Media Room

Speech by Mr Chua Thian Poh, Chairman, Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre at Spring Reception 2020

Singapore, 27 January, 2020–Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat,
Ministers of States,

Mayors,

Parliamentary Secretaries,

Members of Parliament,

Heads of Diplomatic Missions and government officials,

Board members of Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre,

Council members of Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Happy Lunar New Year!

On behalf of Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre and SFCCA, we would like to extend our warmest welcome to Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat and all our distinguished guests. It has been our tradition to gather annually on the third day of Lunar New Year to convey our warmest greetings to each other for the coming year.

Now, please allow me to continue in Mandarin.

Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat and all our distinguished guests, Happy Lunar New Year!

Welcome to the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre. At this annual Spring Reception, we’re delighted to join hands with the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations in ushering in the new year with all of you.

Since its official opening in 2017 three years ago, the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre has dedicated itself to presenting traditions in innovative ways through a wide variety of programmes. Our aim is to present a channel for Singaporeans, especially the younger generation, to be exposed to local Chinese culture.

Last year, we conducted a survey of respondents from different socio-demographics. Our objective was to know how Chinese Singaporeans view Chinese culture, so as to help us better design programmes for different age groups. The survey found that youths aged between 18 and 35 are still interested in Chinese culture, even if their Chinese language proficiency may not be excellent. Hence, the Cultural Centre’s mission is to engage these young Singaporeans through Chinese cultural activities, so that they will inherit and pass on our Chinese cultural heritage.

The new year promises new hopes. The centre will focus on achieving the following goals this year:

Supporting emerging arts and cultural groups to help create a thriving and vibrant arts scene in Singapore
Earlier this month, we announced two new schemes to seek public proposals for cultural activities and publications. The centre will provide grants to help create platforms for arts and cultural groups to showcase their works. We will also fund publications as part of our ongoing efforts to document and promote Chinese Singaporean culture.

Presenting traditions in innovative ways to expand the Centre’s audiences
As we embark on a new year, we have successfully held our first RE•MIX youth festival two weeks ago. Instead of holding programmes only in conventional spaces, we innovated the use of every space in our building, and even utilised our level 6 carpark as activity space. Through a series of programmes that young people enjoy, such as popular music, street dance and contemporary art, we hope Singaporeans will see that our local Chinese culture can be very cool as well!

Next month, the centre will open a Permanent Exhibition that highlights the distinctiveness, fusion and development of our local Chinese culture. By presenting our daily way of life in a fun and interactive manner, this Exhibition is particularly suitable for secondary school students. We have also invited students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts to jointly produce educational manuals and activity booklets for visitors.

To expand our audience base, the centre has been working closely with the Ministry of Education, universities and community organisations in the content development of this Exhibition. We also hope that this Permanent Exhibition will help our new citizens better understand Chinese Singaporean culture, and become a “must-see” exhibition.

Partnering young local talents to leverage technology and the new media
As part of our Lunar New Year celebrations, the centre has also worked with a young local illustrator to launch the first-in-Asia red packet using Facebook’s Spark AR feature. By using Augmented Reality and simply scanning the QR code, we are able to view Lunar New Year traditions such as exchanging oranges, lohei and lion dance.

This year, our Roof Garden on Level 12 is also transformed into a ‘Huat Huat Land’ with our red packet design and pineapple motifs.  We hope to attract the youths who are regular users of social media to be exposed to local Chinese culture through different platforms. If you have some time later, we welcome you to visit our Roof Garden and take some photographs!

Last but not least, on behalf of my Cultural Centre colleagues, I would like to thank our Guest-of-Honour Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat and our distinguished guests for taking time to be with us. May the Year of the Rat bring you endless good fortune, good health and good luck!

Thank you!

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