Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
Mr Chua Thian Poh, Chairman of Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour in my capacity as the chairman for the judging committee to be here to witness the presentation of the 3rd Singapore Cultural Contribution Award, organized by the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.
The Awards are presented annually to one individual and one organization in recognition of their contribution to the promotion and development of Chinese culture in Singapore.
First let me briefly introduce you to the distinguished members of our judging committee.
Mr Hee Theng Fong is a senior lawyer with over 30 years of experience and also a board member of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.
Professor Eddie Kuo is Emeritus Professor and Founding Dean of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at NTU. He is currently an advisor to UniSIM.
Mr Lim Jim Koon, the former editor-in-chief of Chinese Media Group, Singapore Press Holdings, is an advisor to Peking University as well as Adjunct Professor at both UniSIM and NUS.
Ms Woo Mun Ngan is the Associate Editor cum ‘Fukan’ editor, Chinese Media Group NewsHub and is well-known for her reporting on the arts and cultural topics.
Professor Quah Sy Ren is Associate Professor in Chinese at the School of Humanities, NTU. He is currently a board member of The Theatre Practice and The Finger Players.
Ms Quek Yeng Yeng has served for many years as Deputy Director of Sector Development (Traditional Arts) in the National Arts Council and has contributed to strengthening arts organisations.
Just as in the previous two years, we are encouraged that a healthy number of nominations were received this year. There are 23 nominations for individuals and 9 for organizations –from the performing arts, visual arts, literature, education, folk customs and research fields.
Among them, 18 individual and 4 organization nominations are new. It is heartening to observe that Chinese culture is very much alive in Singapore. It is evolving as it is actively nurtured by a growing number of individuals and organisations. To elaborate, great pains are taken to uphold the high standard of traditional culture, at the same time no effort is spared to keep pace with changing times and embrace our own distinct multi-ethnicity.
I am happy to announce that the recipients are Mr Kua Bak Lim for the Individual category and Ding Yi Music Company for the organisation category.
Mr Kua is a well-respected local historian who is active in local Chinese clans and associations and has contributed to many documentation and research projects related to our Chinese community.
He is a prolific writer, the editor of many significant local history publications, and also serves as an advisor for various committees and institutions both here and overseas.
Especially of note is his role as Chief Editor of the milestone publication A General History of the Chinese in Singapore, which covers 700 years, from the 14th century until today. The publication reaffirms the contributions of the Chinese community to our island-state.
We hope that his life’s work will spur the interest of many, especially younger Singaporeans, to better understand our history, and inspire others to pursue further research. Our history is filled with many interesting but lesser-known personalities, events and places that deserve greater appreciation. In this respect, Mr Kua has set a high benchmark for others to aspire to.
Our other recipient is Ding Yi Music Company. Established in 2007, this is a dynamic and energetic group of musicians who have consistently contributed to the genre of Chinese chamber music for the past 12 years. Their music is creative, innovative and often incorporates elements of local culture.
Not only are they active in the promotion of Chinese chamber music, they have presented many educational and community programmes, and have initiated festivals and competitions as well. Hence, they are often regarded as champions of this genre in Singapore.
Having steadily evolved from a group of amateur musicians to a professionally managed company, they have amply demonstrated their dedication.
Through their innovativeness they are a wonderful example of how younger groups can keep traditional art forms relevant, alive and exciting to contemporary audiences.
Like Mr Kua, we hope the success of Ding Yi Music Company can serve as an inspiration for those who are passionate about transmitting our culture and traditions to younger Singaporeans.
My warmest congratulations to Mr Kua Bak Lim and Ding Yi Music Company on being conferred the 3rd Singapore Chinese Cultural Contribution Award this year.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the members of the Judging Committee, the award nominators, and the staff of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre for their sterling efforts