Mr Thomas Chua at the Spring Reception


Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, Minister Shanmugam,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

1. A very good evening and happy new year to everyone! First of all, on behalf of Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, we wish to thank Minister Shanmugam, Sir, for taking time off your busy schedule to join us today, and celebrating this meaningful occasion with us.

2. 同时,我们也十分感谢各位嘉宾,各位闽属会馆、社团的领导和代表,属校和附属机构的教职员出席今天的新春团拜,一起同欢共庆。

3. 今年,为了配合天福宫的元宵节庙会,新春团拜特地在福建会馆大厦广场举行。天福宫是福建会馆的发源地,183年前,天福宫就附设了议事所,处理本地华社事务,服务各界宗亲。经历了社会一日千里的发展,物换星移的人事变迁,服务宗亲和社区的初衷,始终如一,始终不变。

4. 在感谢会馆各届主席、会长和理事们的同时,我们也非常感谢一路以来,各个社团和社区组织的鼎力支持。在资助教育、推广华族文化、举办社会公益活动的时候,很庆幸能够得到众多个人和团体的支持,大家有钱出钱、有力出力,齐心协力达成目标。

5. 去年12月的新加坡福建文化节就是成功的例子。3天的福建文化节,集合了本地30多家闽属会馆、福建会馆属校以及附属机构的人力和资源,呈献了18项文化讲座、导览、工作坊以及文艺表演,也原汁原味地集中展现了50多种福建美食和特产,让公众能够欣赏到福建表演艺术,品尝到美味的福建佳肴,增进对福建文化的了解。整个活动共吸引了将近一万人参与,在会场可以看到三代同堂,亲子家庭以及青少年到场参加,充分体现了传统文化的传承,让身为主办方的我们倍感欣慰。在此,我要再度向参与会馆和支持机构表达诚挚的谢意。

6. The sense of community involvement and togetherness, is especially pertinent in multi-racial and multi-cultural Singapore. The Chinese New Year is not only celebrated by the Chinese, it is also a time where the festive cheer permeates all corners of the society. Through our unique customs like for example, the Lou Hei, we share our hope for a prosperous year with our Malay, Indian friends and friends from the region and the world. (Last week, the Prime Minister of Malaysia also joined our leaders in Lou Hei!) We share cheers of “huat ah!” with everyone, and take in the colourful festive sights and sounds of Chingay, Kreta Ayer Chinatown and River Hongbao.

7. These are experiences and memories unique to Singapore. These are traditions re-invented and re-created with fellow Singaporeans, not just the Chinese, but where interesting aspects of each culture are incorporated into our celebrations, and everyone can celebrate together. A community that can celebrate together, will stay together.

8. While unity is our strength, as we usher in the Year of the Rabbit, we are reminded to stay agile and adaptable, and to have a keen sense of our surroundings just like the rabbit, so as to react quickly and avert calamities, seize opportunities. On that note, I hope the Year of the Rabbit will bring all of us great opportunities, good health, prosperity, happiness, and every success! Thank you and Happy New Year!

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