On the night of August 2nd, the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA), located at Toa Payoh, was filled with the joyous atmosphere of songs and laughter. The “National Day Sing-along” celebration was held there, attracting more than 400 participants from various clan associations, new immigrant organisations and the general public. This heartwarming event  brought together family, friendship and sense of community to celebrate the 43rd anniversary of Singapore’s independence.

This was the second time SFCCA celebrated National Day with a sing-along. Apart from inviting the new immigrant organisations Hua Yuan Association[1], Kowloon Club, Tian Fu Association (Singapore) and Tianjin Association (Singapore), to co-organise the event, this year also invited new citizens to take part in this unique patriotic event.

In his welcome speech, Mr Lim Fang Hua, SFCCA Secretary-General, emphasised the significance of inviting the 4 new immigrant organisations and new citizens to come together, encouraging attendees to uphold the National Pledge – to build a democratic society, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation, regardless of race, language or religion.

The theme for this year’s National Day was “Celebrating the Singapore Spirit!”. Acting Minister for Manpower Gan Kim Yong expounded on his personal perspective on the meaning of the Singapore Spirit. He also shared his wishes for SFCCA and the clan associations to continue upholding their founding principals, which is to demonstrate a caring spirit, extend a helping hand and assist the underprivileged.

Minister Gan believes that the Singapore Spirit is first and foremost reflected in the fighting spirit of Singaporeans. During the nation-building process, our pioneers, government leaders, community leaders, and citizens embodied this tenacious spirit. Their indomitable efforts led us to achieve miracles and lay a solid foundation for the nation, which is something worthy of emulation.

The Singapore Spirit also represents the spirit of teamwork. Minister Gan noted that during the early days of nationhood, people came from different countries and diverse backgrounds, cultures and customs. However, they all managed to take root here, build families and businesses, and work tightly as one people, establishing a prosperous nation.

He emphasised that it was rare and meaningful to have the participation of new immigrant organisations in co-organising the National Day Sing-along. Minister Gan acknowledged the contributions made by foreign talents and migrant workers to the development and social progress of our country. He stressed that we should continue strengthening our teamwork in order to progress into a more prosperous and developed economy.

The Singapore Spirit is also about caring for others, Minister Gan added. To build a warm home and a caring community, it is crucial to care for the disadvantaged. He encouraged our clan associations to stand ready and extend a helping hand, supporting them to move forward together.

The night saw a variety of performances and numerous participating clan associations, surpassing that of last year’s. Together with the award-winning and reputable Nanyang Hakka Federation Choir Troupe and the Hainan Hwee Kuan Harmonica Orchestra, other associations showcased their love and patriotism for the country through performances of singing and dancing, Chinese orchestra, acrobatics, Tai Chi and poetry recitals. SFCCA Council Members, Mr Ho Kwok Choi, Mr Leong Heng Keng and Mr Teh Kwi Huat were present.

Performance troupes and representatives from 21 clan associations  (including 4 new immigrant organisations) presented exciting performances for the night. Singapore Amoy Association’s President Mdm Lin Dengli, Eng Choon Hway Kuan’s Chairman Mr Teh Kwi Huat and Kowloon Club’s Mr Kenny Hui, all participated in the performances themselves, adding to the festive cheer which only ended at around 11 pm.

To ensure the smooth running of the event, various committees under SFCCA provided their full support, with many members arriving early to help out on the ground. Besides helming many meetings to iron out the event’s details, Mr Perng Peck Seng, Director of the Cultural Committee, also personally oversaw the planning and arrangements for the programs on-site.

“Hand in Hand”, an SG Writings memorial publication for the 2008 Sichuan earthquake jointly sponsored by Sam Kiang Hway Kuan and Hainan Hwee Kuan,  raised close to a thousand dollars in the charity sale that night.  All proceeds from the sales will go to the reconstruction of schools that were affected by the earthquake.

[1] Hua Yuan Association (华源会)is a local organisation for new immigrants.