Go beyond Singapore's main races and respect all who live and work here: Heng

Mr Heng Swee Keat, (centre) Minister for Education, sitting together with the students in front of him, from the Elias Park Primary school watching the skit by the school on Racial Harmony Day yesterday, July 20, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SEN
Mr Heng Swee Keat, (centre) Minister for Education, sitting together with the students in front of him, from the Elias Park Primary school watching the skit by the school on Racial Harmony Day yesterday, July 20, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans have to go beyond understanding the main races here, to respect everyone who lives and work in Singapore, regardless of their race, language, or religion, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Racial Harmony Day yesterday.

Addressing pupils at Elias Park Primary School in Pasir Ris, Mr Heng said Singapore had thrived due to its "openness to international trade flow".

"As Singapore moves towards a more diverse landscape, it is important that we continue to embrace diversity. Let us all do our part to understand other cultures, and going beyond that, let us also be advocates of racial harmony," he added.

He urged pupils to befriend those of other cultures, races and religions, and to encourage their friends to do the same.

Yesterday, more than 39,000 Primary 4 pupils celebrated Racial Harmony Day by making orange ribbons.

Since the 1990s, various countries have adopted the orange ribbon as a symbol of harmony, equality and freedom. In Singapore, Onepeople.sg, a national body focused on building racial and religious harmony, uses it to symbolise racial harmony.

Primary 4 pupils in all 190 primary schools were each given a kit containing materials to make six ribbons. Each wore one on the uniform, and gave the rest to friends from other cultures, with an accompanying note encouraging them to find out more about other cultures and practices.

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