PM Lee pays tribute to people from Lam Ann county in Fujian; clan group donates $880,000

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 12th World Convention of Lam Ann clansmen and the 88th anniversary of the Singapore Lam Ann Association. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 12th World Convention of Lam Ann clansmen and the 88th anniversary of the Singapore Lam Ann Association. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives at the 12th World Convention of Lam Ann clansmen and the 88th anniversary of the Singapore Lam Ann Association. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives at the 12th World Convention of Lam Ann clansmen and the 88th anniversary of the Singapore Lam Ann Association. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 12th World Convention of Lam Ann clansmen and the 88th anniversary of the Singapore Lam Ann Association. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 12th World Convention of Lam Ann clansmen and the 88th anniversary of the Singapore Lam Ann Association. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

SINGAPORE - From iconic landmarks such as Fullerton Hotel and the Victoria Concert Hall and Theatre to prominent politicians and philanthropists, people who hail from Lam Ann county in Fujian province have made significant contributions to Singapore.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong paid tribute to them on Thursday, when he also noted the "very meaningful gesture" of the clan group here in donating $880,000 to the new Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre in Shenton Way.

Mr Lee is Patron of the 11-storey centre, which will be ready in 2016.

The Prime Minister disclosed their donation at the 88th anniversary celebration of the Singapore Lam Ann Association which was held together with the 12th World Convention of Lam Ann Clansmen, at Resorts World Sentosa.

Tracing the history of the Lam Ann county, which goes back more than 1,700 years, he noted that many left for South-east Asia and those that settled in Singapore left well-known legacies.

The concrete symbols of their famed skills in construction can be seen in the former Victoria Memorial, now refurbished and called Victoria Concert Hall and Theatre.

And their courage is manifested in the anti-Japanese activities of late war hero Lim Bo Seng during the Second World War.

The late philanthropist Lee Kong Chian was also from Lam Ann, PM Lee said in his address to more than 3,500 Singaporeans and foreigners.

Among those who flew in for the occasion were China's Madam Lui Jing, deputy director from the Quanzhou City People's Assembly, and Mr Huang Nankang, party secretary for Lam Ann (or Nan'an) City.

Said Mr Lee in Chinese: "As a clan association, the Lam Ann association was formed to help their clansmen settle down in Singapore. In the 21st century, its role has expanded and progressed...to areas of social development, economy and culture among others."

There are now almost 400,000 Lam Ann descendants in Singapore, including Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Ms Denise Phua, Mayor for Central Singapore District and one of Singapore's top artists today: internationally-renowned Tan Swie Hian.

The Singapore association, which has about 3,000 members, was named Clan of the Year this year for its restoration of the 178-year-old Hong San See temple, an accolade given by the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations, an umbrella body for more than 200 clan groups here.

It is the latest recognition for the effort, as the temple had in 2010 won the merit award in Unesco's Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards.

waltsim@sph.com.sg