Speech by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean at the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan’s Spring Reception and Launch of SHHK 180th Anniversary Celebrations on 9 February 2020.
The translation of the speech is provided below.
Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong,
Senior Parliamentary Secretary Sun Xueling,
Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan’s Past President Chua Thian Poh,
President Tan Cheng Gay,
Executive Council Members, Members,
Colleagues from the Affiliated Schools,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon. I am happy to attend the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan’s Spring Reception, and to launch the celebrations for the Huay Kuan’s 180th anniversary.
Last year, Singapore marked our Bicentennial. This year, Hokkien Huay Kan is celebrating its 180th anniversary. The Huay Kuan’s establishment and Singapore’s founding were only 20 years apart. This shows that the Huay Kuan is closely intertwined with Singapore’s history. The Hokkien community has also played a very important role in Singapore’s development.
Among the Singaporean Chinese population, the Hokkiens are our biggest community. Over the past 180 years, the Hokkien community made important contributions to our nation-building in various fields, such as construction, education, commerce, finance, real estate, and transportation. We should all learn from the Hokkien spirit, “Ai Piah Jiah Eh Yia” (You Gotta Fight to Win).
All Singaporeans share this same spirit of tenacity. And all communities have worked together to build the Singapore of today. Today, I would like to talk about how the Government is working together with all Singaporeans to create a brighter future for everyone.
First, we want to ensure that every child, regardless of family background, can have the best start in life. Over the years, Hokkien Huay Kuan has provided good quality primary and secondary education through your affiliated educational institutions. The Huay Kuan started a Pre-School and Cultural Academy, to provide good pre-school education and various educational courses, to nurture students with a passion for Chinese culture. Through the Hokkien Foundation, the Huay Kuan has supported many students in need. I look forward to the Huay Kuan’s affiliated education institutions working together with MOE to implement the important reforms to provide a better and more holistic education for our students.
Second, the Government takes good care of all our seniors. As Singaporeans live longer, more Singaporeans want to continue working.The Government will raise the Retirement Age, to allow our older workers to continue to contribute their knowledge and experience, which will benefit our companies and other workers. I hope that our businesses will support this move.
Third, the Government will continue to take care of our companies to create good jobs for our workers. We have introduced 23 Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs), to help our companies to innovate and transform. The Government has also introduced SkillsFuture, to help our companies to upgrade the skills of your workers.
The recent novel coronavirus outbreak has been a cause for concern for everyone. I would like to thank all our healthcare professionals and all those working hard to keep us safe. All of us should adopt good hygiene practices, for ourselves, and in work places. By keeping ourselves and our workplaces safe, we also help keep Singapore safe.
The Government will also help our affected companies and workers. We will be providing a package to help our companies and workers to tide over this difficult period.
Lastly, I hope that Hokkien Huay Kuan will work together with the government and all communities in Singapore to overcome all challenges, and continue to create a brighter future for Singapore.
I wish everyone progress, happiness and good health in the Year of the Rat. I also wish Hokkien Huay Kuan’s 180th anniversary commemorative activities a resounding success! Thank you.
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