Eurasians have contributed significantly to Singapore: PM Lee

Mrs Therese Stewart (in red), 102, and her daughter, Ms Olivia Stewart, 74, hugging PM Lee Hsien Loong during the launch of the Eurasian Festival at the Tampines Hub, on April 9, 2017.
Mrs Therese Stewart (in red), 102, and her daughter, Ms Olivia Stewart, 74, hugging PM Lee Hsien Loong during the launch of the Eurasian Festival at the Tampines Hub, on April 9, 2017.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - The Eurasians are one of the smallest ethnic groups in Singapore, but they have made many significant contributions to the country.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this on Sunday (April 9), as he pointed out prominent Eurasians such as Singapore's second president Dr Benjamin Sheares; Justice Judith Prakash, the first woman appointed as Judge of Appeal; Mr E W Barker, the country's first law minister; and Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling.

Speaking at the Eurasian festival at Tampines Hub, Mr Lee said he is also very happy to see Eurasians doing well in many professions all over society, making a name for themselves.

There were about 8,000 Eurasians in Singapore before World War II, Mr Lee noted. The community has grown to nearly 17,000 now.

"We have many ethnic groups in Singapore. Eurasians are one of the smallest groups, but one which has made many contributions to Singapore," he said.

Later, Mr Lee toured exhibition booths where people played childhood games such as hopscotch and five stones, and painted Easter eggs.


PM Lee greeting members of the public at the Eurasian festival at Tampines Hub, on April 9, 2017. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

The festival was organised by the Eurasian Association and People's Association.

Mr Lee also highlighted the work done by the Eurasian Association, which he said has been very active in rallying the community to serve one another.

The association provides help to students through scholarships, bursaries and mentorship programmes, he said.

Its family support services arm also helps many disadvantaged families and seniors, he added.

Mr Benett Theseira, president of the Eurasian Association, said Eurasians were the descendants of the first "global citizens" whose culture were a mix of East and West.

He hopes events like the festival will promote greater awareness of the Eurasian community here.