首先,恭喜新加坡华族文化中心欢庆 5 周年。在此,我热烈祝贺。非常高兴受邀出席今晚的庆祝会。
华族文化中心在华社里扮演重要的角色,特别是在推动我国华族文化。很多会馆和团体都在这里举办过活动。我和我的同事们都出席过。我希望华族文化中心能够大放异彩让更多新加坡人, 不只是华人, 还包括其他种族同胞,也认识这里。在推动华族文化同时也体现新加坡多元文化社会的价值观。
在此, 我祝华族文化中心百尺竿头更进一步, 为华族和华族文化做出更巨大的贡献, 也为其他种族提供更多认识有关华族文化的平台。
Now let me continue in English.
Since its formation, SCCC has been instrumental in promoting our distinctive Singapore Chinese culture. Since its opening in February 2020, SCCC’s Singapo 人 : Discovering Chinese Singaporean Culture permanent exhibition, it has seen over 70,000 visitors (I was one of them!). The exhibition is a fun but meaningful way to showcase the development and distinctiveness of our Singapore Chinese culture.
SCCC’s signature programme, the annual Cultural Extravaganza, has become a much-anticipated mainstay in the local arts and culture calendar. This festival showcases innovative projects and creations from our local arts and culture practitioners, and has attracted more than 52,000 attendees since 2017 and almost a million online views since 2021.
Even as physical programmes were disrupted during the pandemic, SCCC stepped up its online programming efforts. SCCC’s ‘Kaki Says” and “One of Us” series on our local customs and values, have been viewed almost a million times since the first video was released in 2021.
It is in the context of our multicultural society that we preserve and celebrate our unique cultural heritage and identity. We are same, but also different.
Over time, we have all influenced each other, and added new elements to the uniquely Singaporean way of life. This has created a distinct Singaporean identity that is vibrant, special and worth celebrating. For example, we instinctively use words and phrases from different languages interchangeably in conversations, such as pasar and kopitiam.
For Singapore Chinese culture to further develop, we will need to deliberately strengthen our efforts in at least three areas.
First, we must further deepen our understanding and appreciation of our cultural roots. SCCC and its partners like the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations have contributed greatly here, by safeguarding and passing down time-honoured traditions and art forms to the next generation. But there is still more that we can do to present the evolution of Singapore Chinese culture – from our immigrant origins to its distinctively Singaporean form today.
Second, we must continue to encourage interactions between different communities in Singapore. We must allow Singaporeans, regardless of race, language or religion, opportunities for cultural appreciation and exchange, and the chance to have open and constructive conversations on our cultural identities. We have to take an inclusive approach, and remain open to exploring how different cultures cross-pollinate to shape our unique Singaporean identities.
Third, we have to strengthen our engagement of the next generation, and take care to safeguard our heritage, practices, and little nuances of the distinctive Singaporean Chinese culture. We must encourage our youths to explore what it means to be Chinese Singaporeans. This is a journey of self-discovery which every new generation needs to make through introspection and reflection but also by understanding the perspectives and insights of earlier generations on how Singapore Chinese culture has evolved.
SCCC also recognises this, and will enhance its efforts in new areas to better initiate such conversations.
Later this year, SCCC will set up a dedicated research team on Singapore Chinese culture, to strengthen scholarship, deepen learning, and enrich our understanding of what makes us uniquely Singaporean Chinese.
The new research team is a good initiative. It will also help to safeguard our heritage, working with the community to tap on its rich experiences and expertise, from the likes of academic researchers to interest groups. Through such partnerships, SCCC aims to produce in-depth and thoughtful publications and content on Singapore Chinese culture, all easily accessed via a dedicated website and other public channels. This will support ongoing community efforts to encourage more widespread appreciation of our cultural heritage.
SCCC aims for this new initiative to allow all Singaporeans to get to know a fuller story of the evolution of our Singapore Chinese community and culture, especially since independence. This will deepen understanding of our culture, capture the nuances that makes it unique to Singapore, and record these details for posterity. This will help us develop a distinctive Singapore Chinese identity, as we continue to mature as a country and society.
Once again, let me congratulate SCCC on your 5th anniversary. In a short span of 5 years, you have already established yourself as one of the key institutions in Singapore’s cultural landscape. We look forward to SCCC’s continued success. This will ensure that Singapore Chinese culture continues to be a vibrant, evolving part of multicultural Singapore many years into the future.
Happy 5th anniversary, and I wish everyone a pleasant evening!