on 4 June 2022.
Mr Ishak Ismail, Chairman of Families for Life Council, families and friends. Good morning to everybody. Very happy to see all of you here gathered today for the launch of our National Family Week. It is a wet morning but it is a warm event.
Importance of Family
Strong families are the bedrock of our society. They are crucial to develop resilient individuals. Our families mould our character and values. They shape our personality and beliefs. They anchor our sense of belonging in our society. Families are also our first line of care and support. We go through thick and thin with family members. They are our strength and support. We turn to them in times of need. The impact of our families extends across generations. People raised in strong and close-knit families are more likely to form such families themselves after they grow up. We look after our kids, when our kids grow up, we look after their children - our grand kids. When we grow old, we hope our kids will help to look after ourselves. So, our family goes on and our society goes on.
The Government will continue to support our families, and foster a Singapore Made for Families. Our marriage and parenthood benefits help Singaporeans realise their aspirations and start families. Our home ownership policies allow the vast majority to own HDB homes and raise families. We have significantly enhanced preschool education, to give every Singaporean child a good start in life; and we are continually expanding support for seniors so that they can age gracefully in the community.
Year of Celebrating SG Families (YCF)
To recognise the importance of families, we have dedicated 2022 as the Year of Celebrating SG Families (YCF). The Year of Celebrating SG Families is led by the Families for Life Council (FFL), which is a people-led movement, in partnership with government agencies, community partners and corporates. The Year of Celebrating SG Families will build upon ongoing efforts to support families across different life stages.
Promoting Core Family Values
One key focus is to inculcate core family values in our children early, for example, love, care and concern, respect, and commitment - values which strong families are anchored on.
Since last year, Families for Life has curated resources to promote family values, and embedded them into our preschool and MOE school curriculum. We also launched Becky Bunny, the FFL mascot, as a fun way to reach out to children.
During the National Family Week, children can learn about family values through fun activities at community locations across Singapore.
FFL @ Community
To promote family values effectively, we need ground support too. For example, FFL @ Community, which was launched in partnership with People’s Association and social service agencies to grow a community-based ecosystem to support families across different life stages. FFL @ Community also relies on a strong and growing base of volunteers, who help to form locale-based parent support groups. FFL @ Community started in Chua Chu Kang and Nee Soon Central last year, and so far, has benefitted more than 2,000 families. We look forward to expanding it into more areas, and including grandparenting programmes. FFL Chairman Ishak told me that one of his aims is to revive the “kampong spirit” where families look out for each other. I commend FFL for their efforts!
Celebrating SG Families Plan
Every family goes through its ups and downs. Different families face different needs and challenges. Some more than others.
That’s why MSF formed the Alliance for Action to Strengthen Marriages and Family Relationships to mobilise whole-of-society support for such families in need. Rallying corporate and community support, including faith communities. We support newlyweds and enriching marriages. We support parents, including single parents, especially to care for the mental well-being of their children. We support families with greater needs, such as those with incarcerated members, and those who experience violence within the family.
I thank AFAM’s public-spirited members for their efforts. Just like the families they support, they too come from all walks of life. They all firmly believe in the importance of strong and resilient families.
AFAM is actively seeking stakeholder, community, and public views to understand the aspirations of our families. It will work with MSF, to incorporate the insights gained from these engagements in a Celebrating SG Families Plan, to be launched at the end of this year.
National Family Week
I am happy to launch the National Family Week today. It is a good opportunity for all of us to celebrate family ties, and remind ourselves of the important roles that family members play in our lives. We look forward to making this an annual event. To take place during the June school holidays every year, with family bonding activities and promotions at retail and F&B outlets. I encourage everyone to participate actively, and wish you all a meaningful time creating happy memories together with your families. Thank you very much.
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