On 25 January 2012, the annual Spring Reception was collaboratively hosted by the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA) and Business China. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and guests such as Minister Lim Swee Say, Minister Gan Kim Yong, Chinese Ambassador to Singapore Wei Wei, former Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing, Minister of State Lee Yi Shyan and several other members of Parliament also attended the reception. Over 500 guests, clan leaders, Business China members and people from all walks of life gathered in the hall of SFCCA, to welcome the auspicious Year of the Dragon.
During the reception, Dr Chua Thian Poh, President of SFCCA, announced that the association is currently looking into the establishment of a Chinese cultural centre, so as to forge closer connections within the Chinese community. This centre aims to serve as a platform for the Chinese community to interact and engage in activities together, as well as to attract new immigrants and facilitate their integration into the local society.
“This centre will raise awareness on Chinese culture and art, traditional customs and Singapore’s unique cultural diversity. It will also showcase quality performances and provide spaces for exhibitions and events. Apart from promoting local Chinese culture to the public, the centre also aims to encourage interaction across different races, making Singapore a more gracious and inclusive society.”
Dr Chua Thian Poh hopes that the government and people will give this meaningful project their fullest support, such that this centre will come to fruition and reap long-lasting benefits for society.
Four Key Functions of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
During an interview with the press, Dr Chua shared that an estimate of a few million dollars will be needed to build the centre. He hopes to receive financial support from the government and also hopes to have the participation from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) in the establishment of the centre.
He stated that the blueprint of the centre would be developed in two to three years, and he aims for the centre to be ready in four to five years.
The Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre will have four key functions: To serve as a cultural centre, an activity centre, a social networking hub and an integration touchpoint. Dr Chua indicated that the centre’s main function would be to host events. As such, the centre will be of a larger scale than the SFCCA. Once the centre is built, there will be a theatre for drama, opera, wushu and other performances. Facilities in the centre will include exhibition and activity spaces for conferences, talks, debates, festive celebrations and more.
A Hub for Inclusivity: Integrating the English-speaking Chinese community, New Immigrants and all Singaporeans
Apart from uniting the Chinese community, including those who predominantly use English, and facilitating the integration of new immigrants, activities at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre also take cross-ethnic interactions into consideration and promote harmony among different races.
In ideating for the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, SFCCA welcomes feedback from the public.
PM Lee: The Government will support and assist in the association’s plans
Guest-of-Honour Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated that the government welcomes the association’s plan to establish a Chinese Cultural Centre. The government has always encouraged the preservation and development of the traditions and cultures of the various ethnic groups, and will be more than happy to provide the assistance required in the establishment of the centre.
Prime Minister Lee also commended SFCCA’s efforts in aiding the integration of new immigrants into our society. These include the learning journeys on Hungry Ghost Festival Customs Tour as well as clan associations, both of which helped immigrants deepen their understanding of local culture and customs. The government welcomes more of such efforts, and will continue providing the necessary support and assistance required.
Prime Minister Lee pointed out that clan associations can still play an important role in our society. This includes helping new immigrants integrate into society and continuing to promote character development education in schools run by SFCCA.
Prime Minister Lee also presented the “Clan of the Year Award” to 5 winning clans: Nanyang Hakka Federation, Foo Clan Association (ancestral shrine), Singapore Amoy Association, Singapore Foochow Association and Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan.