It is about understanding that “our strength comes from our individual cultures”.
A sense of rootedness through culture will help Singapore anchor itself amid global headwinds, especially in the face of a growing pushback against political correctness, such as that in Europe, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.
Speaking at a Chinese New Year event, Mr Shanmugam said that on Singapore’s part, it is about understanding that “our strength comes from our individual cultures”.
“But at the same time, we’re not exclusive ... We’re Singaporean Chinese, Singaporean Indians and Singaporean Malays,” he said.
At the event, the annual Spring Reception for leaders in the Chinese-Singaporean community to promote values and cultural appreciation, Mr Shanmugam said a sense of rootedness will also help the Republic to be confident to face the world.
“There’ll be ups and downs, but to have the courage of conviction, you need to be strongly rooted. And rooting comes from language and culture,” he said.
“(If) we forget that, I think Singapore won’t be Singapore, and we’ll be buffeted and turned over at the first big wave.”
He added: “If you’re just academically smart, without an inner strength ... every wave that comes will just try and topple you over.”
Culture, said Mr Shanmugam, is not a purely academic concept. It has to instead be “something you participate in”, he said.
Meanwhile, speaking about the global uncertainty in the business sector, Business China chairman Lee Yi Shyan said in Mandarin that the current global situation means a need to keep abreast of current affairs.
To that end, Mr Lee, who is also a Member of Parliament for East Coast GRC, said Business China’s events will help groom a group of Singaporeans in tune with the political and economic trajectories in China and the region.
Yesterday’s Spring Reception, attended by more than 800 guests, was held for the first time at the new premises of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre. The centre, which was initiated by the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, was completed in December.
Its official opening will be in May, said Mr Chua Thian Poh, the chairman of the centre and president of the federation, in his opening speech.
Mr Chua said the centre will be tying up with Singapore Press Holdings’ Chinese media group to promote and showcase local Chinese culture. The first event is slated for a Feb 25 launch.
It will also announce the recipients of its inaugural Singapore Chinese Cultural Contribution Award in May, added Mr Chua.
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