Pioneer organisations key in keeping Singapore's culture and traditions alive

SINGAPORE - Pioneer organisations such as the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA) have played a key role in keeping traditions alive, Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen said on Saturday.

Speaking in both Mandarin and English at the annual Spring Reception at SFCCA's Toa Payoh building, Dr Ng said: "We managed to keep our culture alive for 50 years, and I think the challenge will be greater."

Referring to the organisers of today's event - SFCCA, Business China and the Singapore Chinese Culture Centre, which was set up in September last year, he added: "You have helped us maintain our traditions... As long as we keep it going, Singapore will be a special place for all of us."

Associations and organisations like these have been very instrumental in "keeping our Chinese culture and language alive, making sure that the next generation continues to speak the Chinese language, also observe our Chinese traditions", he told reporters later.

Dr Ng said that while the clan associations have done "very well", they will have to find new programmes to draw in the younger generation. "The young want economic opportunities, they also want their children to continue to keep the Chinese culture," he said.

Mr Chua Thian Poh, president of SFCCA which represents over 200 associations, said that one of the federation's initiatives is a book on the history of the Singapore Chinese community, which will detail how their ancestors migrated from China and settled here. Business China is also publishing a book this year on Singapore's relationship with China over the past 25 years.