PM Lee urges clan associations to use technology to boost outreach

SINGAPORE - Clan associations can make use of technology to reach out to more young people and pass on their cultural traditions, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday (May 28).

For instance, these groups can use social media to promote their activities to more youth.

They can also use technology to record and preserve children's songs, folk songs and historical photos for future generations, said Mr Lee at a luncheon to mark the 80th anniversary of the Singapore Kwangtung Clan Association.

The association was founded in 1937 to help Cantonese, Teochew, Hakka and Hainanese immigrants who had just arrived in Singapore.

Clan associations played important roles in Chinese society during Singapore's early days, said Mr Lee in Mandarin.

They were the support networks of Chinese who were fresh off the boat, helping them get jobs, housing and medical assistance.

Even today, these groups look after vulnerable people in society and do charity work.

For instance, the Singapore Kwangtung Clan Association raised $118,888 for the Kwong Wai Shiu Free Hospital and presented it with a cheque at the luncheon.

Some people are anxious that society no long needs clan associations, Mr Lee noted.

"They think that in the end, clan associations will become just places for seniors to play mahjong and sing karaoke," he said, to laughter from the 800-strong audience.

However, clan associations have proven that they can evolve and keep up with the times, he added.

Mr Lee cited how the Singapore Kwangtung Clan Association published a book with a DVD of 50 children's songs and nursery rhymes in dialect.

He then recited the first lines of a Cantonese one titled Yue Guang Guang, Zhao Di Tang, or The Moonlight.