Community bonding important to guard against terrorism incidents: Halimah Yacob

Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob singing Jinglebell Rock with 150 children and their families at the Toys Carnival @ Marsiling 2016 Christmas celebration.
Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob singing Jinglebell Rock with 150 children and their families at the Toys Carnival @ Marsiling 2016 Christmas celebration.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mdm Halimah Yacob (in green headscarf) greeting residents and bagging toys for the children.
Mdm Halimah Yacob (in green headscarf) greeting residents and bagging toys for the children.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Chua Boh Huat picking out toys for his son Zhi An (wearing party hat) and daughter Zhi Ying  (in pink).
Mr Chua Boh Huat picking out toys for his son Zhi An (wearing party hat) and daughter Zhi Ying (in pink). PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Incidents such as the terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin show that Singapore cannot be complacent, said Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob on Saturday (Dec 24).

Building strong community ties is important to guard against such tragedies, she added.

"Before we ever reach such a situation, if we ever do, we must be sure that we build a very strong foundation."

She was replying to a media query at a Christmas celebration for needy children from Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, where she is a grassroots adviser.


Mdm Halimah Yacob choosing a present for (from right) Crystal Hoe, and Lim Yungfang. PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Such celebrations, where families of all races take part, are key to fostering ties, she added. "These are the platforms that we must consciously create to develop strong community bonding. It is not possible to legislate harmony, but we can build harmony."

Now in its second year, the annual Toys Carnival @ Marsiling brought festive cheer to around 150 children on the morning of Christmas Eve, with magic performances, face painting, games and a photobooth where families could take photos together.

The children could also choose gifts from a selection including board games, toy cars and educational science kits, sponsored by investment firm ESW Manage.

Eight-year-old Nur Sahilah Md Husni chose a My First Chemistry Set, saying: "I want to learn science."

She has not studied the subject yet but will be encountering it next year when she starts Primary Three.